Queens could be the big winner from an expansion of the East River Ferry service if the city can find a spare $80 million to expand existing infrastructure and a private ferry company willing to pony up $10 million a year to run it.
The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) released its preliminary 2013 Citywide Ferry Study earlier this week, in which it considered 58 potential new ferry stops, including some based on community recommendations, for the East River.
In the end, the NYCEDC recommended 11 possible spots. The areas in Queens include Astoria Cove, Long Island City North, and Beach 108th and 116th Street in the Rockaways, according to the report. Ferry service was also recommended looked into for LaGuardia Airport.
“In the span of only a few years, ferry service has become an integral part of the City’s transportation infrastructure, serving millions of passengers and providing momentum for continued development along the City’s waterfront,” said NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball.
According to the report, these new routes would require “considerable capital and operating subsidies” and an expanded new network featuring the East River Ferry and the additional routes would require “an annual subsidy for weekday service of close to $10 million.”
The potential new stops would also require additional capital investment to construct docking stations which feature shelters, ticketing machines, benches, bike racks, and two-slip or single-slip barges.
Following the recent study, the possible ferry service expansion proposal will now be reviewed by local elected officials, leaders, private ferry companies and the community at large in order to discuss the specific new routes and how to fund them.
Currently the only East River Ferry stop in Queens is by Hunter’s Point South Park in Long Island City between 54th Avenue and 2nd Street.