State Report Encourages Ferry Relocation

ferry boat
Other side of the pond for ferry terminal? Photo courtesy of Morgan Kaolian.

After years of squabbling over location, the city and Captain Brian McAllister, president of the Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamboat Company, are moving in the same direction regarding the ferry company’s proposal to relocate from Downtown to a new terminal across the harbor in the East End. In fact, a 2012 Connecticut Deep Water Port Strategy Study commissioned by the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management, recommends that the state work to facilitate the move of the ferry terminal to the other side of the harbor.

From the report by Moffat & Nichol, a marine infrastructure adviser:

“In Bridgeport the State should support the Phase 1 relocation/expansion of the Bridgeport ferry to the Barnum Landing Location consistent with the analysis presented in the October 31, 2011 TIGER Grant Application, which was supported by the City of Bridgeport. A total of 347 jobs by 2020 are projected as part of that relocation and expansion. The City should integrate the ferry relocation with the recently-announced 150,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shop’s location to the Steel Point development in Bridgeport Harbor.”

Former City Councilman Bob “Troll” Walsh who doesn’t often see eye to eye with city development decisions agrees with the relocation strategy. Walsh says the current ferry location “doesn’t do anything for Downtown. There is no economic spinoff. There are no Downtown attractions like Port Jeff. Let’s turn the ferry terminal into a very nice waterfront restaurant. Let’s build a little marina for boats to dock at for the ballpark, arena and Downtown. Let’s build some attractions on the dock. Shops much nicer than Captain’s Cove. Like the artist village at Balboa Park. Juried artists, rent free, with hands-on workshops, etc. Then you could have a water taxi from the ferry to Pleasure Beach to the Downtown docks to Captain’s Cove to dare I say Steal Point.”

Some Downtown residents support keeping the ferry terminal in its current location or even a two-dock scenario with alternating docking throughout the day and evening for commuters and major event traffic at the Webster Bank Arena and Ballpark at Harbor Yard.

So, what say you? Move the terminal? Two-dock scenario?



  1. This could be a win-win-win situation for the East End, Steelepointe and Pleasure Beach. This can help gentrify the area and make Bridgeport a destination. Shuttles to downtown … water taxis … The future could be bright. I will be optimistic.

    1. Joel, either they move to Seaview or out of Bridgeport. I choose Seaview and I’m not concerned about who donated what to whom. It is the nature of the beast. The end result could benefit many. Downtown Bridgeport in a few years may be truly vibrant and the extra traffic from the ferry would be taxing. I believe this is a good thing and keeps the Ferry content and part of Bridgeport’s rebirth.

      1. Sure Steve, they’d move out of Bridgeport. To where? Why didn’t they move when all past recommendations and rulings were against the move?
        Wait, I’m asking Steve, forget it!

  2. Mixed feelings.
    Seaview Avenue if it is part of the Steel Pointe complex would be a good thing. The ferry lands at Port Jefferson on the other side where people go as a destination. I don’t think enough people use the ferry from Long Island just to nosh at Ralphie’s. If Steel Point is done well and it becomes a tourist and shopping mecca as planned the people will take the ferry to there and take in a ball game or so. Downtown is not likely to be a destination site unless we get a whole new team of visionaries in office who can make it like Baltimore. Fat chance.

  3. HELLO!!! Moving the dock to the East End will allow a very easy on and off ramps from I-95 and a quiet trip out of Bridgeport without any need to stop in the city. Also, Steal Point is many years away from any new development. Once the bridge in New Haven is complete (one/two years), the best avenue is to bypass Bridgeport and go to New Haven with the I-91/I-95 split. The Port Authority already has tested the route.

  4. Moving the ferry is best for Bridgeport. Some advocates of keeping the ferry in its current location envisioned foot traffic coming downtown, which has not happened. There are fancy names for concepts that have been used to try to keep the ferry in the crowded location, despite the ferry owners’ interest in expansion. There was smart growth, concepts of transit-oriented development.

    The city’s future is not based on what some have called a ‘confluence of transportation modes.’ It looks good in an urban development presentation. And Bob is not alone in differing from the city development strategy. City councilmen Holloway and Baker had a resolution on the table to move the ferry back in 2009.

    Moving the ferry is a win-win for all. How many of you have actually stood at that ferry building and looked out towards the water? It’s really the best view and location in a city that has ‘port’ in its name. And everyone who passes through that ferry building is rushing to get out of town. Let’s change that.

    Let’s make the lovely ferry building into a restaurant and entertainment location where finally people from the nearby stadium can stroll over. That’s foot traffic. And now Steele Point is moving forward, the coal plant’s days are numbered and where the ferry is moving will create jobs. Let’s make way for progress in the city.

  5. For those not familiar with the artists’ village in Balboa Park, San Diego, the city preserved some early army barracks and converted them into working artist studios. In order to qualify for a rent-free studio you need to be approved/selected by the local arts foundation and agree to open your studio to the public 5 days a week 52 weeks a year. If the studio is shared with another artist, it must be opened 364 days a year.
    Artist take turns conducting classes open to the public in the center of the village.
    Now I realize the weather in San Diego is far more conducive to the year-’round activity, still something along these lines down by the terminal would be a real attraction.
    When I first proposed this, I had suggested the PA build the studios but since they are now bankrupt, the city should take on the cost. Rent them to qualified artists at minimal costs who agree to open their studios to the public and put on the free demonstrations during the summer and weekends.
    When the weather turns bad, these can take place at other public venues and in the public schools.
    I am sure the Port Jefferson Steamboat Company would be a financial partner in a quality project.

  6. Moving it makes sense. Finch’s real estate buddies want to build luxury condos at the expense of real economic development. This is a deep-water port and should be used for commercial and maybe light industrial development (the kind Finch is chasing out of Bridgeport) … not luxury condos and big-box stores.


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