Tuesday, May 29, 2007

To the Beach

Beaches opened over the weekend and the New Haven Register did us a favor by summarizing the access policies and fees in a lot of Connecticut towns (Long Island's beach policies are a mystery to me but then again the beaches are stony and, I think, don't draw as many people as Connecticut's).

I learned that there might be a decision soon on the lawsuit that Stamford's Paul Kempner filed against Greenwich because of the town's restrictive beach access policies. And I learned that Madison's public beach is called the Surf Club and that it's now a relative bargain for out-of-towners to go there:

In Madison, where nonresidents in the past had to pay a parking fee and separate per-person admittance fee to enter the Surf Club and use the beach, visitors will find a new policy in place this summer that charges only a per-vehicle fee. That means the cost of going to the beach for a family of five just dropped from $60 — 10 bucks for the car and 10 per person — to $15.

Scott Erskine, director of recreation in Madison, said the change has nothing to do with the lawsuit from Greenwich.

"We're trying to make it a little more user-friendly," he said.

Anyone who enters the Surf Club on foot or on a bicycle will no longer be charged. Erskine admitted the old policy of charging those people sometimes led to confrontations at the gates.

The $15 car fee is a dollar more than the weekend, out-of-state fee for Hammonasset Beach State Park, but the fee for Connecticut residents is only $9 per car.

Lots of details are on this Connecticut Coastal Access Guide, which is worth bookmarking.

Speaking of access of sorts to the water, the Stamford Advocate writes about why it's so hard to establish more ferry service on the Sound. The one-word answer is "parking." (My former employer, the Gannett corporation, has backed out of its agreement to buy the Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time, mainly because Gannett is as anti-union as a newspaper company can be and some employees at the Advocate are represented by the United Autoworkers. My first inclination is to say the decision isn't a bad thing for local news coverage, because Gannett makes money by cutting operating costs to the bone; on the other hand, at my old paper there are still four reporters whose main assignment includes coverage of the environment, which isn't bad at all).

And finally since we're talking about beaches and public access, here's a funny and appropriately unfair account of Greenwich's old access policies, as seen through the eyes of Michael Moore's TV Nation show.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Bryan said...

Tom,

More info on the potential for ferries: http://www.nymtc.org/

Look under Programs & Projects for the Long Island Sound Waterborne Transportation Plan.

Fast ferries can be tough to site. You've got a souped-up power plant that is designed to operate at high speed. The more time it operates a low speed (to comply with no-wake zones or other speed restrictions), the less appealing it gets. Then there's the issue of air emissions. Older fast ferries can be real stinkers.

10:39 AM  

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