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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2016
The Rockaway Times
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Ferries, QuestionsAndAnswers
ByDanGuarino
Ahoy!The Rockaway Ferry is on
the horizon and getting closer.
According to the NYC Eco-
nomic Development Corpora-
tion, “Beginning in 2017, City-
wide Ferry Service will provide a
new, affordable way to travel be-
tween waterfront communities
throughout NewYork City.”
The City is investing $55 mil-
lion in infrastructure upgrades,
and $30million in operating sup-
port over the next six years. The
first phase launches in 2017 with
routes toAstoria, SouthBrooklyn,
and Rockaway. The Rockaway
ferry will run from Wall Street/
Pier 11 to Brooklyn Army Ter-
minal to Beach 108th Street and
back every day.
But before it pulls into port
here, some people have ques-
tions. One of them is ferry advo-
cate Laura Deckelman. Recently
she put those queries directly to
the EDC. Here’s what she had to
ask and they had to say.
“Doyouhavea schedule for the
preparation of the Beach 108th
Street Ferry landing,” she asked,
“in terms of cleanup, walkways,
etc. in preparation for the instal-
lation of the floating ferry dock
structure?
EDC answered, “Ferry landing
work at the … site is expected to
commence by winter 2016/2017.
EDC will coordinate with addi-
tional Department of Parks and
Recreation and Department of
Traffic projects in the area.”
They also noted that construc-
tion of needed floating ferry
docks is under way at Staten Is-
land’sMays Shipyard and expect-
ed tobe installed “as early aswin-
ter 2016/2017.
“The vessels (themselves) are
being constructed by multiple
shipyards in the Gulf region to
ensure they are delivered on time
for the launchof each route. Con-
struction is proceeding on sched-
ule,” EDC added. What about the
shuttle buses to and from the fer-
ry? “Has any consideration been
given to the requests …to expand
the planned shuttle bus service
so as to include greater parts of
Rockaway than the original plan
calls for,” Deckelman asked? And
would this include “a second
shuttle bus on both the east and
west ends to better cover those
areas?”
EDC said, “We are working on
finalizing the routes based on
much of the feedback received
from elected officials and the
community.Wehope toshare the
finalized route information with
the community by late summer/
early fall 2016.”
What about scheduling morn-
ing ferries earlier for the weekday
commute?
“At this time, earlier ferry ser-
vice is not contemplated. How-
ever, once service launches, we
will be monitoring ridership de-
mands on the new ferry routes.”
Deckelmanalsoasked if the com-
pany contracted to run provide
citywide ferry service, Hornblow-
er Cruises, is ready to meet with
the Rockaway community.
“Hornblower and EDC will be
conducting outreach by borough
with the following stakehold-
ers: elected officials, community
boards, and civic groups. Each
stakeholder group will be con-
tacted and briefed in the afore-
mentioned order.”
As it is, EDC says they are plan-
ning launching Rockaway service
“by summer 2017.” Just to clari-
fy, Deckelman asked EDC about
that. “You said that the service
would commence "by summer
2017." We were/are counting on
ferry service in Rockaway start-
ing (by) June 2017. So we hope
that ‘by summer 2017’ you don't
mean anytime between June 21
and September 21.”
“We understand that it is im-
portant to restore ferry service in
the Rockaways as quickly as pos-
sible. The Mayor has committed
to having three new ferry routes-
Rockaway, South Brooklyn, and
Astoria-plus theexistingEastRiver
Ferry route, launched by summer
2017. We are on track to ensuring
the launch of all (three) new ferry
routes by summer 2017. As we get
closer to launch we will be sure to
providedetailsonthespecificstart
date for theRockaway.”
And that, so far, is the latest
news fromall the ships at sea.