2016-01-13 / Features

New Ferry Service Coming To Astoria, The Bronx, Brooklyn

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) is set to begin an expansion of citywide ferry service, including a new landing in Astoria.

“We expect to sign an operator contract early (this) year,” said NYCEDC Director of Ferries James Wong at a recent meeting of Community Board 1. “The ($55 million) funding is coming from the city’s operating budget.”

Wong said five new ferry routes are to be added to existing East River ferry service. In addition to Astoria, ferry landings will also be established in Rockaway and South Brooklyn by 2017 and Soundview (the Bronx) and Lower East Side (Manhattan) by 2018.

The service will be launched in two phases and will ultimately connect 21 ferry landings citywide. The Astoria Ferry landing is to be located at Hallet’s Cove on the southern side of the peninsula.

“This is very ambitious, five routes in under four years, ” said Wong of the timeline.

The estimated time to travel from Astoria, with stops at Roosevelt Island, Long Island City, and 34th Street, to Wall Street/Pier 11 is about 40 minutes, Wong said, adding there are no plans for a direct route from Astoria to Manhattan.

Regarding possible City Ferry service to LaGuardia Airport, Wong replied, “Certainly our landings are open for public use.”

City Councilmembers from the Upper West Side of Manhattan and the West Bronx lobbied last week to have their communities included for ferry service.

“New Yorkers along the west side up to Riverdale want and need this service as well,” said Manhattan Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, Ƨhairman of the Council Transportation Committee, in a January 6 New York Daily News report.

Councilman Andy Cohen, in the same report, said his constituents in the West Bronx have the No. 1 train or express buses as their only transit options.

“We really (have) a mass transit deficit and (ferry service) will really give us one more iron to try to get people to and from the business district,” he said.

Wong, responding to a separate question at the board meeting, said ferry service “isn’t going to solve a major subway challenge,” adding, “About 90 percent of East River ferry riders are walking and/or biking (to the landings).”

Fares will be set at the same $2.75 per ride as for bus and subway service but riders will not be able to use their MetroCard at this point, said Wong.

The ferries, with a capacity of about 149 riders per hour, are projected to carry riders on an estimated 4.6 million trips per year with hours of operation from 6:30 am to 10 pm, seven days a week. For further information, visit www.nycedc.com/ferry.

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