The Kabataş ferry dock in central Istanbul shut down on Aug. 11 and will remain closed over the next two years, as construction is set to begin on a controversial seagull-shaped transfer center and the rearrangement of the pier as a square.
A new transfer center shaped like a seagull with open wings and a 10,000-square-meter pedestrian concourse will be built on the Kabataş coast in the metropolis’ Beşiktaş
district as part of a rearrangement project.
The transfer center is expected to integrate sea and road traffic with the city’s rail system. It will also include a tunnel under the Bosphorus allowing pedestrians to cross the waterway on foot.
Vehicular traffic between Dolmabahçe and Fındıklı will also be taken underground and the above ground area of the concourse will instead have waiting areas for passengers and food courts. The section underground will connect to car parking areas and metro stations.
The efforts were initiated on Aug. 11 and the rearrangement is expected to continue over the next two years, as ferry docks in nearby Beşiktaş
and Eminönü will share the sea traffic from Kabataş.
The shutdown was initially scheduled for July but was postponed twice, nevertheless, the closure surprised passengers arriving at Kabataş en route to the Princes’ Islands on the morning of Aug. 11.
“Ferries operating between Kabataş and [the Princes’] Islands were diverted to the Eminönü ferry docks,” posters hung on the pier said, while uninformed people were directed to other docks.
“I was going to the islands but the pier is shut down. I was directed to the Eminönü pier,” a local named Erdal Kalyoncu said, adding he was unaware of a closure decision.
In order to prevent further disturbances to locals, the trams to Bağcılar and the funicular to Taksim Square will continue to operate for a while longer. Moreover, shuttles will be on duty in order to enable transportation to Taksim, Eminönü and Beşiktaş. The number of public buses operating along the route will also be increased.
Meanwhile, İDO sea buses and Bosphorus tours will continue their operations from the Beşiktaş
and Yenikapı piers. Likewise, Bursa Sea Bus Operations (BUDO) between Kabataş and Bursa will dock at the Eminönü pier.
The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality approved the zoning plan to build the transfer center in May with votes of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) members on the municipal council.
The plans for the project were prepared by Hakan Kıran, who was also the architect of the controversial Golden Horn metro bridge widely criticized for disturbing the historic silhouette of Istanbul’s historical peninsula.
The transfer center is expected to encompass the area between the Molla Çelebi Mosque in the Fındıklı area and the Bezmi Alem Valide Sultan Mosque in Kabataş, including the fishermen’s port in the area.
The local preservation board also approved plans to build the center.