Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Mayor Bill de Blasio Announces Largest Municipal Passenger Carrying Ferry Service Coming To NYC - Roosevelt Island To Be Stop On New Astoria East River Ferry Route

NYC Mayor Bill deBlasio announced today during his State of The City Address:

... we’re launching a new citywide ferry service to be open for business in 2017. New ferry rides will be priced the same as a MetroCard fare, so ferries will be as affordable to everyday New Yorkers as our subways and buses. …. so residents of the Rockaways and Red Hook and Soundview will now be closer to the opportunities they need.

And beyond connecting residents to jobs in Manhattan, our new citywide ferry system will spur the development of new commercial corridors throughout the outer boroughs....
and added:
... Launch a Five-Borough Ferry System

To make sure there is new transportation to accommodate growth, the City will launch a new Citywide Ferry Service that will knit together existing East River routes with new landings and services to Astoria, the Rockaways, South Brooklyn, Soundview and the Lower East Side. Pegged to the cost of a Metrocard, service will launch in 2017 and will be supported by City operating support and a $55 million capital commitment. Further expansion to Stapleton and Coney Island will constitute a second phase of expansion, pending additional funding....
There was no mention of the new East River ferry service including Roosevelt Island so I asked the Mayor's Office this afternoon:
... No mention of Roosevelt Island ferry service.

Is Roosevelt Island included in the new East River ferry service?....
  Former RIOC Officials At Oil Dock in November 2009 Watching NY Water Taxi Ferry Pass

The Mayor's Office replied that Roosevelt Island will be part of a new:
Astoria route: Astoria, Long Island City – North, Roosevelt Island, East 34th Street, Pier 11 / Wall Street

Images From Mayor's Office
To be most useful, the Astoria route should include long Island City's Hunter's Point South stop so that Astoria and Roosevelt Island are connected to the Brooklyn waterfront without having an extra trip back and forth to 34th Street in Manhattan.

Here's a 2013 East River Ferry trip from LIC's Hunter's Point South to Greenpoint Brooklyn.

The Mayor's Office reported (Source NYC Economic Development Corporation City Wide Ferry Study 2013):
The City of New York is investing in a major expansion to its waterway transit system, which at completion will result in the largest municipal ferry service in the United States by number of passengers carried. The new Citywide Ferry Service will increase the number of routes from one to six (excluding Staten Island Ferry) by the end of 2018, with a proposed additional route for later phase-in.

The Citywide Ferry Service will provide transit connections to waterfront communities around the city and will unlock development in transit challenged areas, increase resiliency, generate significant economic impact, and increase equity for New Yorkers. 460,000 people live within ½ mile of the planned landings, 44% (202,000) of whom are residents of low or moderate income. Additionally, there are 15,000 NYCHA units within ½ mile of landings. All boats are fully accessible to wheelchair-bound passengers.

The creation of the Citywide Ferry Service builds on ongoing work to reconnect New Yorkers to the more than 520 miles of waterfront in the five boroughs. This work has helped job growth emerge outside of Manhattan’s traditional central business districts to places like Long Island City, DUMBO and Sunset Park. For the cost of a MetroCard ride, Citywide Ferry Service will support this growth and connect people and businesses across the city.

