The city is swapping stops on its planned NYC Ferry route for the Bronx to increase rider connectivity and avoid safety hazards along the East River, amNewYork has learned.
The Soundview route will be altered to include a stop at 34th Street and to remove the planned stop at 62nd Street, the city’s Economic Development Corporation is set to announce on Tuesday. The switch comes after hearing feedback from elected officials and harbor regulators, according to EDC spokeswoman Stephanie Baez, and before the route’s launch in the summer of 2018.
“Although we are removing that as a stop on the Soundview route for safety reasons, we are adding an additional ferry stop at 34th street, which provides easy access for commuters to midtown,” Baez said in a statement.
The EDC, which oversees NYC Ferry service, had originally planned to run the Soundview route from Clason Point with stops at East 90th Street, 62nd Street and Wall Street/Pier 11.
But the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard have raised concerns with the EDC that the narrow channel between Manhattan Island and Roosevelt Island at 62nd Street poses several challenges: barge traffic is high; ferries would need to make K-turn maneuvers in and out of docks and a physical landing at the location, if built, could present a collision risk, according to the EDC, which has agreed with the assessments.
“As part of our ongoing commitment to provide affordable transit options to New Yorkers within the city’s waterfronts, our primary goal is to ensure ultimate safety of our riders,” Baez continued in a statement. “Based on guidance from harbor regulators, it is clear that the safety concerns greatly outweigh the benefits of placing a ferry landing at East 62nd Street.”
The announcement comes after Manhattan Councilman Daniel Garodnick, who represents a district covering a large swath of Midtown East, penned a letter to the agency asking it to add a 34th Street stop to the route. Garodnick believes the stop would boost options for riders looking to access jobs in Midtown, where NYC Ferry offers a free shuttle bus, and increase transfer opportunities to other ferry routes.
By adding the stop, Garodnick estimated that Bronx commuters could save 23 minutes in commuting to Astoria or Long Island City in Queens and 22 minutes to Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
“A 34th Street connection on this route is a no brainer — and will serve to the benefit of riders from the Bronx on down,” Garodnick said in a statement. “This additional connection to Midtown’s transit hubs and job centers is a big win for the commuting public in New York.”