Call it bowing to pier pressure.
The city has yielded to Red Hookers’ demands to place a planned neighborhood ferry stop inside the Atlantic Basin, buoying proponents who say it is easily the most accessible location in the area and will help ensure Mayor DeBlasio’s forthcoming floating transit system is smooth sailing.
“This is great news for the community,” said resident Jerry Armer, who is a member of Community Board 6 and was a vocal advocate for the basin stop. “It’s easier for the residents of Red Hook to get to and I think it will go a long way to making the commuter ferry successful.”
DeBlasio announced the news on Wednesday, ending months of giddy anticipation about where the berth — one of five new stops opening on the borough’s waterfront next year as part of a new citywide ferry service — will go.
Ferry officials initially told residents in August that they were planning to place the stop at either the Van Brunt Street or Valentino piers, which are both on the neighborhood’s less residential southern edge.
But locals quickly schooled them in why it would work far better up the coast in the basin, near Conover and Pioneer streets, with one resident even drawing up maps to show them how much closer that would be for residents and businesses than the other sites.
The city ruled out the basin at first because the Coast Guard periodically closes the entire area for customs checks when ocean liners dock at the Cruise Terminal, but eventually found a way for the ferries to slip in and out without disturbing the federal operations.
Local pols cheered the city’s Economic Development Corporation — which will build and run the ferry operation — for having the good sense to defer to Hook residents’ vastly superior local knowledge.
“I’m glad local residents’ voices were heard by EDC when this location was chosen,” said Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D–Red Hook).
The new ferries will set sail in summer 2017, and will also stop at Bay Ridge, the Brooklyn Army Terminal, Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 and Pier 6, and the outer borough of Manhattan.
Rides will cost the same as a subway trip and will include free transfers to other ferry routes, including the East River Ferry.
But the service will not be integrated with the bus and subway’s MetroCard system, and riders will have to pay twice to shuttle between the two modes of transportation.
And not everyone in the nabe is thrilled with the new dock — New York Water Taxi, which runs a popular service from Ikea, claims it will now have to fold because it can’t afford to compete with the new taxpayer-subsidized mass transit system.