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City will take a closer look at bringing NYC Ferry service to northeast Queens locations

A new bill will require the city to explore alternative forms of energy to power ferries.
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The city Economic Development Corporation will consider a long-advocated expansion into waterways along the transit deserts of northeast Queens, City Councilman Paul Vallone announced Monday.

Vallone said he received a letter from EDC Precinct James Patchett, who indicated that the survey portion of the Ferry Feasibility Study that took place in the fall showed high demand for service to possible terminals at Citi Field Marina and Fort Totten.

“We will certainly consider all the feedback received along the Queens waterfront, including the locations outlined in your letter: Citi Field Marina and Fort Totten,” Patchett said. “We will do our due diligence through this study to determine sites that are most feasible based on ridership demand, ferry navigability, and route planning.”

The EDC received 3,000 responses to surveys. The remainder of the study will examine water depth, population density, existing transit options and travel time comparisons between different modes of available transportation, according to Vallone, who urged constituents to make their voices heard when the ferry survey launched.

“While the city has announced and established ferry service in other areas of the city, transportation deserts like northeast Queens have been overlooked,” Vallone said. “I have advocated for a Willets Point ferry and also supported studying northeast Queens’ shoreline for other feasible locations due to the demand from local communities, economic opportunities and the lack of transportation alternatives. Ferry service in northeast Queens could provide a new, affordable way to travel between waterfront communities in NYC.”

Vallone has advocated for the expansion of ferry service in his district since the city launched the program in 2017 and ferries have proven popular throughout the city as an alternative to subways, buses and trains.

Fare for the NYC Ferry, subsidized by the city government, matches that of the subways and buses at $2.75.

Vallone’s district has only two options for rail transit: the Long Island Rail Road’s Port Washington line and the 7 train, with the former costing commuters a premium of over $7 to reach Woodside or Manhattan. The 7 train has historically been unreliable.

But the city has been looking to Queens to provide ferry service since the beginning of the program, which piloted on a route between Manhattan and the Rockaways.

Since then, NYC Ferry has expanded rapidly all along the East River waterfront between the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

In September, a new line connecting Gantry Plaza with the Lower East Side started moving commuters between the boroughs in just 32 minutes.

Cameron Clark, the senior vice president of NYC Ferry, told TimesLedger at the time that the new route will, to some extent, expand mass transit options for those in close proximity to stops along the No. 7 train and those who will likely be affected by the L train’s partial shutdown in April.

Clark confirmed at the time that consideration for expanding service over to far-flung northeast Queens was could be the next for NYC Ferry now that the six main routes had successfully launched.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

Updated 9:58 am, December 11, 2018
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Reader feedback

Jr from Bayside says:
Great idea! The folks that want this I hope the traffic runs right down your block, then you can wave to the planes screaming overhead as your stuck in gridlock.
Dec. 12, 2018, 11:05 am
Joe C from North Flushing says:
Wonder who's going to get rich off this idea? Can't wait to see the traffic on a daily basis getting into Fort Totten for this.
Dec. 12, 2018, 1:24 pm
The Hunkster from Bed-Stuy says:
This NYC ferry system could be a saving Grace for transit desert neighborhoods that are near the water.
Dec. 16, 2018, 1:15 pm

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