Advocates are pushing for ferry service to a second transit-starved east Bronx community.
Ferry service is on the cusp of coming to Soundview this summer, with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announcing recently that Bx 27 bus service is being expanded to service the Soundview Ferry.
When the ferry opens in Clason Point Park, it will be the first in the borough in recent times, and it already has transit advocates requesting that the line be expanded eastward to Ferry Point Park in Throggs Neck.
After a request for another stop on the same line servicing Soundview was left out of the final FY 2019 city budget, Councilman Mark Gjonaj banded together with colleagues to sponsor legislation that would bring additional ferry stops linking Ferry Point Park to Midtown and the Financial District in Manhattan.
Gjonaj was joined by Assemblyman Michael Benedetto the day after the proposed legislation was introduced in the City Council at a press conference on Friday, June 29.
The councilman, surrounded by a group supporting the idea, called on the administration to give commuters a faster link to and from Manhattan.
“Just last month, the city announced that it would spend an additional $300 million to increase ferry capacity, fix existing piers and docks, and a second maintenance port,” said Gjonaj. “But somehow, they couldn’t find the resources to bring ferry service to these underserved communities. This is unacceptable.”
Bringing a ferry to the park would be a common sense approach to solving transportation issues and could turn a two-fare zone into a one-fare zone into Manhattan, said Benedetto.
“It is a no-brainer and I cannot comprehend why the city did not put in their proposal extending the service from Soundview, into Ferry Point Park,” said Benedetto.
The assemblyman added: “If you put it in Ferry Point Park, where there’s access to a highway and a parking lot, people would come from all over and hop on the ferry to Manhattan.”
The plan would keep traffic off overcrowded roads and subways, and make for a faster and enjoyable trip to Manhattan, said Benedetto, adding it could spur economic development in the area. The assemblyman said that the city has a world-class public golf course at Ferry Point that could be serviced by the ferry.
Benedetto also said that he could envision a scenario in which the park itself was made a destination around the ferry stop, with various attractions.
The councilman believes that the necessary infrastructure for a ferry could be put into place, he said.
Local ferry advocate Dotti Poggi said that a ferry historically serviced the park location, and a recently completed comfort station on the park’s west side would be a plus for the proposal.
She also said the Q 44 bus, which runs to West Farms, and the Q 50 coming from Co-op City both stop near he park and their routes could be easily reconfigured to service the ferry stop.
Councilman Ritchie Torres, who grew up in Throggs Neck, is one of the bill’s co-sponsers.
“I’m absolutely in support of the Bronx getting its fair share of more transportation options, including ferry service,” said Torres.
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