Archive for the tag 'ferry service'

Photo by Allan Rosen

Photo by Allan Rosen

THE COMMUTE: Last week, in Part 1, we started to discuss the Brooklyn Army Terminal as a major transportation hub and I got sidetracked into a discussion about involving the private sector, through the use of vans, to providing legal transit services between major transportation hubs.

I asked why we can’t have legal van operations here, where riders with similar origins and destinations can share rides, since there is not enough demand for regular bus service. Years ago, I was amazed to see all sorts of shared van services at LaGuardia Airport to cities across Connecticut at very reasonable fares. None, however, were available to destinations within the city limit. I attributed this to the influence of the city’s tax industry, which does not want competition.

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The Eltingville Transit Center in Staten Island. Photo by Allan Rosen

The Eltingville Transit Center in Staten Island. Photo by Allan Rosen

THE COMMUTELast week, we discussed the Rockaway Ferry to lower Manhattan, which now also stops at the Brooklyn Army Terminal due to the closure of the Montague Street Tunnel. This week, we discuss the possibility of the Brooklyn Army Terminal becoming a major transit hub. It could be the terminus for the Triboro RX rapid transit line proposed by the Regional Plan Association more than 40 years ago, which has recently been resuscitated and hailed by Channel 2 News as a “new” proposal. We have mentioned this plan several times before and how it needs to be included in the MTA’s long range plans.

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Photo by Erica Sherman

Photo by Erica Sherman

THE COMMUTE: If you ride the subways daily to lower Manhattan, you already know about the closure of the Montague Street tunnel, since the beginning of August. You also likely know that it will remain closed until October 2014 when repairs as a result of Hurricane Sandy damage will be completed, something we first reported last June.

As a result of this closure, there is no through R service from Brooklyn to Manhattan. The R is split into two services. On weekdays, the Brooklyn R terminates at Court Street-Borough Hall and the Manhattan and Queens R terminate at Whitehall Street-South Ferry. On weekends, the R is rerouted over the Manhattan Bridge, leaving Jay Street-MetroTech and Court Street-Borough Hall without service. Those needing the closed stations in Brooklyn or in lower Manhattan can transfer at Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center for one of the numbered lines. Your other choice is to stay on the Q to Canal Street and take the R back to one of the stations in Lower Manhattan. None of this is clearly explained on the MTA website, which just shows alternate stations available in the vicinity of the closed stations but does not give clear directions how to access these stations.

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Photo courtesy of John Landers

The dock entrance in Sheepshead Bay (Photo courtesy of John Landers)

If television has taught me anything, it is that one should be wary of any “three hour tours” unless you don’t mind getting stranded on an island with a scientist, a goofy first mate and an angry skipper. Luckily, the tours once advertised by Rockaway Boat Lines only offered tours ranging from one to two and a half hours, saving people the fate of trying to figure out how to wire a radio out of a coconut. The pictures were provided by Sheepshead Bites read John Landers, who had previously sent us a picture of the Columbia, which sailed from Sheepshead Bay to Breezy Point and the Rockaways.

Landers has provided us with more vintage pictures including a shot of the dock entrance at Sheepshead Bay and other ferries docked at the Sheepshead Bay Marina. Thanks for the great pictures John!

Photo courtesy of John Landers

Photo courtesy of John Landers

Photo courtesy of John Landers

Photo courtesy of John Landers

Photo by Erica Sherman

Photo by Erica Sherman

Capital New York is reporting that Anthony Weiner has proposed a slew of ferry service ideas in an attempt to steal the issue from rival Christine Quinn.

In a recent press conference, Weiner put forward a series of plans for expanding ferry service should he become mayor, starting with making the expanded Rockaway line a permanent reality. Past that, he proposed ideas that would bring ferry service to the Bronx and Sheepshead Bay.

“I’m proposing activating a line from Riverdale in the Bronx that would come down to either Lower Manhattan or a pier on the west side; a southern Brooklyn line that would service Sheepshead Bay, which would get traffic off of the Belt Parkway; reactivating service that has run intermittently to LaGuardia Airport and would also operate on busy days at Citi Field. … A line going to Kennedy Airport that could be used for cargo as well as taking passengers off of the Van Wyck Expressway and the Belt Parkway; and an East Side shuttle that would shuttle passengers up and down the East Side with greater frequency until the Second Avenue subway comes online,” Weiner said.

Weiner’s bold ferry ideas were met with skepticism from Quinn’s camp, who according to Capital New York, believes that Weiner is riding on Quinn’s coattails on the issue:

Christine Quinn has, until now, owned the ferry issue. She’s been a big booster of East River ferry service, and in April, she proposed bringing ferry service to Atlantic Avenue, Red Hook, Astoria, Roosevelt Island, 91st Street and Ferry Point Park.

“Unlike ex-Congressman Weiner, Christine Quinn didn’t just talk about ferry services, she actually delivered ferry services on the East River, from Queens to Brooklyn and Brooklyn to Manhattan, which surpassed its ridership goal for a year in 6 months and in 18 months of operation served 1.6 million riders,” said her campaign spokesman Mike Morey, in an email.

Despite Weiner and Quinn’s dreams of connecting the boroughs with a fleet of ferries, studies made by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) have pointed out that expanding the service would not be economically viable. As we’ve previously reported, the EDC noted many problems with bringing a ferry to Sheepshead Bay, including issues with parking, inclement weather and high costs.

