Council Member Keith Powers, pictured at left with Stuyvesant Town General Manager Rick Hayduk on the maiden voyage of the Lower East Side ferry last August (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
Earlier this month, the news that the city’s ferry system was costing taxpayers nearly $11 in subsidies has raised concerns about the value of the service and if the ferries are serving commuters in an equitable way.
The City Council held a hearing on the subject last Wednesday, although an attending representative for the Economic Development Corporation, which operates the ferries along with Hornblower, offered little in the way of information about demographics of ferry riders and just how much they’re using the system.
Later, Council Member Keith Powers, whose East Side district residents utilize two of the new ferry stops along the Lower East Side route (20th and 34th Street) said there are still many questions that need answering. However, for him, it’s not a question of whether the ferries are worth the investment — he believes they are — but how money can be saved in the future and how the system can be tweaked to better serve commuters with the most need.
The current $10.73 per person subsidy, he noted, is in part due to the cost of buying the fleet of ferries upfront as opposed to having rented them, which over the long term, is estimated to save the city $150 million.
‘Stuy Town’ sign will be changed to ‘Stuy Cove,’ landings will offer some protection from weather
A completed ferry landing in Astoria (Photo courtesy of the Economic Development Corporation)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Service on the new Lower East Side ferry route, including at Stuyvesant Cove, is on schedule to begin at the end of the summer, representatives for NYC Ferry reported to Community Board 6’s transportation committee this past Monday, although spokespeople did not have a more specific date.
The ferry, operated by Hornblower Cruises and managed by the Economic Development Corporation, will run starting from Wall Street, making stops at Corlears Hook on the Lower East Side, Stuyvesant Cove and 34th Street before ending at Long Island City, Queens.
Because construction appears nearly finished at the Stuyvesant Cove landing near 20th Street, one Stuyvesant Town resident, Larry Scheyer, questioned why service wouldn’t be starting sooner.
In response, EDC Vice President of government and community relations Radhy Miranda said that even after the landings are built, there are additional protocols before service can actually begin.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said she feels the alternatives presented by the MTA and DOT are not sufficient. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
Just call it another L-ternative.
The operator for NYC Ferry has a mitigation plan for the L train shutdown: buses on boats. Hornblower, the company that runs the ferry service that will soon include a route stopping at Stuyvesant Cove Park, presented the preliminary plan to Community Board 6’s transportation committee, whose members were hesitantly supportive of the idea.
Skye Ostreicher, a representative for Hornblower, said at the meeting that the plan, known as “B-link,” could mitigate up to 50 percent of the ridership needing alternatives in the absence of the L train. The plan would allow riders to get on a bus near the Lorimer Street L station and stay on until different stops in Manhattan, primarily on the usual route of the L train. The buses would be loaded onto barges that Ostreicher said would take the three-minute trip across the river before letting commuters off in Manhattan.
The presentation showed the buses arriving in Manhattan at East 20th Street and Avenue C before heading down Avenue C, west on East 14th Street and turning at Union Square East to do a loop back to the docking point at East 20th Street. The route would operate as a closed loop, backtracking in the opposite direction for service to Brooklyn.
Rendering released by Economic Development Corporation in May 2016 of what new ferry landing will look like
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Winter is coming and so is construction on a ferry landing at Stuyvesant Cove. Construction on the 20th Street stop will likely begin this winter and finish by spring in order to be functional on the new Lower East Side route launching next summer.
Representatives from the Economic Development Corporation, the city agency that controls NYC Ferry, offered the information on the new landing at a City Council hearing for the economic development committee last Thursday.
EDC executive vice president Seth Meyers said that the work needed to be done during the winter because of restrictions that prevent construction from parts of spring into summer.
“There are times of the year, due to what’s called a fish moratorium while fish are breeding, that we can’t do work in the water,” he said.