Ferry service to Soundview should be a reality this year, and some are calling for even more service in transit-starved east Bronx waterfront communities.
The route of service that includes Soundview’s ferry stop, is scheduled to begin service later this year from Clason Point Park, and the ferry dock is now under construction, according to NYC Economic Development Corporation.
As that plan inches closer to becoming a reality, the borough president used his 2018 State of the Borough speech on Thursday, February 22 to advocate for additional ferry landings.
“Ferry service is coming to Soundview, and should come to Throggs Neck and City Island as well,” said Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.
Diaz’s spokesman let the quote stand without further elaboration, but in the two east Bronx communities, leaders who have long advocated for ferry service made their case for additional stops.
Robert Barbarelli, Throggs Neck Home Owners Association board member, said he believes that ferry service could come to Throggs Neck, adding that S.U.N.Y. Maritime already docks a large training vessel in Throggs Neck.
“The waterways are not used enough which I think is a reason why there are always traffic issues on our roads,” said Barbarelli. “Utilizing waterways is a faster and more scenic route to get downtown.”
Dotti Poggi, Ferry Point Community Advocates leader, said that Ferry Point Park has a parking lot that could be used for ferry customers.
“Ferry Point is a perfect place because it has already has the infrastructure,” she said.
John Doyle, City Island Civic Association officer said he believes that one appropriate location for a ferry stop could be Orchard Beach, because it already has an large parking lot that is underutilized for nine months out of the year.
“Just having this mentioned in one of these speeches is helpful as this point,” said Doyle. “I am really hoping that when the Soundview ferry comes into service that it is super successful, because then we can build on that success.”
William Rivera, Community Board 9 district manager, said that the final details for the Soundview ferry are being worked out, including expanding service on the Bx 27 and Bx 39 buses by one stop during hours of operation so that commuters don’t have to walk far from the bus to ferry.
He is also involved in the planning of a community meeting in Clason Point that will take place prior to ferry operations starting.
Also being worked on are issues related to security, safety, lighting, parking, bathrooms and amenities at the Soundview ferry.
“Everyone supports the ferry, we just make sure it is done right,” said Rivera.
An EDC spokeswoman said stops along the ferry route servicing Soundview have changed in Manhattan, with an East 62nd Street stop dropped and an East 34th Street stop added.
The spokeswoman said that EDC “will begin to analyze ridership potential and landing capabilities for future expansion to other communities once we successfully implement 2018 routes this summer.”