Ferry service is definitely coming to the borough, but one local elected official feels his communities were left out.
In an announcement made in Mayor de Blasio’s State of the City address last week, new ferry service is slated to begin in 2018 with the Bronx link to Manhattan located in Soundview.
The move was applauded by local elected officials in Soundview, but left community leaders further to the east, and Councilman James Vacca wanting more.
Vacca and Community Board 10 want to see ferries make use of the waterfront in Throggs Neck, Co-op City, and City Island for a quick trip into the heart of the city as well.
Ferry service praised in Soundview
Transit advocates for water ferries in the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance were joined in their praise of the de Blasio plan by Assemblyman Marcos Crespo and Councilwoman Annabel Palma, who both spoke highly of the Soundview plan. It should cost the same price as a ride on a Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus or subway train.
Palma commended the mayor, and said that commuting into Manhattan from her district is currently a hardship.
“I was born and raised in my district, and know first-hand the limited, costly and challenging public transportation options many commuters encounter when traveling to Manhattan,” she said. “Ferry service is a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly transit alternative, which could vastly improve the daily commutes of my constituents.”
A quick ferry service into and out of Manhattan, along with the planned expansion of four new Metro North stations in the east Bronx, should help local residents better connect with downtown New York City, increase employment opportunities and property values, and improve local quality of life, said the assemblyman.
“Soundview is a blossoming community that needs improved transportation,” he said. “Soundview residents are currently living in a transit desert; our transit must keep pace with our reality.”
Still waiting further east
The plan which is to include about $55 million in city capital funds for infrastructure, received a hearty welcome by Vacca too. But the councilman said he was disheartened by the fact that his district was not included in the proposal.He will continue to fight for additional ferry service.
“While this is a great first step in reducing commute times for Bronxites, I could not help but notice that my district was conspicuously absent from this proposal,” said Vacca. “This was disheartening to me, as I have been advocating relentlessly for ferry service in Ferry Point and Throggs Neck for years. ”
CB 10 has consistently advocated for ferry service to communities in its district since for the past four years, said district manager Kenneth Kearns.
Kearns said that he and CB 10 vice-chairman John Marano attended several meetings on the expansion of ferry service.
Many sites were studied in both the east and west Bronx as part a recent New York City Economic Development Corporation ferry study. Kearns said that bringing ferry service to Co-op City alone would help 30,000 commuters there.
“We had attended every meeting on this matter, and made our opinions clear,” said Kearns of the public ferry hearings around the city, adding that the board recently learned that the Soundview site, which he understands to be located at the end of Castle Hill Avenue, was chosen for its deepwater port abilities. The waters are shallower further east, in the CB 10 service area, Kearns said he was told by authorities.
Kearns believes that a solution would be to have smaller water taxis ferry people from CB 10 to the new dock, which will be located in Community Board 9.
“We immediately advocated for feeder service with small water taxis to come with ferry service from Co-op City, Throggs Neck and City Island,” said Kearns.
A spokewoman for Palma’s office said that the location for the ferry slip has been identified as Clason Point Park.