By Seth Daniel
Many would have said that walking from Pier 4 to Pier 3 to pick up the Ferry Shuttle shouldn’t be such a big deal.
Residents of the Navy Yard heard that argument for years from planners, community members and City officials.
Those residents always pointed out that such journeys when it’s 10 below zero or approaching 100 scorching degrees actually are a big deal.
Now they won’t need to make those arguments anymore because the Ferry has officially moved its operations to Pier 4 as of Wednesday at noon, Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) officials said.
The fight to move the ferry closer to Flagship Wharf and other residential areas began many years ago. The Pier 4 location had been used for the ferry in the past, but it was moved in what was believed to be a temporary situation. That temporary situation soon became permanent.
This year, wary residents organized and picked up the fight with Councilor Sal LaMattina as their biggest champion.
This week, they were overjoyed to see the ferry coming back to their side.
“Hallelujah!” was all that Christine Colley could say when she saw the first ferry coming, joking that she and other residents of Flagship Wharf were going to take down an empty champagne bottle to the pier to christen the ferry.
Colley was part of a group that organized as the Navy Yard 197 Residents Association last year, but have since come to be called the Navy Yard Community Association. Their biggest cause was moving the ferry.
“I have to give credit where credit is due,” she said. “A small group of us from Flagship Wharf approached Sal LaMattina over a year ago and he was relentless in pursuing Brian Golden of the BRA on this issue. If he hadn’t been so relentless and the BRA and the mayor weren’t open to looking to bring this place back to its original docket – that place being Pier 4 – I’m afraid people would be still trudging over to Pier 3. People here would give up in the winter because it was slippery and you would fall. Then in the summer you’re waiting in 100 degree weather with no shade at all.”
The announcement of the change came last winter during the Friends of the Charlestown Navy Yard Winter Warm Up meeting. Mayor Martin Walsh and Councilor LaMattina were both on hand with Golden to officially tell the people, an announcement that was greeted with applause and a standing ovation.
Colley said one of the key factors that finally pushed the change was looking at numbers.
The group and LaMattina were able to point to the fact that ridership on the ferry had plummeted after the ferry was moved to Pier 3 years ago.
“The ridership numbers were way down and I think they were surprised to see it had dropped off,” she said.
She said she also wanted to thank Rich McGinness of the BRA’s waterfront planning office, who she said was a major advocate for the change also.
Finally, Colley said the group has expanded due to the successful fight and formed an official organization now known as the Navy Yard Community Association. They will soon be putting up a website and will focus on the BRA’s recently announced plans to “activate” the waterfront.