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All Aboard? Bay Ridge ferry gains steam

Sunset Ridge Waterfront Alliance Directors (from left) Andrew Wasserman, Heather McCown, and Peter Killen sponsored a ferry ride from the 69th Street pier on Tuesday to showcase an efficient service.
The Brooklyn Paper / Joe Jordan

The prospects for a ferry from the 69th Street pier to the Financial District are in a holding pattern, but it was full-speed-ahead on Tuesday as proponents of the service invited passengers on board for a successful dry-run.

Organized by local activists Heather McCown, Adam Wasserman, and Peter Killen, the 20-minute ride from Bay Ridge to Lower Manhattan went off without a hitch.

Well, sort of.

Since there is currently no landing for boats at the 69th Street pier, the ferry actually left from Sunset Park’s 58th Street pier and first headed south so that it could appropriately simulate the ride from 69th Street.

Twenty minutes later, at a speed of 22-knots, the ferry docked at Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan.

“Now this is a civilized way to travel,” said Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), who has been pushing the Bloomberg administration to spend a $500,000 allocation for a 69th Street ferry landing that was put into the Department of Transportation budget in 2004 by Gentile and Councilman David Yassky (D–Brooklyn Heights).

Since then, McCown has been collecting petition signatures — close to 2,000 and counting! — to tell the mayor that support for a Bay Ridge ferry is strong.

“Now, with congestion pricing, pollution pricing, talk of a fare hike … we’re dealing with the fact that we’ll have even more people on an already packed subways and buses,” said McCown.

Gentile is hopeful that the mayor will change his position — a position the councilman called “unconscionable!” — now that he has an innovated new transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan.

“[She] is more of a visionary than I’ve seen in the past and I think she’s supportive of ferry service,” Gentile said.

A DOT spokesperson has said the agency will release its study on the viability of the ferry “by the end of 2007.”

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