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New ferries on the horizon for Ridge, Sunset Park, Red Hook, Brooklyn Heights

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New ferry service is tying up in Brooklyn.

The city is adding five stops to the Brooklyn waterfront as part of a citywide ferry expansion that is set to start in 2017, Mayor DeBlasio announced during his State of the City address on Tuesday. The $55-million network is meant to add an affordable option for commuters who don’t drive, DeBlasio said.

“New ferry rides will be priced the same as a MetroCard fare, so ferries will be as affordable to everyday New Yorkers as our subways and buses,” he said.

The Brooklyn leg of the new route is supposed to get new docks in Bay Ridge, at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park, in Red Hook, and two in Brooklyn Bridge Park, at Atlantic Avenue and at Fulton Ferry Landing. The string of stops is supposed to then be followed by a lengthy voyage to Wall Street on the distant island of Manhattan.

Sending ferries to 69th Street Pier will especially help Bay Ridge residents, who are under-served by public transportation, a resident who commutes daily to Manhattan said.

“We’re typically seen as a suburban neighborhood, but we’re not, and I think it shouldn’t be that difficult to get to Manhattan,” Karen Hennigan said.

A Rockaway, Queens route is also set to stop at the Brooklyn Army Terminal before heading to Manhattan, in a reprise of the one that ran for 13 months following Hurricane Sandy while transit workers repaired flood-damaged R train tunnels.

A Queens resident who works in Bay Ridge said the floating people-mover will be a boon for commuters and far-flung parts of the city.

“Any services linking the Rockaways with Manhattan and Brooklyn would be great, not just for my needs but because we haven’t really recovered from Sandy, and our neighborhood relies on an influx of tourism in the summers,” John Rochford said.

Rochford took the temporary ferry and said it more than cut his trip time in half, from two hours one-way to 45 minutes one-way.

The new service is supposed to complement the existing East River Ferry, which has a stop at Fulton Ferry Landing and runs to Williamsburg and Greenpoint. It costs $4 to $6 for a one-way trip.

A proposed future route, which does not have a date attached to it, could run from Coney Island to bucolic Staten Island, then to Wall Street.

A Coney Island tour guide said the proposed ferry to Coney Island Creek would be good for residents who commute, but dumping tourists in an out-of-the-way park wouldn’t provide the same economic benefits that a ride to Steeplechase Pier could proffer.

“You arrive to Kaiser Park and you’re a tourist — where do you go from there?” said Michael Quinn. “It’s all residential. It’s better than not having anything, but as far as economics, Steeplechase Pier is the better location.”

State Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights), who signed on to a letter with a number of other elected officials last October asking for increased ferry service to Brooklyn Bridge Park, praised the new plan in goofball terms.

“For lots of New Yorkers who live in fast growing waterfront communities without enough transit options, new service is very — or ferry! good news,” he said in a statement.

He added that the ferries will be a good backup in case of another devastating natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy.

“New service will also provide another option when existing networks are compromised,” he said.

The city’s Economic Development Corporation oversees the taxpayer-subsidized private operators of existing ferries, and would continue in that role with the new routes. The city has not yet identified the new operator or operators.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260–8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
It's hard to think of a way to help fewer people with more money than subsidizing ferry service.
Feb. 4, 2015, 5:08 pm
ty from pps says:
if you want to think of fewer people with more money, think of all that's spent on bike lanes.
Feb. 4, 2015, 5:57 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Fake-Ty, the Rockaway ferry was being subsidized to the tune of about $30/passenger before it was shut down for being a waste of money not long ago.
Feb. 4, 2015, 7:37 pm
tony from sunset park says:
If this was a way to take cars off the road - great! But in reality it will take folks off of mass transit. A similar plan is underfoot for freight - the plan for a freight tunnel across the harbor would be a huge subsidy for the very few who they can convince to use it...
Feb. 4, 2015, 9:04 pm
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
tourists to NYC thank the mayor for the cheap cruise fare.
Feb. 5, 2015, 8:01 am
PortSide NewYork from Red Hook says:
Brooklyn Army Terminal pier is at 58th street (Sunset Park), but article refers to sending “ferries to 69th Street Pier” (Bay Ridge). The map shows Sunset Park, not Bay Ridge.
The article focuses on commuting to Manhattan, but one of the points of the proposed system is to link within Brooklyn and link Brooklyn to Staten Island It is an effort to get beyond "all routes lead to Manhattan."

