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Plan to test Rockaway ferry slated for summer

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The idea for Rockaways ferry service was born following a Council Transportation Committee hearing last year in Broad Channel, Quinn said, where the speaker, City Councilman Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) and Council Transportation Committee Chairman John Liu (D-Flushing) heard the community's gripes about their two-hour commutes to Manhattan."It's only natural to look at our natural highways - our waterways - to move New Yorkers efficiently and sustainably," Quinn said in her address.Quinn said Mayor Michael Bloomberg committed funding for the pilot program and that the service "should be up and running by this summer."The speaker envisioned other areas of Queens possibly getting ferry service, such as a route between Astoria and downtown Manhattan or a line from Brooklyn to Queens, she said in her address.A spokesman for Quinn said the speaker would have more details on the Rockaway pilot program by next month.When the program was initially announced in May, Addabbo said the ferry would run Monday through Friday during peak rush hours. It was unclear whether that schedule has since been changed.Under the city Economic Development Corporations request for bidders on the pilot program, those interested in providing ferry service would need to develop a plan that connects a point in the Rockaways to one in Lower Manhattan. The plans may include other stops on the peninsula or the Brooklyn waterfront. Proposals must include at least two daily departures from the Rockaways to Lower Manhattan during the morning commute and two departures from the city during the evening rush hour.The borough's water taxi service, which ran from Long Island City to 34th Street in Manhattan, was shut down in January because of a lack of funding. The service, operated by the independent New York City Water Taxi, is scheduled to start up again in May. The water taxi also has routes connecting lower Manhattan to Williamsburg and DUMBO in Brooklyn.Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

Updated 6:58 pm, October 10, 2011
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