Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Public Meeting - Analysis & Preliminary Charting of Recreational Traffic Patterns in NY Harbor - 2/25/2010

2/25/2010 Update - Meeting postponed due to the weather. New date not yet announced, I will post it here once it's been announced.

So, I was planning to do a half-humorous, half-serious post about committee meetings being a better harbinger of Spring than robins (who hang around all winter in these parts) - but I'm not sure when I'm going to have time to do that with all the meetings, and this one's coming up fast. The following invitation has been widely circulated among the NYC-area kayak community & it just hit me that this is absolutely worth posting here.

Harbor Safety, Navigation and Operations Committee

Harbor Education Subcommittee - Mapping "Working Group"

UPCOMING Meeting: Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pier 66 Boathouse, West 26th St, Hudson River

6pm - 8pm

Project Information

The mission of the Harbor Education Subcommittee is "to develop a safer and more compatible interaction of recreation and commerce within a mixed use Harbor.

Following a number of recent discussions we need to broaden the partipation from all sectors of the maritime community to help us with this Mapping initiative. We believe that with a few group discussions over the next few months we can develop a plan to meaningfully advance this issue.

There have been many conversations over the years, in the Harbor Operations committee and various subcommittees about potential ways to reduce risk of collisions and incidents between human-powered craft and commercial vessels.

There are initiatives going back more than a decade to enhance local navigation charts with information about location of boathouses and other in-water program areas, and then to show frequent routes and paths for trips, tours, and other outings so that a wider group of harbor users could understand the patterns of human-powered activity. Much of this data already exists in data sets and map layers created by various groups like CUNY, MWA, Going Coastal, Water Trail, NOAA and others.

Project Goal - to identify areas of concern, and develop potential
guidelines and recommendations for boaters to follow (such as specific routes and/or VHF protocols - for high-volume areas of human-powered transits and especially crossings.

In December we hosted a meeting including representatives of Harbor Ops and the Tug and Barge Committee. Some of the suggested areas of focus were:
All Ferry Terminals, Chelsea Piers, The Battery, W 30th St Heliport,
Williamsburg Bridge, Hell Gate, Newark Bay, Raritan Bay, Erie Basin

Specific info on your own experiences as a mariner and or paddler and recommendations we should consider would be useful. Best practices from other Ports and countries are certainly welcome.

Our hope is to work on this winter and into spring, and then have some potential recommendations to discuss at the next Captain and Paddlers meeting in late Spring 2010.

Contact: Carter Craft carter@outsidenewyork.net, Harbor Education Subcommittee Co-Chair, Harbor Ops Committee of the Port of NY/ NJ

Historical note -

I'm not sure I can attend, but I would like to - I was involved in a similar project back in 2000 under the now-defunct Harbor Community Liaison & Oversight Committee & it was really an interesting thing to work on. Unfortunately, the HCLOC fell victim to internal politics - just for starters, the chair had a major grudge against the Hudson River Park Trust, was involved in a lawsuit against them & refused to admit that that might be a conflict of interest. I actually ended up publicly calling him on it when he began manuevering to force the Trust to go through his committee if they wanted to get Harbor Safety, Navigation and Operations Committee (Coast Guard & commercial operators) input on their plans for boathouses in the park. I just got to a point where I couldn't keep quiet & blurted out "But you're SUING them!" in the middle of a meeting one evening. Hadn't particularly planned to, just did it. Blech.

What a very strange & depressing time that was. I'd been very enthusiatic about what we were doing & had put a good bit of time & effort into it, and there I was turning on the guy who had put it all in motion. Felt like I had to, but it didn't feel good.

Anyhow, the paperwork from 2000 was lost (I think I heard it was destroyed on Sept 11th, 2001), but the idea is being resurrected now. The NY harbor estuary boating scene has changed a ton since those 2000 meetings - twenty times more EVERYTHING, I think. I don't think I could even contribute much, since I haven't paddled the upper harbor/North River area since '06, but boy, it would be interesting to hear what those who still do have to say.

1 comment:

pia said...

I think that when you found yourself blurting that out you were just saying what others thought and what you didn't have the nerve to say before
Good for you Bonnie. Yours is still my favorite NY blog as it captures everything and this post was an example of so much more than just the river