Weiner has subsequently argued that federal dollars could be used to subsidize the prohibitive cost of ferries and that overall, adding extra mass transit options will save the city in the long run.

“We are gonna have to subsidize ferries, but remember, it is not a cost, it is also a savings that we have: the wear and tear on our city, the efficiencies that we gain by having traffic move more quickly and also the availability of federal funds in the form of the national gas tax, one of the few taxes that we actually take more in than we pay out,” Weiner said.

The Staten Island Ferry. Photo by Erica Sherman

The Staten Island Ferry. Photo by Erica Sherman

THE COMMUTE: This past week, transit news focused on what seemed like a series of unrelated events — most notably the resumption of Rockaway “A” Train service.

“A” Train Service Returns

“A” train service, between Howard Beach and the Rockaways, which was suspended seven months ago due to Superstorm Sandy, finally resumed on May 30. Due to the destruction of the trestle near Broad Channel, the suspension forced residents to resort to unreliable and overcrowded bus service. Months ago, a fleet of R-32 cars were trucked to Rockaway to at least provide subway shuttle service within Rockaway but it was in no way adequate to meet residents’ needs. If you think transit service is poor in Sheepshead Bay, you should be aware of the two-hour plus commutes and hour waits for buses, which Rockaway residents were forced to endure, with the trestle out of service.

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Source: Golden's office

The following is a press release from the offices of State Senator Marty Golden:

Brooklyn – State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn) has issued the following statement following the State of the Borough Address delivered by Brooklyn Borough President Markowitz last evening:

“As a long time advocate for waterborne transportation, I commend Borough President Marty Markowitz for announcing that among his priorities is that which seeks to bringing ferry service to Brooklyn. I am especially looking forward to working with him and the City to get the boats in the water from Manhattan to the 69th Street Pier and Sheepshead Bay.

I join my fellow Brooklyn residents in calling for ferry service for Kings County. As motorists are faced with an increase in gas prices and tolls, as well as traffic congestion, taking the waterways instead of the highways, will be more cost efficient and convenient. Brooklynites deserve the chance to have ferry service and I will continue to make the case for that in upcoming discussions.”

Senator Marty Golden, in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, worked with City officials and Community Board 10 to institute ferry service at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. The ferry service operated with periods of interruption from that time until July, 2010.

Sheepshead Bites wrote about Markowitz’s plans, the ferry proposal and some of the drawbacks in a post published yesterday.

Source: Markowitz's office

Using tonight’s State of the Borough address, Borough President Marty Markowitz is expected to revive plans to establish ferry commuter service between Manhattan and Southern Brooklyn neighborhoods including Sheepshead Bay. Markowitz’s push comes less than a year after a city study determined Southern Brooklyn unworthy of such a costly service.

Markowitz will take to the podium at Brooklyn College tonight for the 2012 State of the Borough address. The address begins at 6:45 p.m. and can be viewed live here.

According to a Daily News report, Markowitz plans to “push for the expansion of city ferry service to connect Manhattan to Coney Island, Sheepshead Bay, the Canarsie Pier and the 69th Street Pier in Bay Ridge.”

If that proposal sounds familiar, it’s because it is.

Way back in 2009, the New York City Economic Development Corporation unveiled the Comprehensive Citywide Ferry Study, which identified possible landing locations for an expansion of commuter ferry services around the city and weighed the costs and benefits.

When the EDC rolled into the Sheepshead Bay – Manhattan Beach area for a public hearing on the plan, they got an earful.

“It’s romantic. It’s beautiful. It’s wonderful. But practically speaking, it’s not practical,” Bay Improvement Group President Steve Barrison said at the hearing.

Critics of the plan blasted it as an impractical way to make the commute. At an estimated 45 minutes for the trip to Manhattan, it would cost approximately $6.00 per rider, offering little incentive for those paying $2.25 for a trip of the same duration on the subway. They also worried about the effects of parking in the area, and noted that any ferry service in the area would require the Bay to be dredged.

Keep reading, and find out what the EDC concluded.

Staten Island Ferry - stealing our money with every rider // Source: Daniel Schwen via Wikimedia Commons

Yeah, I said it: screw Staten Island. I never liked it, and I wish we could just gift it to New Jersey. And when we gift it, we better get a tax break for all the wonderful things bestowed upon it for being a member of the City of New York.

Among all those wonderful things, there’s one that really irks me: the ferry. The free ferry.

Let’s back up a second. I was talking to BrooklynQ last week, discussing the MTA fare hikes and joking about seeing it go back down once the economy kicks in again. You know we were joking, because we’re all aware that once the city starts charging for something, prices only ever go up – never down.

That is a rule; one we all know too well. But every rule has its exception, and ’round here that exception is the Staten Island ferry. I’ll say it again: the free Staten Island ferry, operated by the Department of Transportation.

Keep reading my rant about the free Staten Island ferry, how it came to be free, and why we should start charging these mooches.

With the city trying to breathe new life into Coney Island, they’re also looking to revive a dead idea: ferry service.

Following last week’s announcement that the city purchased 6.9 acres of amusement district real estate from Thor Equities developer Joe Sitt for $95.6 million, they have started a consultant search to reevaluate Coney Island’s potential for ferry service to Manhattan and northern Brooklyn. If the site is deemed worthy, it stands to receive $3.2 million in federal transportation funding. Continue Reading »

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