Monday, November 23, 2009

Temporary Roosevelt Island Ferry Service During Tram Outage Possible At Oil Dock - But If They Build It Will You Come?

RIOC Officials At Oil Dock Watching NY Water Taxi ferry boat

RIOC has been investigating the possibility of temporary ferry service for Roosevelt Island during the time that the Tram is scheduled to be out of service starting in March 2010 and lasting for what is hoped to be only 6 months. One of the questions has been where to place a temporary dock.

Working with NY Water Taxi, it has been determined that a temporary spud ferry dock cannot be placed on the West Channel facing Manhattan due to the rock placement at the sea wall

Subway Pier Sea Wall Rocks

but might be able to work on the East Channel facing Queens at the Oil Dock beneath the Queensboro Bridge

Roosevelt Island Oil Dock

because there is mud and not rock at the seawall.

Oil Dock Seawall

A meeting last Friday with representatives of RIOC management, NY Water Taxi and the NYC Economic Development Corp. at the Oil Dock determined that it is feasible to install a spud ferry barge at the site.

RIOC, NY Water Taxi and NYC EDC At The Oil Dock

The plan discussed by NY Water Taxi and RIOC would be to have the ferry service operate only during the most heavily trafficked rush hours from the Oil Dock to 35 Street Pier. There would be a NY Water Taxi provided bus to cover a still to be determined East Side Manhattan route. The price of the Water Taxi bus will be included in whatever fare is eventually decided upon for the Ferry. There are also NYC buses at the Ferry dock but that will require an additional fare. Commuting time from Roosevelt Island to 35 street dock will be less than 15 minutes.

The next question to be answered is if current rush hour Tram passengers travelling to the East Side will use this temporary ferry service during the Tram outage instead of what is expected to be even more overcrowded F Trains?

RIOC President Steve Shane addressed issue of temporary ferry service during Tram outage in his recent President's Report:
Ferry: Explored temporary service at the existing pier at the meditation steps while the Tram is out next year, but underwater rock formations make spud pier infeasible. Now operator is reviewing the old oil dock on the east channel behind the steam plant and is scheduled to be on Island Friday the 20th. Subject to engineering clearance, approvals from the Coast Guard, if there is sufficient ridership interest based on surveys for a service to 35th Street and maybe on down to Wall Street during rush hours, and with the Board’s approval and commitment of approximately $100,000 to subsidize for 6 months, maybe there will be ferry service during the Tram shutdown.
RIOC Management waving either hello or good-bye to NY Water Taxi

More on status of Roosevelt Island ferry service here.

The NY Times recently reported on problems with East Side Ferry service:
... New York Water Taxi, says that it has not been able to come to an agreement with the city about continuing the subsidy, and that it might have to halt the East River commuter service for the third time in four years. Further, the city’s Economic Development Corporation said that because of the recession, plans to expand the ferry service on the East River have been delayed for at least a year, until spring 2011...


Anonymous said...

We NEED a Ferry, and yes, if they build it, we will come.

I'm sure every resdident will give it a try. That should more than pay for it.

Others will use it consistantly, at least while the Tram is down for 6 months.


How will you use the ferry when the tram is out of service? The Manhattan side stop will be at 35th street.

Do you work or need to be on the East Side of Manhattan during the early morning commute? How many others do you think are similarly situated?

Anonymous said...

Twice recently I have given up waiting for the F because of long waits between trains and large crowds that would have made it impossible to get on anyway. I took the tram and then the Lexington Avenue train. The ferry would be a useful backup when there are train problems. That's not to say the ferry operator would consider that a reliable customer base.

Anonymous said...

I disagree that every resident will give ferry a try. If ferry goes to 35 street, those who work in Upper East side, and take the Tram now, will not take the ferry!

Ferry ride to 35 street will take at least 15 minutes. Those who take the tram now and work, say, at East 60 street, will then have to take the bus uptown or walk at least 15 blocks. Taking F train and go to 63 street will be faster (and cheaper)even if they have to wait for 15 minutes to board the train.

Anonymous said...

I work on 47th Street, so I walk 13 blocks from the Tram. If the Ferry Stops at 35th St., I'll walk 12 blocks in the other direction. If you think the Train is crowded now, wait until the Tram is Out of Service. The Water taxi will be a welcomed sight, for sure.