Thursday, November 16, 2006

It Never Hurts To Ask.

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The Rustbucket, in happier days.

This just in on the Rustbucket trip list, from my friend Lyn, who's gotten quite involved with the politics of the barge since the place got shut down back on September 11th (still can't get over the fact that they shut it down on the 5th anniversary of the day when everybody at the barge, at least those of us who were there or made it there, turned out to help in whatever we could, mostly by running a ferry service all day - no room for sentiment in legal matters, though, right?). I've been wanting to do an update, I have been participating in some interesting discussions - or at least I thought they were interesting - but blogging is one of the first recreational activities to get dropped when I'm pressed for time. At any rate, after a lot of talk talk talk, the owner of Pier 63 Maritime, soon to be Pier 66A maritime, nom de blog "The Rustbucket", is now asking for letters of support from those of us who stand to lose our Hudson River access if the DEC permit is allowed to stand as written:
The kayaking, waterpolo, and outrigger community that is centered in the Hudson River Park is faced with a serious loss of water access as a result of existing DEC permit restrictions . John Krevey, the owner of the barge formerly known as pier 3, soon to be relocated to pier 66a, is asking support from the kayaking community in the form of a letter in support of his application for reasonable and necessary permit amendments.

Letters should be addressed to:

Mr. Louis Oliva, Acting Director, Region 2
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
1 Hunter's Point Plaza
47-40 21st Street
Long Island City, NY 11101-5407

It is important to refer to Permit 2-6205-01687: Proposed Amendment to Allow Human Powered Boating and Floating Docks

The issues as put forth by DEC and Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) are as follows:

Storage: The existing permit does not allow storage of private kayaks on the barge (pier 66a). HRPT has built a boathouse at pier 66, for which a RFP will soon be released. It is their stated belief that this will provide sufficient storage for the kayaks that were previously housed at the barge. They are wrong, and they probably know it. Depending on who wins the RFP for the boathouse, as many as 70 kayakers will have their access to the river threatened. Storage INSIDE the barge benefits all park users by keeping private storage off public park land, leaving the public boathouse to the public. The HRPT has stated in public meetings that they support STORAGE of kayaks on the barge. But they do not support launching kayaks from the barge, which would require a floating dock.

Launching and floating docks: Without a floating dock, paddlers will have to carry their kayaks up a flight of stairs, across the barge (which houses a popular and crowded restaurant), onto the park's pedestrian esplanade, to reach the existing dock of pier 66. The transport of 16-18 foot kayaks will undoubtedly cause traffic flow problems on the esplanade when combined with pedestrians, rollerbladers, dog walkers, and baby carriages.

Motorized vs Human Powered Water Areas:
The area around pier 66a is designated a "motorized boat" area on the HRPT water use map. However, this arbitrary designation should not preclude launching kayaks in the area. A careful reading of the Trust's applicable rules reveals no prohibition of human powered boats in motorized areas (though motorized boats may not operate in human powered areas).

These are the main issues. John will be submitting his permit amendment within 2 weeks. Please help by writing a letter before that time. If possible, send copies to:

Ms. Connie Fishman, President

Hudson River Park Trust

Pier 40, Second Floor

West Street at W. Houston Street

New York, NY 10014

Mr. John Krevey

Apartment 6S

375 South End Avenue

New York, NY 10028

Thank you all!

Lyn (speaking for an independent group of kayakers working for river access in general but focusing on this issue at present)

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