The SGCA Ferry Riders Committee began in 1995 and soon became the most visible and influential committee of any civic association in Staten Island. Our first project was a public campaign for air conditioning in the St. George terminal renovations when we learned that the multimillion renovation budget did not include air conditioning. We lobbied for and obtained plans for quality construction and design in both terminals. We provided information on ferry riders' needs and specific programmatic suggestions to the architects and designers. Tamara's background in architecture and design enabled her to provide strong leadership in arguing for excellence in planning and design in the terminals and, later, of the new boats. Soon after, we conducted an extensive survey of ferry riders which we published and distributed.
The “Survey of the Ferry Riders Committee of the St. George Civic Association” was widely cited in the development of plans for both terminals. Tamara Coombs, Tim Bohen, Chan Graham, and Theo Dorian served as advisors to the designers, providing information on ferry riders' needs and making specific programmatic suggestions for the terminal designs, and passing along those of others. In the process, we obtained plans for more efficient pedestrian traffic, connections to buses and trains, layout of concessions, and water views. We feel we also helped attain an impressive, efficient design for the Whitehall terminal.