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Sunken dreams! Ferry service not coming to Canarsie any time soon, city says

Not docking: Canarsie will not be getting its own city ferry stop at the neighborhood’s eponymous pier any time soon, after the city instead decided to bring the nautical-commuting service to Coney Island.
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The city threw their hopes overboard.

Canarsie residents’ spirits sunk following Mayor DeBlasio’s Thursday announcement that the city will create a ferry stop in Coney Island — but not at their beloved pier.

“It’s terrible, basically Canarsie is being neglected again,” said Marc Want, the head of civic group the Canarsie Improvement Association, who in 2017 collected more than 6,000 signatures on a petition demanding a ferry stop at the Canarsie Pier.

Hizzoner announced the new Coney stop during his state of the city address, delighting Coney Islanders who fought to bring the ferry to their neighborhood for years. But Want accused those Brooklynites of taking the wind from his own campaign’s sails, and stealing the stop that he said should be destined for Canarsie instead.

“Every meeting that we were at with the city, Coney Island was trying to join in. Coney Island was trying to piggyback on us, and now they got it,” he said.

Last August, DeBlasio told Canarsie residents that the city would decide on a possible expansion of the NYC Ferry service by the end of 2018, following a feasibility study conducted by officials at the Economic Development Corporation, the agency that oversees the waterborne transit system.

That study examined six potential new stops in the borough in addition to Canarsie, including sites in Bath Beach, Gowanus, Sheepshead Bay–Manhattan Beach, at Sunset Park’s Bush Terminal, at Coney Island Beach, and at Coney Island Creek — where officials ultimately chose to install a dock.

Canarsie missed the boat because its existing transit options get passengers where they need to go faster than a ferry would, and due to the lack of commuter parking at Canarsie Pier, according to agency spokeswoman Stephanie Báez, who said the dock managed by Feds with the National Parks Service only permits recreational, not commuter, parking.

A direct ferry from Canarsie would make the roughly 22-mile trip to lower Manhattan in 67 minutes, two minutes slower than the average time it takes to get to the distant isle using subways and buses that currently serve the neighborhood, according to the study, which shows the ferry’s travel time would only increase with additional stops along its potential route.

And the neighborhood’s councilman agreed that the pier’s parking rules made it harder to bring a ferry stop there, but said the city could have informed his constituents of its decision before they heard it in the mayoral address, especially after their passionate pleas for the service.

“I understand that the parking may have been a hurdle too high, but they should have let us know. We gave them 6,000 signatures and sat down with them several times, so it would have been nice to hear about it in advance,” said Councilman Alan Maisel (D-Canarsie).

Want also admitted the current parking rules are an obstacle, but claimed people regularly flout them, arguing there are often a lot more vehicles parked at the pier than the dozen or so revelers he sees visit the area on any given day.

“Every day I see more than 100 cars parked there in the middle of the day, so it’s being used as a commuter parking lot,” he said, speculating that of some of those cars’ owners ditch their rides at the pier and catch the B42 shuttle bus to the Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway L-train station, or carpool towards Manhattan via the nearby Belt Parkway.

The city’s feasibility study, however, ruled out a Canarsie ferry stop before Gov. Cuomo pulled the plug on the 15-month L-train shutdown this month, Báez said. And now that the new plan to repair the line includes night and weekend work, locals are even keener for another means of getting around, even if it only shaves minutes — or no time at all — off their commutes, Want said.

“I don’t think anyone’s going to mind five to 10 minutes longer, especially when we expect the train to shut down,” he said.

Canarsie’s recent ferry snub does not rule out the possibility that officials could again explore sailing there in the future, Báez said, but she could not guarantee the Economic Development Corporation would conduct future feasibility studies.

And not all Brooklynites are ready to give up the fight — Borough President Adams promised to continue his push to bring a nautical-commuting option to Canarsie, even as he cheered the decision to create a ferry stop in Coney Island.

“In the months ahead, I will continue … my pursuits of ferry service to Canarsie — a community in true need of transit equity,” the beep said.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@schnepsmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.
Updated 12:10 pm, January 15, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

The Hunkster from Bed-Stuy says:
That's a shame for a transit desert like Canarsie, who desperately needs it. Then again, de Blasio had too much corruption already.
Jan. 14, 7:31 am
Commuter from Canarsie says:
Oh well, at least I’ll have dependable 24/7 service on the L train. Oh wait...
Jan. 14, 10:36 pm
Tom from Sunset Park says:
Very dumb reasons for NYC Ferry to skip over Canarise. Canarise needs the Ferry. They should have started the Coney island ferry there and end it going up the Hudson river to midtown West.
Jan. 15, 1:50 am
Vision Zero from Zero Vision says:
Aww, too bad. Not enough racists in Canarsie to fill a boat, I guess.
Jan. 15, 11:35 am
Glen from Greenpoint says:
To the nitwit pretending to be Vision Zero, you have failed at life.
Jan. 15, 5:59 pm
JQ LLC from Southeast Queens but raised in East New York says:
Coney Island has 4 train lines and I'm certain plenty of bus routes and that town is getting a ferry dock (although they have to wait 2 years, so I don't understand the overt enthusiasm), Canarsie is definitely more transit starved but it seems that the bureaucrats at the NYC ferry offices are concerned how the target demo who regularly ride them will react when stopping by a neighborhood that doesn't have any towers on the shore or is predominantly middle and lower class people. So the EDC and Mayor deFaustio is full of crap yet again. The EDC is a proxy agency of REBNY more than they are a quasi-government office.
Jan. 17, 9:11 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
JQ LLC, it's always been about the real estate. As a matter of fact, most of the ferry stops are prime real estate sites. There is a reason why the rich always have so much sufficient transit while the poor and middle class usually don't have that. According to realtors, having a lot of transit options will make a neighborhood prestigious for them to be major selling points.
Jan. 19, 3:33 pm

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