DOT considers Ridge ferry

One resident’s against-the-tide crusade to return ferry service to the 69th Street pier may finally be hitting smoother waters.

On Oct. 1, transportation activist Heather McCown sent Mayor Bloomberg a 1,400-signature petition that demanded a ferry from the 69th Street pier to Lower Manhattan — and last Wednesday, the mayor’s office responded with a message of its own: Give us eight weeks.

The Department of Transportation told McCown that a final decision would be made “by the end of December, 2007.”

McCown’s effort got another boost from Community Board 10 last Monday, when the board voted unanimously in support of a city-subsidized ferry service.

“Bay Ridge is one of the most underserved neighborhoods in Brooklyn,” said McCown, who began circulating the petition in July, despite working full time and taking night classes.

Her crusade faces an uphill climb, since she is looking to succeed where local pols have already fought and failed.

Earlier this year, Councilmen Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) and David Yassky (D–Brooklyn Heights) secured $500,000 to transform the 69th Street pier into a ferry-ready dock. But the Department of Transportation has not spent the money to do the job — yet.

New York Water Taxi, the company that operates “taxi” boats all over the city, is warm to the idea of providing that long-dreamed-of 12-minute ride from Bay Ridge to Manhattan.

“We would certainly consider the possibility,” said company rep Robert Pandolfo.