One year ago, Mayor de Blasio announced that ferry service would be expanded citywide. One of five new routes included Soundview and Community Board 9 is fearful that a parking nightmare could occur when the service debutes in 2018.
The Soudview ferry will stop at East 90th Street, East 62nd Street, and finally Wall Street and will cost the same as bus fare.
Soundview was chosen as one of the locations for ferry service because the community is largely isolated and has few mass transit options.
The idea is to reduce congestion and traffic while cutting cummute times to Manhattan for Bronx residents.
However, with the current public transportation system, most commuters will have to drive to the ferry, making parking for Soundview residents more difficult and forcing commuters to continue to use their cars (not to mention the fact that many residents don’t own vechicles).
CB 9 has held various vision sessions and meetings on how to increase ferry accessiblity.
A free taxi system that would take people to and from the ferry is a potential option that residents are advocating for.
Marabell Narcado of CB9 said that while the community is in support of the ferry, one of the biggest concerns residents bring up is how to get there.
“If people from outside the neighborhood come in, they don’t know where they [soundview residents] will park, since there is no parking in the area, and that’s how the idea of a free taxi service came up,” said Narcado.
William Rivera, district manager of CB 9, has proposed changes to the BX36 and BX39 bus lines so that they would make a stop at the end of Castle Hill Avenue, where the ferry is set to launch from. Right now, there is no bus stop close to the ferry.
He also said that the board is proposing that developers in the area offer shuttle bus services that would take residents to and from the ferry at peak hours throughout the day, increasing ridership and allowing ease of accessibility for commuters.
Even though he feels a free taxi system to the ferry “isn’t viable,”Rivera stated he would bring it up to the NYC Economic Development Corporation.
A more likely option, he said, would be that all taxi services within the Bronx offered a reduced-rate ride to the ferry.
“This is going to be huge for economic growth… they don’t want to leave the Bronx behind,” said Rivera.
Councilman James Vacca says he supports the Soundview service but won’t stop pushing for a ferry stop in Throggs Neck.
“We have to continue fighting, I’m not giving up on this in any way,” said Vacca, who thinks Throggs Neck residents may struggle to access a ferry they have to drive to, that is so far out of their way.
“When you have ferry service you have to get to the most distant communities,” he continued, “and that’s where the plan is flawed.”