Ferry users need a lot/Drivers hog parking around Clason Point Park dock

Ferry users need a lot/Drivers hog parking around Clason Point Park dock
Schneps Community News Group/ Patrick Rocchio

While many Bronxites are thrilled with the arrival of ferry service to Soundview, the rapid transit solution inadvertently caused another issue, parking.

Soundview Avenue, the lone road that leads to the Clason Point Park ferry slip has limited street parking.

Besides some angle parking, the approach to the ferry doesn’t have many parking options for the newly designed commuter waterway.

The neighboring gated community to Clason Point Park, Shorehaven is enduring parking difficulties created by the new ferry service.

“We’ve most definitely have seen an issue with parking since the construction of the ferry,” said seven-year Shorehaven resident Messiah Russell. “There should be a parking lot for the station, it would make things much easier,” she added.

The city is aware of the parking issue and is working on a long-term solution.

Justin Dambinskas, a Throggs Neck businessperson who also operates other Parks concessions, was given the green light to convert an adjacent, NYC vacant property into a 25-space parking lot along with a concession stand for ferry users at 2 Soundview Avenue.

“Many of the ferry users don’t live within walking distance of the ferry stop”, he said.

Besides the recently extended Bx 27 bus service, there aren’t many mass transit options to get there, so those who drive their cars to the ferry have difficulty finding parking. “That’s why this project would be so efficient,” Dambinskas said.

While the city intends to lease the land to Dambinskas, the project still has to be presented before Community Board 9 and other agencies.

If all goes according to plan, Dambinskas believes the lot, envisioned from a small piece of parkland bordering Heron Lane, will be up and operating in a year.

Yet, the question still remains, what to do about the parking situation in the meantime?

While Dambinskas didn’t have an answer for the immediate parking dilemma he did offer his thoughts about a solution that would improve the situation going down the road. “Expand the service further east in the Bronx,” he suggested as a long-range remedy. “The demand for parking will decrease at the Soundview dock if the number of stops on the line increase”. Commuters from Throggs Neck and City Island and all over the east Bronx, will use other stops thereby putting less strain on the 25-space lot in Soundview, he added.

Jessica Metzler-Sinclair who lives on City Island and teaches in lower Manhattan, began taking the ferry from Soundview when the 2018-2019 school year started.

She was satisfied with her shortened commute until her return ferry was cancelled on Tuesday, September 26.

“I had to take the 6 to the Pelham Bay Park (station), Uber down to my car at the ferry stop, then drive back to City Island,” she said. “I left work at 3 p.m. and got home close to 6 p.m.” Metlzer-Sinclair added.

She overwhemingly supports the idea of expanding ferry service closer to her home.

As far as expanding the ferry line goes, Community Board 10 is more than willing to support the idea.

“We would easily approve it. We’ve been asking for ferry service here for many years. Throggs Neck is a transit desert,” CB 10 district manager Matt Cruz said.

Cruz went on to explain that places like Ferry Point Park, Pelham Bay Park, and City Island each are worthy of a stop on the ferry line with parking included.

Pelham Bay Park is especially ideal because of its close proximity to the IRT #6 line.

“We put ferry service on our district needs list every year. We’re not going to be letting up anytime soon. We’ve got one of the longest travel times to Manhattan. More waterway travel is something we need in the east Bronx,” Cruz added.

Local elected officials such as Councilman Mark Gjonaj have also expressed support of expanding ferry service.

Community Board 9 did not respond for comment prior to press time.