Monday, June 8, 2015

June 4 Astoria Ferry Town Hall Meeting Presentation By NYC Council Member Costa Constantinides and NYC Economic Development Corp - Route Astoria, Roosevelt Island, LIC, 34th Street And Wall Street

As previously reported last February, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced:

 ... 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. ….

and Roosevelt Island will be part of a new
Astoria route: Astoria, Long Island City – North, Roosevelt Island, East 34th Street, Pier 11 / Wall Street
On June 4, Astoria's NYC Council Member Costa Constantinides together with the NYC Economic Development Corp (EDC) held a Town Hall meeting for Astoria residents to explain the upcoming Astoria Ferry Dock location and route.

The Astoria Post reports:
Image From Astoria Post

... the Astoria Ferry will dock at Hallets Cove–adjacent to Astoria Houses, just west of Goodwill Park, and accessible from 8th Street and Vernon Boulevard...
Council Member Constantinides issued this June 4 Press Release:
Council Member Costa Constantinides and the NYC Economic Development Corporation today hosted a Town Hall on the upcoming ferry dock in Astoria. The dock will be part of the upcoming citywide ferry system set to be implemented by the EDC in 2017.

The ferry dock will be located along the Southern portion of Halletts Peninsula. Once the docks are built, the ferry system will be operated by a third-party provider. A ferry ride will be equal to the cost of a subway ride. The ferry system is targeted to be implemented by 2017.

Target ferry riders will be commuters who live walking distance from the dock and who ride the ferry to get to work during the week or for appointments during the weekend.

Constantinides said, “We are at a turning point for Astoria. This ferry system will provide vital transportation options to an often under served neighborhood. It will make Western Astoria more interconnected with Manhattan, Brooklyn, and other parts of Queens. It will also be a sustainable and inclusive way to use our city’s greatest resource - our waterfront.

Astorians that live near the ferry dock - in Astoria Houses, Old Astoria, and Goodwill - are so close to Manhattan yet it takes a 30 minute bus ride to an overcrowded train to get there. Ferry service will change that paradigm. Now is the time to embrace an additional form of transportation.”

“A Citywide Ferry system is a historic undertaking that will play a vital role in the City’s efforts to create a modern and equitable economy for all New Yorkers", said NYCEDC Executive Vice President Seth Myers. “Service to Astoria not only provides another transportation option for local residents, it also bolsters the resiliency of our entire transportation system, connecting New Yorkers to the waterfront and job centers, and driving business growth and job creation across New York City."

Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council's 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights.
Here's what Mr. Constantinides said at the June 4 Astoria Ferry Dock Town Hall Meeting as he introduced

the ferry presentation by NYC EDC.

Some in the Town Hall audience were not happy with the format of the NYC EDC Ferry presentation. According to the Astoria Post:
... Numerous attendees also took issue with the structure of the EDC’s presentation itself.

After EDC representatives gave a slideshow talk on the ferry’s location, rollout and design, they broke into small stations – geared to separate issues such as transportation and design – to speak one-on-one with neighbors. There was no opportunity for a public question-and-answer session.

“I thought that that weakens us as a community. I wasn’t too happy about that,” Vernon Boulevard resident Mayra Mercado said. “It dilutes our voice.”

“When you have a breakout format, you [should] come back together, and one person from each groups shares,” 28th Avenue resident Dominique Perrot said. “I don’t really know what all the issues are.”...
Click here for the full Astoria Post article.

The twitterverse reported on the Astoria Ferry Town Hall Meeting.
I asked about funding for construction of a Roosevelt Island Ferry dock. Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Directors have previously said they were not aware of any current funding sources. I was told by NYC EDC representatives at the Astoria Town Hall that the Roosevelt Island dock will be funded although no specifics were provided. NYC EDC reps also indicated a willingness to come to Roosevelt Island for a future Ferry Town Hall meeting.