CONEY ISLAND – As NYC Ferry approaches its second operating year, the 17-ship fleet will once again float past transit-starved Coney Island.
In a joint statement yesterday, Mark Treyger, Alan Maisel and other City Council members called on the city to move rapidly with expanding ferry service to New York City’s most underserved transit communities.
“As Mayor de Blasio announces yet another significant investment into the NYC Ferry program, we join countless residents in outer borough communities across the city in continuing to be baffled by the fact that the administration has yet to implement ferry service in parts of the city that feature the lengthiest commutes and the most limited transit options,” said Councilmember Treyger of Coney Island in a joint statement.
Yesterday the mayor announced the city will invest an additional $300 million in the NYC Ferry project throughout the next 5 years. According to President and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) James Patchett, the additional funding will go into doubling the size of the fleet and expanding ferry landings to accommodate more passengers in areas that currently have access to ferry service.
The funding comes in response to increased demand. Initially the city projected 4.6 million riders but Mayor de Blasio said in a press conference in Bay Ridge yesterday that the expectation is more like 9 million within a few years.
“This latest investment is simply further proof that there is a real demand for ferry service across the city,” said Treyger. The Councilmembers went on to highlight the broken MTA service that disproportionately impacts underserved areas as further proof to rush the expansion of the ferry service.
“Yet City Hall persists in leaving southern Brooklyn communities like Coney Island and Canarsie and communities in the Bronx and Staten Island out of the ferry picture,” added Treyger.
Constituents of both Councilmembers Treyger and Alan Maisel of Canarsie petitioned for ferry service. At the release of this article there were 1,952 signatures requesting ferry service be expanded to the area.
The joint statement comes after New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson tweeted that Council Members are advocating for additional ferry routes in the most transit-starved areas of the city including, Coney Island, Canarsie, Staten Island and Ferry Point in the Bronx.
New York Council Speaker Corey Johnson also chimed in on the push to add service in Coney Island. In a tweet, Council Speaker Corey Johnson referenced the City Council’s push for more NYC Ferry routes, highlighting Council Members Treyger, Borelli, Gjonaj, Maisel, Rose, and Minority Leader Matteo for advocating for ferry service in Coney Island and Canarsie in Brooklyn, Ferry Point Park in The Bronx, and Staten Island.
“We thank Council Speaker Corey Johnson for making fast and equitable ferry expansion a priority in the Council, recognizing how desperately New Yorkers in underserved transit deserts across the city need more public transportation options. The Council is joining New Yorkers across the city in speaking up about the need for more transit access. It’s time for City Hall to listen.”
The NYCEDC is aware of the concerns both residents and lawmakers’ needs for ferry service in the past. As early as 2013, NYCEDC studied Coney Island’s ferry options and discovered hurdles that would impact positioning a ferry stop in the area. In its inaugural year, a Hornblower vessel was stuck in the sand in the Coney Island channel responsible for a hours-long hold up for stranded riders.
The EDC told BKLYNER they are still monitoring expansion efforts.
“We are focused on launching the 2 remaining routes identified for 2018,” said Stephanie Baez of NYCEDC. “Following successful implementation of those routes, EDC will commence a new comprehensive study on potential locations for expansion of the system later this year.”