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Land ho! Officials eye local ferry stop

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Coney Island, Sheepshead Bay and Bay Ridge are being studied for possible stops in a citywide ferry transit study, according to city officials.

The three southern Brooklyn neighborhoods were named for inclusion in a ferry feasibility study last week as the city kicked off a new ferry service from Far Rockaway to the Brooklyn Army Terminal at 58th Street in Sunset Park to Lower Manhattan.

Also being looked at in the borough for ferry service is Red Hook, North and South Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

“Ferries are fast, affordable, and environmentally-friendly. As our waterfront becomes even more dynamic – with new housing and open space in communities like Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and Hunter’s Point – ferries are going to become an even bigger part of our city’s transportation network,” said Mayor Bloomberg.

“That vision of a revitalized waterfront is an important element of PlaNYC, and over the past year we’ve worked closely with Speaker Quinn and the Council to make it a reality.”

According to Community Board 13 District Manager Chuck Reichenthal, the board has long endorsed bringing ferry service to the area and is relieved the idea is again gaining traction.

“It [ferry service] would be enormously helpful. It could be used for mass transit for Coney Island, Brighton Beach and Gravesend residents going to Lower Manhattan, and could also bring people directly to Coney Island without having to move through the subways,” said Reichenthal.

Reichenthal said that Steeplechase Pier off West 12th Street used to have a ferry docking until the section blew away during a nor’easter about 17 years ago.

Additionally, there was a temporary floating pier installed when KeySpan Park opened a few years ago, but that didn’t work out very well, said Reichenthal.

Reichenthal said other possibilities for the ferry service include the former Dreamland and Iron Piers – both once located in the vicinity of West 8th Street.

“I’ve been told by divers the pilings [from those piers] are still there but I’m not sure if they are usable,” said Reichenthal.

“I wished we had it [a launch] for this Rockaway Ferry to land on right now,” he added.

City Councilmember Domenic Recchia, who supported Bloomberg’s failed congestion pricing plan in exchange for a Coney Island ferry service, said the mayor and City Council have told him bringing a ferry stop to the area remains a priority.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) will head a multi-agency task force together with the community’s input to scope out potential sites in Coney Island for the launch, said Recchia.

Recchia said possible launch sites include off West 12th Street, West 8th Street and the Coney Island Creek.

“My vision is to have it [ferry] stop on the 69th Street pier in Bay Ridge and Coney Island as well,” said Recchia.

The two-year pilot Rockaway service is being funded with $1.1 million in City Council funds, and a second phase of the plan will add new stops to North Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

About $4.4 million in federal transportation funds along with $1.1 million in city money will pay for construction of the Williamsburg and Greenpoint landings as well as another at Roosevelt Island in the second phase.

The studies for possible stops in Coney Island and Sheepshead Bay are being funded through $500,000 in City Council money as part of a five-borough new ferry service plan.

The EDC is in the process of issuing a Request for Proposals for a consultant to study the Coney Island ferry service.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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