New routes will be the cost of a subway ride; East River Ferry will remain $4 until 2019 (end of existing contract)
  • The City will immediately start procurement for landing design and construction, as well as ferry operators
  • Three routes to launch by 2017: Astoria, Rockaway and South Brooklyn
  • Two routes to launch by 2018 including Lower East Side and Soundview
  • A proposed future route would service Stapleton (SI) and Coney Island
Route Details:
  • South Brooklyn route: Bay Ridge, Red Hook, Atlantic Avenue / Pier 6, Fulton / DUMBO, Pier 11 / Wall Street
  • Astoria route: Astoria, Long Island City – North, Roosevelt Island, East 34th Street, Pier 11 / Wall Street
  • Rockaway route: Rockaway, Brooklyn Army Terminal, Pier 11 / Wall Street
  • Lower East Side route: Long Island City – North, East 34th Street, East 23rd Street, Grand Street, Pier 11 / Wall Street
  • Soundview route: Soundview, East 90th Street, East 62nd Street, Wall Street / Pier 11
  • Coney Route (proposed): Coney Island Creek and Stapleton
  • Ridership is projected at 4.6 million trips per year in the initial planned system
  • City investment: $55 million in capital investment for initial routes (excluding potential Stapleton/Coney Island route)
  • Anticipated City operating subsidy of $10-$20 million annually
  • Private ferry operators to provide service
East River Ferry service has generated considerable economic impact, including:
  • Property value increase of 8% for properties within walking distance of stops (.125 miles) over comparable property values further from stops
  • $24 million in new annual tax revenue to the City
  • Faster-paced residential developments near stops
Following the announcement from Mayor de Blasio that New York City will see expanded ferry service by 2017, combining existing routes with new stops, Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Ben Kallos released the following statement:
We're taking back the waterfront and improving commutes through expanded ferry service for New Yorkers. Thank you to Mayor Bill de Blasio for investing in our waterfront and transportation through ferry service which I have been proud to advocate for following the leadership on a Federal level by Senator Chuck Schumer and Congress Member Carolyn Maloney.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) discussed locations for ferry docks during November 2012 Operations Advisory Committee meeting following a study on subject by Ocean Engineering which concluded:
... the optimum ferry location for Roosevelt Island was either the Observation/Subway Pier or the Oil Dock....
Here's that discussion

and more on Roosevelt Island ferry service from the October 2014 NYC Planning Department's Western Queens Transportation Study.

Here's video of Mayor de Blasio's 2015 State of The City Address.

UPDATE 9:10 PM - Council Member Kallos sent out this press release with reactions from Roosevelt Island and Upper East Side elected officials to Mayor de Blasio's ferry plans:
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Liz Krueger, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and Council Member Ben Kallos applauded the Mayor’s proposal for new ferry service in New York City today, including locations to connect Roosevelt Island with Astoria, Long Island City and 34th Street, and to connect East 90th Street and East 62nd Street with lower Manhattan and the Bronx.

East Side officials have been advocating for ferry service for years with the New York City Economic Development Corporation and city and federal governments.

Congresswoman Maloney has long been an advocate for expanded ferry service. In 2008 she helped to secure $4.4 million in federal funding ferry service in NY. She has been a strong supporter for ferry service along the waterfront from Western Queens to North Brooklyn, which has experienced strong demand that exceeded expectations. Rep. Maloney also encouraged swift restoration of ferry service to the India Street/Greenpoint ferry landing this summer. She has been a strong advocate for expanding ferry service to Roosevelt Island and Astoria Cove, in her district. Most recently, she held a discussion of the importance of opening the 90th Street ferry pier.

In 2010, the NYC EDC completed a comprehensive study of New York City ferry service and determined that there was strong demand for it.

As a candidate and then as an elected official, Council Member Ben Kallos has been pushing for expanded ferry service for years. He advocated for ferry service during his campaign, testifying before the City Planning Commission to encourage Roosevelt Island Ferry Service and terminal development. As part of his 2013 book of policies, he advocated for the “Nerd Boat” proposed by Senator Schumer to connect Astoria, Manhattan and Roosevelt Island. Once elected to the City Council, Kallos proposed revitalizing the East River Esplanade and successfully for ferry service investment to be included this year's City Council preliminary budget response.

“We are a city of islands, but we make incredibly poor use of our waterways,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “Ferries relieve congestion on our over-crowded subways and roads, and provide increased access to our beautiful waterfront. This expanded ferry service will connect major hubs on Roosevelt Island, Long Island City, Astoria, and Midtown Manhattan. I want to extend my thanks to Mayor de Blasio for recognizing the importance of investing in this environmentally friendly mode of transportation and maximizing use of our waterways.”

"Expanding ferry service is an excellent initiative and one that I fully support. Increased connectivity up and down the East River and between all five boroughs will ease the burden on existing mass transit, and facilitate transportation in transit barren portions of the city's waterfront," said State Senator Liz Krueger.

"With Cornell Tech’s groundbreaking just around the corner, the Mayor’s proposal could not come at a better time. The addition of ferry services to Roosevelt Island will provide much needed relief to the existing transportation systems connecting Roosevelt Island to Manhattan and Astoria. It is my hope that Cornell Tech’s first freshman class will be moving into their dorms with the assistance of a ferry!" said Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright.

