Ferry good proposal for East Bronx

Could it be ferry time for the Bronx?

City Councilmembers Annabel Palma and Jimmy Vacca both think bringing ferry service to the east Bronx communities that Vacca terms “transit-starved.”

That includes Soundview and Ferry Point/Throggs Neck, where residents living away from major transit hubs have to take buses or cars to the subway and then have a long ride into the city.

Both legislators say it’s a situation that needs to be explored by the City Council and the de Blasio administration.

Their advocacy for ferry service comes as the New York City Economic Development Corporation released two reports, including a “Citywide Ferry Service Study” showing possible landings and listing Soundview and Ferry Point Park, as well as Hunts Point, Co-op City, Orchard Beach, City Island, Yankee Stadium, Fordham and Roberto Clemente State Park and Riverdale as potential locations

“Under the Bloomberg administration, ferry service has been expanded, however it’s only been expanded to neighborhoods in close proximity to Manhattan,” said Vacca, who is chairman of the Council Transportation Committee. “And what really makes sense to me is expanding it to neighborhoods further away from Manhattan because we do not have the public transit options that those other neighborhoods have.”

Vacca added that key to bringing ferry service to the east Bronx will be the time it takes for commuters on any ferry to get to and from Manhattan, affordability, and building piers and providing parking.

Some of the goals are to get people out of their cars and to cut the commuting times for people who live in more outlying communities, said Vacca.

He is circulating petitions calling for ferry service, and the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance is also advocating for more ferries.

Palma hailed the NYC EDC study, saying that “With its potential to generate significant savings in transit time, spur development, and increase access to jobs, Bronx ferry service is gaining community and political support.”

“And the city’s new study now lends greater analytical support to its promise,” she added. “Armed with this enthusiasm and analysis, it is time to move forward and make Bronx ferry service a reality.”

Community Board 10 has been calling for ferry service to Co-op City, and supports the establishment of a ferry there for its 55,000 residents, said Kenneth Kearns, district manager.

In a Dec. 10 2013 letter to Kyle Kimball, president of the NYC EDC, CB 10 chairman John Marano stated that the EDC should consider both Ferry Point and also Co-op City for ferry service.

“It is our understanding that the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) has modeled various communities and has determined that given the economics, surrounding subsides, and operating costs, that the Ferry Point community represents the best possible alternative for a ferry landing in the Bronx,” stated Marano. “However, our board feels that Co-op City, home to over 55,000 residents, should benefit from the presence of ferry service.”

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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