Orchard Beach ferry service petition gains traction

Orchard Beach ferry service petition gains traction|Orchard Beach ferry service petition gains traction
A petition is being circulated calling for further study of a ferry stop at Orchard Beach. It has hundreds of signatures in a matter of weeks.

A grassroots appeal to the city to get ferry service to remote corners of the borough is starting to get some traction.

A petition being circulated on Change.org and at a local civic association calling for the creation of a ferry to Orchard Beach has already amassed 600 signatures online and physically, according to its sponsor.

The petition, addressed to the mayor and other city officials, cited the northeast Bronx’s lack of transit options in many of its communities, noting that some are neighborhoods are ‘transit deserts.’

John Doyle, a City-Island activist, is sponsoring the petition, which launched online on Thursday, November 1.

The City Island Civic Association’s membership voted in favor of a ferry to Orchard Beach because it has a 5,800 space parking lot, said Doyle.

“Given that there is (already) one ferry that is servicing the Bronx and it is on time, getting popular and looking to expand service, (an Orchard Beach ferry) would be a good one to look at,” said Barbara Dolensek, CICA vice-president.

Dolensek said she believes support among the membership for the resolution at the Tuesday, October 30 meeting may have been as much about not wanting a ferry to come directly to the island due to parking and traffic conditions, as it was about support for the ferry service to the beach where City Islanders could drive for ‘a park and ride’ commute.

Doyle said he believes the petition, which was launched online on Thursday November 1, is a forward-looking proposal given that the NYC Economic Development Corporation is believed to be looking into expanding the citywide ferry service, and that the Soundview ferry, launched in August as the borough’s first ferry service, has so far proven itself a success.

He said that with a city and state funded restoration planned for the Orchard Beach Pavilion main building, and the idea of making Orchard Beach a year-round destination, a ferry at the location makes sense.

“We already have millions of city and state reinvestment dollars to modernize Orchard Beach,” said Doyle. “Why don’t we capitalize on this and help people who go to the beach as well as those who live nearby?”

Doyle said he believes that the parking lot is a huge asset, and currently underutilized six months out of the year.

He believes that a ferry there could service Co-op City, City Island, Pelham Parkway, Pelham Bay, Country Club and Spencer Estate, as the park is surrounded by these communities.

Doyle also said that a 2013 Citywide Ferry Study looked at possibly making Orchard Beach the borough’s first ferry destination. ‘

The Change.org petition can be found at: www.change.org/p/northeast-bronx-needs-ferry-service-with-parking

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com.
A new petition asserts that Orchard Beach’s thousands of parking spots could be an asset for commuters who want to drive to a ferry stop.

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