Commuters in Bay Ridge who want a 12-minute water taxi ride into Manhattan have been left at the dock — and they have Mayor Bloomberg to blame, a local pol charged this week.
Just hours after the mayor gave his much-lauded “Greener, Greater New York” speech on Sunday, Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) fired back saying that the Bloomberg administration is ignoring a very simple, low-pollution mass transit alternative for Bay Ridge.
“The Mayor proposed an ambitious plan on Earth Day, but for some incomprehensible reason, did not act on a plan that would ease the notoriously traffic and lead to cleaner air across Brooklyn,” said Gentile.
Earlier this year, Gentile and Councilman 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 — and that makes the green-minded Gentile see red.
“The Transportation Commissioner made it very clear to us that they are not interested in the ferry service [from Bay Ridge],” said Gentile.
Even a Republican joined the Democratic councilman’s call for more ferry service.
“Ferry service from 69th street would help improve the daily commute for countless local residents,” said Rep. Vito Fossella (R–Bay Ridge). It’s not as if Bay Ridge lacks a ferry tradition. Before the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opened in 1964, passengers regularly cruised to Staten Island. Many believed that the bridge obviated the need for new service — but now residents are reconsidering.
“It would absolutely be a nice thing for this community,” said local activist Peter Killen. “People are always looking for alternative routes of transportation.”
Killen was involved in the last attempted resurrection of the pier in 2000, but says he was also shot down by the DOT.
New York Water Taxi, the company that operates “taxi” boats all over the city, is warm to the idea of running boats out of the Bay Ridge.
“We would certainly consider the possibility,” said company rep Robert Pandolfo. “It isn’t too complicated. All the terminal would need is a bumper system and a ramp built into the dock.”
The DOT did not return several requests for a comment, leaving others to wonder if the mayor green rhetoric was just Earth Day hot air.
“The opportunities have been there, and the city has steadfastly refused to take them,” Gentile fumed.