Image from NY Water Taxi
AM New York via Curbed reported today on a new subsidized ferry route between the Rockaways and lower Manhattan with stops in Brooklyn that will begin on May 12.
The new ferry is the first step in a two-year pilot program to expand ferry service in the city, the mayor is expected to announce today. In between Rockaway and Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan, the ferry will pick up passengers at the Brooklyn Army Terminal's Pier 4 at 58th Street.While reading Mayor Bloomberg and City Council President Quinn's press release describing their comprehensive plan to bring East River Ferry service to Brooklyn and Queens waterfront neighborhoods, I was getting ready to rant and rave again at the neglect of Roosevelt Island in any NYC ferry transportation system. But near the end of the press release I was absolutely stunned to read this:
"It will be a one-hour ride from Southeast Queens to Manhattan," said Councilman John Liu, chair of the Transportation Committee. "This is most welcome. We are straining at transit capacity."
The fare will be "comparable" to the $5 cost of express bus ride, Liu said.
The second phase of the plan will further expand East River service by adding new stops at North Williamsburg and Greenpoint in Brooklyn. Studies conducted by EDC and DOT have concluded that this arrangement on the East River will provide the most useful service for commuters in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. This phase of the plan will also include the construction of a new landing at Roosevelt Island that will be used by a private operator. (emphasis added)Great news and good job by Congresswoman Maloney, Congressman Nadler, Mayor Bloomberg, Council President Quinn and Councilwoman Lappin. Not known at this time when a Roosevelt Island Ferry service will begin though dock will probably be near the Octagon. One issue of concern is whether the Roosevelt Island ferry will be part of the subsidized route since the press release notes that a private operator will be operating the ferry landing at Roosevelt Island but does not mention that fact for any of the other ferry landings.
EDC has budgeted funds to begin the design phase of this service, and there is $4.4 million in federal transportation funds secured by Congress members Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, matched with $1.1 million split from the Bloomberg Administration and the City Council. The federal funds will be used to construct the ferry landings at Greenpoint and North Williamsburg as well as the dock at Roosevelt Island
"For a city of islands, ferries are a natural fit. I'm delighted that federal funds will help bring convenient and downright scenic ferry service to commuters in some of New York's fastest-growing communities," said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. "This investment will also help build a new ferry dock on Roosevelt Island, giving residents there much-needed access to alternative transportation. I was proud to work with Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Quinn, Congressman Nadler, and Councilwoman Jessica Lappin to secure these crucial upgrades to our transportation network."
For a look at how a public ferry system works, take a look at Seattle Washington.
UPDATE 6:10PM - RIOC officials met with representatives of the Octagon building and Congresswoman Maloney's office today to discuss Roosevelt Island ferry service. According to RIOC President Steve Shane:
... There remains much to be accomplished in the regulatory process, both at the City and RIOC levels. We are being asked to grant a permit which I would be delighted to recommend to the Board upon the creation of a record which would substantiate our action. Whether the City as the recipient of the Federal funds would have to be the contracting party with all of the difficult machinery of procurement that entails is completely unresolved.UPDATE: 5/7/08 - Ferry service for Roosevelt Island is planned for 2010. The NY Sun reports:
The city plans to expand ferry service to include stops at East 34th Street in Manhattan, Long Island City in Queens, and South Williamsburg in Brooklyn, beginning in July of this year. Additional stops are planned for 2010 in Greenpoint and North Williamsburg in Brooklyn, as well as Roosevelt Island. The city is also exploring creating stops that could include East 90th Street and West 125th Street in Manhattan, Riverdale in the Bronx, and Coney Island in Brooklyn, among othersUPDATE - 9/2/09 - The 8/29/09 Main Street WIRE (PDF File) reports on more delays and bungling in the quest to get ferry service for Roosevelt Island.