Weiner Proposes Expanded Ferry Service Citywide, Including Sheepshead Bay

Photo by Erica Sherman
Photo by Erica Sherman

Capital New York is reporting that Anthony Weiner has proposed a slew of ferry service ideas in an attempt to steal the issue from rival Christine Quinn.

In a recent press conference, Weiner put forward a series of plans for expanding ferry service should he become mayor, starting with making the expanded Rockaway line a permanent reality. Past that, he proposed ideas that would bring ferry service to the Bronx and Sheepshead Bay.

“I’m proposing activating a line from Riverdale in the Bronx that would come down to either Lower Manhattan or a pier on the west side; a southern Brooklyn line that would service Sheepshead Bay, which would get traffic off of the Belt Parkway; reactivating service that has run intermittently to LaGuardia Airport and would also operate on busy days at Citi Field. … A line going to Kennedy Airport that could be used for cargo as well as taking passengers off of the Van Wyck Expressway and the Belt Parkway; and an East Side shuttle that would shuttle passengers up and down the East Side with greater frequency until the Second Avenue subway comes online,” Weiner said.

Weiner’s bold ferry ideas were met with skepticism from Quinn’s camp, who according to Capital New York, believes that Weiner is riding on Quinn’s coattails on the issue:

Christine Quinn has, until now, owned the ferry issue. She’s been a big booster of East River ferry service, and in April, she proposed bringing ferry service to Atlantic Avenue, Red Hook, Astoria, Roosevelt Island, 91st Street and Ferry Point Park.
“Unlike ex-Congressman Weiner, Christine Quinn didn’t just talk about ferry services, she actually delivered ferry services on the East River, from Queens to Brooklyn and Brooklyn to Manhattan, which surpassed its ridership goal for a year in 6 months and in 18 months of operation served 1.6 million riders,” said her campaign spokesman Mike Morey, in an email.

Despite Weiner and Quinn’s dreams of connecting the boroughs with a fleet of ferries, studies made by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) have pointed out that expanding the service would not be economically viable. As we’ve previously reported, the EDC noted many problems with bringing a ferry to Sheepshead Bay, including issues with parking, inclement weather and high costs.

Weiner has subsequently argued that federal dollars could be used to subsidize the prohibitive cost of ferries and that overall, adding extra mass transit options will save the city in the long run.

“We are gonna have to subsidize ferries, but remember, it is not a cost, it is also a savings that we have: the wear and tear on our city, the efficiencies that we gain by having traffic move more quickly and also the availability of federal funds in the form of the national gas tax, one of the few taxes that we actually take more in than we pay out,” Weiner said.


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