“We're taking back the waterfront and improving commutes through expanded ferry service for New Yorkers," said Council Member Ben Kallos whose district will be receiving ferry service in three locations. The 'Nerd Boat' will connect tech hubs of Cornell NYC Tech on Roosevelt Island, Long Island City, Astoria, and Midtown Manhattan. Thank you to Mayor Bill de Blasio for investing in our waterfront and transportation through ferry service which I have been proud to advocate for following the leadership on a Federal level by Senator Chuck Schumer and Congress Member Carolyn Maloney,” said Council Member Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan).
No word on who will pay for the Roosevelt Island ferry dock - RIOC or NYC.

UPDATE 2/5 - During February 4 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council Meeting Public Session, NYC Council Member Kallos spoke about the new ferry service coming to Roosevelt Island. Mr. Kallos said the Roosevelt Island ferry service was part of a deal that included the Astoria Cove development approval.

Asked how the ferry dock would be funded, Mr. Kallos said he did not know the exact details but was confident that money was already set aside by the Federal Government, NYC and RIOC to get it accomplished. Still to be decided is whether it would be a RIOC or NYC Economic Development Corp dock.

Here's what Mr. Kallos said.


CheshireKitty said...

Wow this is certainly fantastic news! And long overdue!

I think di Blasio will be long remembered for this much-needed expansion of ferry service linking the 5 boroughs - as development picks up along the shorelines along with new recreational areas such as Governor's Island. Especially welcome is the planned service to Coney and the Rockaways - giving visitors a pleasant option rather than the extended subway ride from Manhattan.

Imagine how wonderful it will be to go by bike from W-burg to Manhattan without having to ride over a bridge or take your bike on the subway!

It is also environmentally friendly; there are innumerable pluses to it. We're especially lucky to be included in the new service - all we need is the get Citibike on RI, too!

Frank Farance said...

While I welcome ferries, "environmentally friendly" they're not: carbon footprint is twice motor vehicles. Given the choice between pushing a rolling vehicle or pushing water out the way (weighing a ton per cubic yard), the former requires less effort. Not to mention, there are many transfers required, so if you're thinking that F train is crowded, assuming the ferry is free, the ferry is still not competitive with getting people to midtown or a major subway trunk. However, ferries are good for the Queens side where the transportation infrastructure is poor.

Frank Farance said...

Still, I wish Trellis luck. I'm sure Alex/Kai are aware of the options, I'm rooting for their return, regardless of which architecture they choose.

Frank Farance said...

Photos from Trellis September 7, 2014. Nice memories.

David Enock said...

Alternative Trellis design leakedfile:///Users/david/Desktop/trellis.jpg

David Enock said...

Trellis re-design leaked

mjmnyc said...

I can't access your link--can you re-post it?

David Enock said...

Alternative Trellis design leaked...the original design for the roof is not so unusual after all.

CheshireKitty said...

David - Upload the file to a comment, please. Thanks!

David Enock said...

Alternative Trellis design leaked...not serious!!! The original design for the roof is not so unusual after all.

CheshireKitty said...

Thanks David! This is really hysterical.. *fantastic* photoshop job..!!

Frank Farance said...

Love my new apartment with many rooms. Similar to a dream (like every New Yorker) of discovering the extra room of the neighboring apartment is now combined with yours.

Except for the Roosevelt Island twist where the tram makes a left turn and there is a third stop at Motorgate.

And the steam tunnels are combined with the digging of the 63 Street tunnel so you can get to Manhattan but there is this really claustrophobic low point of the tunnel (with the weight of the East River above you) that you have to crawl through because it's so tight (and dark).

And the 6 train stops by the old Delacorte Fountain (now the bust of FDR at FFP).

CheshireKitty said...

Tell it Frank..!!

CarnetBleu said...

Correct. They options they have been given are purposely unsuitable. What we really need is a hardware store. I have to pay extra 5$ to take the tram if I need 3 screws or a bulb.

CarnetBleu said...

Of course it was absurd, they just wanted to get rid of them instead of renovating it. A community needs a thrift store. I've had so many incredible things to give away recently and just left them out in the hallway hoping someone can make a good use for them but they may have been trashed by the building personnel.

