The Future ‘5 Borough Ferry’ Stop on the LES Should be Relocated from Grand Street, Locals Argue

Posted on: April 2nd, 2015 at 9:22 am by

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Pier 35 is a good option for Ferry dock

Mayor de Blasio made waves a couple months ago after unveiling the $55 million drive to expand ferry service to the Five Boroughs. Run and funded by the city, this tranportation alternative would “knit together existing East River routes with new landings and services across New York City.” The portion servicing the Lower East Side is expected to go online in 2018, and cost the same as a subway ride.

And now the search for the ferry operator is underway. The EDC put out the official “request for proposal” last Friday.

That’s great and all, but where was the public involvement to determine community needs? Backlash abounds thanks to zero outreach from the administration to the neighborhood at large. Nor did Community Board 3 have an opportunity to weigh in on the matter.

Opposition notwithstanding, the other issue goes deeper. The location of ferry terminals. While generally in favor of the overall plan, opponents are quick to assert that Grand Street is not the best option for ferry commuters, as the drop-off is way out on the bulge of Manhattan (by the LES Ecology Center); connections to public transit are limited. The likely scenario after docking is boarding a bus to a subway.

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Proposed Grand St. ferry stop

The stop at Grand Street seems only to serve a fraction of the community. “If you take a look at the map and see where it’s proposed, it really only appears to serve one housing complex,” a waterfront resident tells us.

There are three more convenient ferry options that could be considered along the Lower East Side waterfront. After all, if the intent was to serve the Essex Crossing development or the Extell monolith rising on South Street, Grand Street couldn’t be further away.

Pier 35
This seems like the most logical bet given its proximity to the F train. A long-delayed EcoPark is currently under construction here, so a ferry dock would fit right in. Plus, it’ll alleviate the mass of humanity that will soon arrive with Extell and Essex Crossing (estimated at 3,000 people).

Pier 36
Basketball City operates here, and the pier itself is already functioning. Why not just add ferry docking capability?

Pier 42
This particular waterfront parcel has been in the news quite a bit, as the city is re-developing into parkland. Even though that’s still years away. Nevertheless, a dock here could bring more people to the park and also serve the multitude of housing at its northern flank.

Proposed Routes for NYC Ferry Service

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