June 17, 2005 — The Red Hook Marine Terminal parking lot will be closed indefinitely beginning on Monday while a new terminal and dock are being constructed.
A temporary lot has been completed west of the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School across from the entrance to the National Park dock, according to a release from Darlan Brin, executive director of the V.I. Port Authority.
The new parking lot is about a half mile from the ferry dock.
Brin said that East End Taxi Association, which operates the current lot and will continue to operate the new one, has promised to provide shuttle service between the dock and the new parking lot.
Brin, however, could not confirm any cost for the shuttle service. And a call to East End Taxi for information was not returned on Friday.
In response to questions about nighttime security concerns and the long walk on the roadway, which only has a sidewalk part of the way, Brin said, "It's not an easy walk. That's why we are encouraging the taxi company to provide shuttle service."
Dale Gregory, VIPA director of engineering, who has been in on the meetings with East End Taxi, confirmed Friday, "Yes they will do the shuttle," but he couldn't say for sure what the cost would be. "Maybe $1," he said.
He did say that VIPA has made sure the lot, which he said is twice the size of the old lot, is well-lighted. "We had WAPA install the poles."
Brin admitted the arrangement was going to be "inconvenient" but said that keeping the ferry dock operating while construction is going on all around it was a feat in itself.
Access will still be available to the barges and the passenger ferries via a drive lane and a vehicle turnaround area.
A new drop-off area will be created for taxis and private vehicles to drop off passengers for the ferries.
Gregory said East End Taxi, which has an exclusive franchise to operate the parking area for VIPA, will be operating out of the new lot within the next couple of week. He said VIPA had provided a trailer to East End for that purpose.
The land where the new lot will be belongs to the Housing, Parks and Recreation Department.
Gregory could not say if Housing will be reaping any monetary reward from the deal.
He also couldn't say if the day rate will still be $5, and if the other rates would remain the same.
Meanwhile, the private lot being operated on the west side of the road directly across from the marine facility remains. However, construction on a new building that will reportedly include parking for 200 vehicles is expected to start soon, leaving that lot unusable once construction begins.
Parking in Red Hook has become a serious matter over the last few years. A booming construction industry on St. John has required a lot of people to commute daily — taxing the area's parking resources.
Brin said parking along the roadway will still be allowed.
Motorists illegally parking in the nearby retail center lots can end up with boots and towing fees, though some still tempt fate by parking in American Yacht Harbor, Red Hook Center and the Marina Market lots.
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