As to the criticism of the proposed Coney dock being at Kaiser Park, there are maritime reasons why running a ferry to Coney Island Creek is better than going all the way around the peninsula into rough water exposed to Atlantic to a pier on the outer side of Coney. Fuel cost and time are less on the creek run, and the sea conditions are easier allowing more boats in the fleet (eg smaller boats) to make that run.
Feb. 5, 2015, 10:01 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
Why is it more expensive to run a ferry than an express bus? Why is it more expensive to add a ferry line than to dig for decades and billions upon billions of dollars to lay a new subway line? It seems like if the proposal were for either of the first two options the immense expense they entail wouldn't even occur to anyone, because they're used to the idea of buses and subways. Likewise a new expressway. I'm sure the motorheads would bay in ecstasy over that idea, no matter how high the price tag was. A ferry is a boat travelling on water that doesn't have to be built--it's already there. And, conveniently, waterways are adjacent to most places in NYC that large numbers of people want to travel to; it's a fringe benefit of being a series of islands. Ferries once carried a great deal of traffic in NYC and they can again.
Feb. 5, 2015, 11:04 am
The Duke from Flatbush says:
The last two posts are spot on. If I can take a ferry from Bay Ridge to DUMBO/Williamsburg in less than a quarter of the time subways/bus would take, I'm going to use it frequently. It really is a step away from the "all roads lead to Manhattan" problem, that makes using public transportation for intra borough so time consuming. All that and some of the nicest views imaginable. Sounds like a win-win to me.
Feb. 5, 2015, 11:13 am
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
can the mayor also bring back ferry service between Bay Ridge and Staten Island. The new toll for the bridge is too high. I can't afford to use the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
Feb. 5, 2015, 11:50 am
PortSide NewYork from Red Hook says:
Our error. The map does show a Bay Ridge stop.
Feb. 5, 2015, 11:53 am
PortSide NewYork from Red Hook says:
Then and now: New York Times article on how ferries made Brooklyn Heights what it is http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/30/nyregion/how-a-ferry-ride-helped-make-brooklyn-the-original-suburb.html?_r=0 and Official background info on the proposed citywide ferry plan includes the following

"The Citywide Ferry Service will provide transit connections to waterfront communities around the City and will unlock development in transit challenged areas, increase resiliency, generate significant economic impact, and increase equity for New Yorkers. 460,000 people live within ½ mile of the planned landings, 44% (202,000) of whom are residents of low or moderate income. Additionally, there are 15,000 NYCHA units within ½ mile of landings. All boats are fully accessible to wheelchair-bound passengers.

The creation of the Citywide Ferry Service builds on ongoing work to reconnect New Yorkers to the more than 520 miles of waterfront in the five boroughs. This work has helped job growth emerge outside of Manhattan’s traditional central business districts to places like Long Island City, DUMBO and Sunset Park. For the cost of a MetroCard ride, Citywide Ferry Service will support this growth and connect people and businesses across the city."
Feb. 5, 2015, 12:08 pm
Phantom from Bay Ridge says:
MJ

There are two buses that run frequently between 86th St Bay Ridge and different parts of Staten Island.

But I think you correct in that a restored Bay Ridge - Staten Island ferry could be very useful to people in both boroughs.
Feb. 5, 2015, 12:31 pm
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
Won't Staten Island folks complain if the ferry isn't free? The folks on that island are really good at begging for entitlements, but then voting R.
Feb. 5, 2015, 12:39 pm
TOM from Sunset Park says:
A Citiwide Ferry Service would only add another option for reaching your destination. That option just might meet your needs, or not. They have a tight schedule and so does you job. You have to both look at the map and weigh the costs in time and money.

Accessing a service at the shoreline can be difficult because it might be distant from your home or job. The 69th Street Pier was excellent for locals but there was no accommodation for parking. 'Kiss n' Ride' works best there. The 58th Street Pier(now saved from industrial abuse) provides hundreds of parking spots and 'Kiss n' Ride' but is not walking distance for many potential users. I worked it into my daily commute when I worked near the Wall Street Pier, the Manhattan terminus. It also solved my need for parking each day--an added amenity (and free).

