NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.—The Balboa Island Ferry that carries pedestrians and vehicles across Newport Harbor and the Balboa Peninsula Fun Zone will be closed to cars for nearly a month beginning Jan. 3.
Cars and pedestrians with their pets loaded onto the ferry on the brisk morning of Dec. 29, days before car access temporarily halts while an underground utility project occurs on the street that leads to the ferry boarding gate, Agate Avenue.
Winter is the most ideal time for the ferry to shut down for cars since the season is less busy, said Seymour Beek, co-owner of the Balboa Island Ferry.
“January is the slowest month,” Beek told The Epoch Times. “If it’s going to happen, the time to do it is now.”
The ferry transports minimal cars during the winter compared to the summer when residents, visitors, and tourists head out toward the beach, he said.
While the end date of the utility project is expected to conclude on Jan. 28, Beek didn’t anticipate for the ferry to be shut down to cars for more than a few weeks.
“At first they told me it would only be two weeks,” he said. “A month took me by surprise.”
Residents, visitors, and cars lined up throughout the morning to cross over the Harbor at the Balboa Island Ferry entrance.
George, a Newport Beach Peninsula resident who declined to provide his last name has been riding the ferry nearly every day for the past few weeks for morning strolls around Newport.
During his daily rides, George has seen more pedestrians crossing on the ferry than cars, unless it’s raining.
“Weekends are more packed,” George said. “During the week, some days it’s only me on board.”
Another Newport Beach resident, who declined to provide her name, was walking her dog, waiting to hop onto the ferry.
“I prefer to walk around instead of riding in my car,” she said.
Since opening in 1919, the ferry has transported about 350,000 passengers in vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists per year.