The Bridge Back To Beacon

The Bridge Back To Beacon

This is a follow-up to my last post, about my ferry commute to Newburgh on Tuesday morning. Because the ferry runs in the evening don’t start until 6pm, I decided to take a chance and see if the bridge bike path was open. It was. Next week I’ll probably start taking the bridge in the morning as well if the work on the pathway is actually complete.

I will to ride to work year-round, and I was curious what date the ferry planned to stop running each winter, in case I wanted to use it again occasionally. The captain told me they run as long as they can get through the ice.

Two winters ago, the service was interrupted for a total of four days. Last winter, the ferry was locked out for 10 weeks. When the original ferries could not make it across due to ice, people would walk back and forth. These days, a bus takes riders back and forth on days the ferry is out of service due to weather.

A crew member I spoke to said they have about 200 to 300 riders every day (which, barring the rare one-way crosser such as myself, means about 100 to 150 people make the trip). That’s about $525 per day, so I think we can surmise there is some subsidy going on here.

One reason I may need the ferry is because technically, the Newburgh Beacon Bridge is open from “dawn to dusk,” a parameter that is not very helpful when trying to follow a work schedule. Several years ago, I commuted over the river for about a year and never got locked out, but I will have late nights with my new job. It’s clear from the way the Bridge Authority handled the closing for repairs, as well as the “dawn to dusk” policy, that the bike/pedestrian walkway is not given much consideration as a part of the transportation infrastructure, but rather is treated more like a recreational rail trail. Another problem is the intersection on the Beacon side. Even for a seasoned cyclist, it’s a treacherous bit of roadway to negotiate, starting with the cars turning right on red at the exit ramp.

Over the next month or so I will be building up a dedicated commuter bicycle, complete with fenders, lights, and someplace to carry stuff. I plan to do a few posts as I set up this bike, in case anyone is considering a bicycle for transportation and might want some ideas. I also hope to get in a few more posts about our local bridges. But the next several entries here on Wigwam will be all about parking, and parking lots, a subject, as faithful readers know, that is dear to my heart. I’m getting a warm fuzzy feeling just thinking about it.

Today was sunnier than my first day, when a bit of fog was about.

Once again the reverse commute was sparsely attended.

The kayak lockers at Long Dock Park.

Another freight train goes by. No sign of oil tankers on this one.

A view of the bridge.

It's a completely different waterfront than when the last original ferry made its trip.

Though different from the issues facing Beacon, Newburgh has its own disconnect from the riverfront.

Captain Mark guides us in.

Docking a ferry is all about reverse, right, and left thrust.

The original (northern) bridge is made of a steel that must be painted every few years.

The ferry approaches the Newburgh side during a p.m. run.

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