I loved that 'lengthy voyage' from Manhattan on a Friday evening, wishing it was only longer. It was that relaxing. I left stress in the wake. I sometimes walked home from there. Great start to a weekend.
Feb. 5, 2015, 1:03 pm
Me from Bay Ridge says:
If the B37 (Third Avenue) bus would loop down to the 58th Street pier I believe it would increase ferry ridership from that location.
Feb. 5, 2015, 2:16 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Very disingenuous to pretend these ferries are to benefit poor people. Poor people aren't going to benefit from a system that requires double the fare to arrive at a place. And, contrary to Scott's claim, the ferries don't reach where most people want to travel to. Jobs are not on the river.

The Rockaway Ferry was being subsidized to the tune of $30/passenger before it was killed for being a waste that no one used. Now it's back. With cheerleaders.
Feb. 5, 2015, 2:39 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Phones are not for speaking.
Feb. 5, 2015, 2:44 pm
Phantom from Bay Ridge says:
Mike

It might, but then it adds to everyone else's journey time.
Feb. 5, 2015, 4:35 pm
jay from nyc says:
I don't know bout what the numbers/dollars are to run ferries are, if they can be within reason then it makes sense, and I am sure most of you are noticing how horribly packed the mta is these days and how the service and delays are just getting more miserable by the day.
Something needs to be done to add capacity to the transit system because the mta is clearly failing right now and really can't take more people at this point.
Feb. 5, 2015, 6:31 pm
ty from pps says:
we're all ty now!
Feb. 5, 2015, 9:21 pm
Philip McManus from Rockaway Park says:
Dear Ferry Commuters,

We need to network and organize together to promote citywide ferry service. Get involved and support our cause.

Philip McManus
PhilAMcManus@gmail.com
718-679-5309

Queens Public Transit Committee
Faster transportation will create more social, economic, recreational, and environmental opportunities.

Facebook:
Rockaway Beach Rail Line
Queens Public Transit
Rockaway Beach Branch

Twitter:
Rockaway Beach Line

Websites:
Rockaway Branch Line blog
Rockaway Branch Line Mission Statement
Queens Public Transit

Please support the following petitions:
Ferry
Ferry - Weekend Service
Queens Rockaway Beach Line
Toll
Train
Q 52 Bus
Station Agents
Metro North Station in Queens
Feb. 5, 2015, 10:50 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
Clearly regular ferry service has to tie in to the existing bus & subway network. Having a dock as an island, cut off from easy transfers, that will only serve people a couple blocks' walk away, does not make sense. But if I'm in Far Rockaway and can take a 45 minute ferry ride to a stop at Midtown and then a 10 minute cross-town bus ride, then that's half the time it takes by subway now. And that's really if your job is, say, on Broadway or Avenue of the Americas. If your job is on the West Side Highway or an avenue or two from the East River, you'd probably walk most days. Why wouldn't it make sense? Aquaphobia? Anti-ferryism? If the city really wanted to go 21st Century, they'd make the ferries hydrofoils and cut the ride time down to 10 minutes.
Feb. 6, 2015, 10:52 am
Danny Ruscillo from Rockaway Park, Queens NY says:
I'm not satisfied 2017 is too long.

I was some what pleased to hear the Mayor announce his plan for the City wide Ferry transportation, however the Rockaway's already had a successful Ferry service established. The Rockaway's cannot afford to wait until 2017. This is just another hit to the Rockaway's since we will also not have a complete Boardwalk until 2017 "FIVE" years after Super Storm Sandy. Our Community needs this Ferry service now for our economic development especially that our Borough of Queens has been named the number one tourist destination in our Country.

Also keep in mind 2017 is an election year.

Danny Ruscillo
Co-Chair CB#14 Queens,
Transportation Committee
Feb. 6, 2015, 11:24 am
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from Southside, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, United States says:
Two possible Achilles Heels for this Citywide Ferry System Proposal: 1) Increased operating cost per passenger per ferry boat; 2) Projected ridership not up to expectations.
Sept. 12, 2015, 2:05 pm

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