EXPRESS TO THE BEACH

The first NYC Ferry ar­rives at New York Har­bor.

Metro USA (New York) - - Front Page - AMANDA MIKELBERG @MetroNewYork [email protected]

Ciao, A train.

The first of the 20 new city-owned fer­ries to cruise lo­cal wa­ters will be the Rock­away Ferry on May 1, con­nect­ing Wall Street to Rock­away, Queens, and Sun­set Park, Brook­lyn.

The launch of the city’s $85 mil­lion ferry pro­gram is just in time for sunshine sea­son and the in­flux of summer traf­fic to Rock­away Beach.

“Spring and summer is a good time to be launch­ing ferry ser­vice be­cause more people are open to try­ing it. When the weather is nice, stand­ing on the deck in the sunshine is a big at­trac­tion,” said An­thony Ho­grebe, se­nior vice pres­i­dent at the New York City Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion. The agency helped de­velop and im­ple­ment the plan for the NYC Ferry pro­gram, which will be op­er­ated by Horn­blower Cruises.

“It will be an eco­nomic driver for busi­nesses in the area,” Ho­grebe re­marked about the Rock­away Ferry, which will be lo­cated at Beach 108th Street and Beach Chan­nel Drive.

But the pri­mary con­cern, he made clear, is for com­muters to have more ac­cess to the city.

The pri­or­i­ties for routes and launch dates were de­ter­mined by stud­ies about com­mu­nity need for more trans­porta­tion op­tions as well as the lo­ca­tion’s readi­ness to have a ferry land­ing.

“We’re try­ing to solve for his­toric tran­sit deserts, and make sure we put land­ings in walk­ing dis­tance of the most people who need them,” for in­stance near pub­lic hous­ing, Ho­grebe said.

Rock­away was an ideal place to start, not just be­cause it will be great for beach busi­ness, but be­cause it al­ready had an emer­gency ferry land­ing used for 500 days af­ter Su­per­storm Sandy dis­abled their A train ser­vice.

“It was ex­tremely popular, with an av­er­age daily rid­er­ship of 600 people. People in Rock­away are very ex­cited about the new ferry,” he said.

Later this summer, the South Brook­lyn line, with stops in Bay Ridge, Red Hook, Brook­lyn Bridge Park, Dumbo and Wall Street — will start on June 1. The As­to­ria route, which will make stops at East 34th Street, Long Is­land City, Roo­sevelt Is­land and Wall Street will launch in Au­gust.

For the other lines, Ho­grebe said he ex­pects rid- er­ship to steadily in­crease through­out the year as people get used to an en­tirely new form of travel.

The city ex­pects that by 2019 the NYC Ferry’s to­tal an­nual rid­er­ship will be 4.6 mil­lion.

Com­pared to the sub­ways’ 300 mil­lion rid­ers a year, the fer­ries will barely make a scratch on the over­bur­dened tran­sit sys­tem, CUNY civil engi­neer­ing and ur­ban sys­tems pro­fes­sor Robert Paaswell told Metro.

“It will not al­le­vi­ate the over­crowd­ing or solve the L train issue,” Paaswell said. “Here’s why: if the ac­cess to new ar­eas the ferry pro­vides is as good as an­tic­i­pated, real es­tate devel­op­ers will smell the po­ten­tial be­fore the rid­ers. It will cre­ate mod­ern­iza­tion around the edges of Brook­lyn, and new people will flock to those ar­eas, us­ing the fer­ries.”

NYCMAYORSOFFICE/FLICKR

NYCMAYORSOFFICE/FLICKR

The first NYC Ferry ar­rives in New York Har­bor on April 17, 2017.

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