City plan is ferry good in Williamsburg

The city is sifting through several proposals from ferry operators to shuttle commuters between Manhattan and at least three stops in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, an effort that the city hopes will reduce congestion on the roads and also on the overloaded G and L trains.

Last year, the city asked ferry companies for bids to provide year-round service to commuters who would rather avoid streets and subways.

“The Bloomberg Administration is committed to alternative methods of transportation, including additional ferry routes, to reduce traffic congestion in the city,” said EDC spokeswoman Janel Patterson. “We [solicited proposals] and got a good response.”

Water taxi companies are chomping at the bit to cash in on the population explosion in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, the city says. More than 27,500 new housing units will be developed by 2013 — all “within easy walking distance from existing or potential new ferry landing sites,” according to the document the city sent out to the ferry companies.

The year-round ferry service would make at least one round-trip every half hour during morning and evening rush hours, with less-frequent service during off-peak hours and on the weekends. Most of the cost would be borne by the private companies, but the city is offering some incentives, including building “ferry landings and related infrastructure,” according to the EDC request for proposals.

The city identified three locations in the area where new landings might be built: two in Greenpoint, one on Green Street and the other on Greenpoint Avenue; and another in North Williamsburg on the site of the planned Northside Piers development, which will include luxury housing along the waterfront between North Fourth and North Fifth streets.

There is an existing ferry station at the Schaefer Landing development a few blocks south of the Williamsburg Bridge. That ferry would be walking distance from the Domino Sugar Plant, where a developer is planning 2,200 units.

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