What You Need to Know About the Forthcoming Grand Street Ferry Landing

Posted on: June 10th, 2015 at 5:00 am by

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Photo: East River Ferry

In the wake of the mayor’s announcement of the East River ferry expansion this past February, the EDC finally visited the Transportation subcommittee of Community Board 3 last night to unveil a more detailed plan for the $55 million project. And, yes, the proverbial elephant in the room was addressed.

Despite the vociferous efforts of riverside residents, the Economic Development Corporation is installing the ferry landing in the vicinity of Grand Street. That’s non-negotiable. But the community clamor didn’t go unheeded.

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Here are some of quick hits from the meeting:

  • The expanded citywide ferry system will require the construction of 10 new landings, and upgrade of 3 already in operation; there are a total of 21. Each is to be composed of floating barges (assembled offsite and floated out) attached to twin gangways that accommodate two vessels at a time.
  • 550K people live near the proposed landings, and the routes are expected to serve 4.6 million trips per year.
  • Rockaway, Astoria, and South Brooklyn lines will go live in 2017; Lower East Side and Soundview in 2018.
  • Cost per ride is pegged to the subway fare ($2.75) but not under the MTA umbrella. Metrocard won’t be accepted due to the eventual phase-out, but the future payment method will apply.
  • Grand Street was not the ideal location, after all. EDC reportedly recognized this upon hearing the various neighborhood concerns. In response, the docking point shifted southward to Jackson and Cherry Streets.
  • Conspiracy theories posited that Grand Street was initially chosen due to alleged allegiances to disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. That wasn’t even broached. Reason given for the chosen landing location was safety. Since the barges would float off the bulkheads, EDC wanted to ensure that existing Federal shipping lanes and vessel traffic weren’t blocked.
  • Piers 35 and 42 were floated (pun intended) by neighbors as alternatives, but shot down by the city agency. The fear was that the barges at these docks would jut too far into the shipping lane and create a hazard.
  • There was concern over the insufficiency of the local bus routes to handle the ferry load, as the closest subway station (East Broadway F) is quite a distance from the landing. EDC is working with DOT and MTA on possible solutions.
  • The boat itself will carry amenities, but no kiosk on the barge itself or upland.

Proposed Routes for NYC Ferry Service

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