The maiden voyage of the new Bay Ridge express ferry to Wall Street is a welcome addition to NYC Ferry service. Bay Ridge residents can now get to lower Manhattan in just 20 minutes, and can easily transfer to the subway and many other ferries traveling up the East River to Midtown, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.
But the EDC should not stop there. Now that a new express ferry line is on the table, the EDC should expand it to include Staten Island, creating a long overdue transit link between the two boroughs.
Residents of South Brooklyn and Staten Island’s North Shore have called for a ferry link since the St. George terminal opened in 2021, with almost 4,000 residents signing an online petition to then-mayor de Blasio. While St. George seems close enough to swim to from the NYC Ferry terminal in Bay Ridge, a bus trip across the Verrazano would take a whopping 75 minutes and a subway to ferry combo via Manhattan would take even longer.
Extending the new express ferry route to St. George is a simple, fast, and easy way to connect Brooklyn and Staten Island, would be a major boost to the economies of both boroughs, and would also allow Staten Islanders to connect to the extensive East River ferry routes.
The demand for a Staten Island to Brooklyn ferry connection will only grow in the next few years. Both Staten Island’s and Brooklyn’s waterfronts are poised to become major onshore assembly and connection locations for offshore wind farms – an industry expected to create thousands of good-paying, green jobs. We’re going to need far better outer-borough transit connections to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to waterfront jobs as well as training and education programs. Both communities are also growing, with new housing, new residents, and increased density bringing an even more urgent need for rapid and reliable transit connections.
Too often, the EDC has neglected and underinvested in our outer borough waterfront communities, where some of the greatest opportunities for investment now exist. With the new expansion in express NYC Ferry service, Mayor Adams and the EDC have an opportunity to turn the corner and create a network of sustainable and interconnected waterfront access This must include a Staten Island to South Brooklyn link.
Daniel Loud is a member of the Bay Ridge Environmental Group.
Justin Wood is a member of Transportation Alternatives and the St. George Civic Association.