CheshireKitty said...

Mr. Kallos on the Mayor's initiative expanding ferry service: "I want to extend my thanks to Mayor de Blasio for recognizing the importance of investing in this environmentally friendly mode of transportation and maximizing use of our waterways."

I think what Mr. Kallos meant is that it is more environmentally friendly to provide increased mass transit - since it takes cars off the road - even if the mass transit itself is not particularly environmentally friendly.

Yes, bus exhaust pollutes the air but they're considered environmentally friendly if they eliminate the need for hundreds or thousands to drive/commute by car, the same with the subway:

Although in absolute terms ferries spew air pollution just like buses and so forth, mass transit options are on balance environmentally friendly since they provide transportation alternatives to private motor cars.

I think this is what Mr. Kallos meant in his remarks, which is a pretty standard formulation of why expanding mass transit - including ferries - is considered environmentally friendly, even if the means of mass transit itself is not.

Mass transportation alternatives trade one source of air pollution (bus/train/ferry) for many (individual cars) thus serves to reduce air pollution by removing many cars/engines from the road in favor of one vehicle/engine, and is therefore considered environmentally friendly.

The alternative is what happened to California with the smog - since there were so few mass transit options for many years and cars basically took over. At least in NYC, although there are of course many cars, trucks, buses, and so forth, the extensive subway, commuter rail, and bus system has helped our area avoid the sort smog that once plagued California/LA. Mass transit including ferries, buses, light rail is the environmentally responsible option, and for those who chose to walk or ride, making bikes available to all by means of bike share systems, as well as improving bike and pedestrian safety.

CarnetBleu said...

The housing development was a success until they started converting it into "luxury" apartments which the students rent out to tourists on air bnb for 145$ a night. Here is a link. There is this couple named "AJ" on air bnb. They EACH rented an apartment from hr and to re rent it on airbnb. From the amount of reviews they have on airbnb, rental is min 3 days + cleaning fee I have calculated they have made 60K per year on just one of their apartments!!! This is what Eastwood has become: chinese students making thousands of dollars by renting out their places on airbnb. So long, community!

Westviewer said...

I don't approve of air bnb, but this place was boring and pathetic long before it existed.

CheshireKitty said...

Maybe that's why Eastwood was renamed Roosevelt Landings: Tourists arriving in NYC land there by means of airbnb.

Actually, I'm not opposed to airbnb although I know many are.Tourists can save money on hotel rooms, those renting sofa space make money, to help defray ever rising rents. The usual way the system is supposed to work is for an apartment renter to make a couch available - extending hospitality at a much reduced rate than a hotel. OTOH, if apartments are being rented for the sole purpose of turning them into mini-hostels, then the apartment is really being used as a commercial enterprise, so it's not a good idea and I think it probably is not in keeping with what airbnb is about. (Carnet: Please add the link that you referred to.)

On another note, although possibly related since it also pertains to foreign nationals "landing" in NY, check out the article in Sunday's Times about the rich though sometimes shady people that are buying up ultra-expensive Manhattan properties in an iconic Midtown tower - hiding behind shell corporations and so forth. Some of this - going to such lengths to hide the identity of the buyers given that the buyers may not have obtained their money entirely legally, really seems like money-laundering or parking ill-gotten wealth at NY real estate; when they sell the apartment at a profit, no-one's the wiser as to source of the money with which the apartment was .purchased. I'm surprised there aren't stricter regulations on buying property as there are with banking regulations, to prevent what amounts to money laundering. But I guess money talks, and if just about anyone has the cash, these developers of luxury condos are happy to take it. Here's the link to the Times article. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/08/nyregion/stream-of-foreign-wealth-flows-to-time-warner-condos.html

OldRossie said...

Awesome. You managed to be two-sided in one comment. You said: Airbnb: "Tourists can save money on hotel rooms, those renting sofa space make money, to help defray ever rising rents." Luxury apartments: "really seems like money-laundering... no-one's the wiser as to source of the money... I'm surprised there aren't stricter regulations".

So which is it? ok to operate an off the books tax-free real estate business, or not-ok to have a deal lacking full disclosure and tax treatment?