City Island locals clamor for ferry as congestion pricing nears

City Island residents hope the Big Apple’s controversial $15 toll will allow a new transportation option to navigate the Bronx panhandle.

A growing group of islanders in the charming waterfront community known for its seafood are calling for a ferry stop as a cheaper — and faster — way to reach other parts of the city, as the toll is expected to begin in June.

Supporters of ferry service on this 1.5-mile harbor say traveling by passenger boat would not only be an easier way to get around during the work week, but it would also attract visitors from the other four boroughs.

City Island residents are calling on the NYC Ferry to add a stop in its area. Christophe Sadowski

A 2019 feasibility study explored adding ferry service to City Island or nearby Orchard Beach, but there has been no movement toward that possibility since.

“I certainly think the next congestion pricing should result in a reconsideration of this proposal,” John Doyle, a longtime resident, told the Post on Tuesday.

Citing census data, Doyle noted that about 10 percent of the 4,500 islanders who live on City Island regularly commute to Manhattan, while another 8 percent commute to Brooklyn by car or public transportation.

The MTA’s congestion pricing is set to begin in June, and drivers traveling south of 60th Street in Manhattan will be assessed a $15 fee once a day.

While the program is supposed to reduce traffic and inject billions into the struggling transit agency, one of the main complaints has been that working-class residents of the outer boroughs have no options to viable public transport and will have to pay more. money if they go to Manhattan.

NYC Ferry currently offers seven routes across the city.

“Now that we know that congestion pricing is coming, with environmental policy as it is and municipal policy as it is, where they’re trying to get people to use their cars less, here’s a very attractive option that city islanders could benefit from themselves,” said Doyle, who noted that there has been a new push for a ferry for about a year.

A website created by the civic organization City Island Rising encourages residents to appeal to elected officials to support a landing for NYC Ferry, which operates six regular routes and has more than 20 stops across the city.

The closest New York ferry stop to City Island is Ferry Point Park in Throgs Neck.

David Diaz, who has lived on City Island for seven years and works in midtown Manhattan, said that when he takes a bus to the 6 subway train, his commute usually takes 90 minutes or more. He also occasionally drives his car.

“I think kind of the idea behind congestion pricing is to try to limit the number of cars and trucks and all that kind of stuff,” Diaz said. “And now people are going to be looking for another option to be able to get in without having to go through there, so the ferry would absolutely lend them that function.”

The 2019 feasibility study by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, which oversees NYC Ferry, says that while a direct ferry route between City Island and Midtown and Lower Manhattan would reduce travel times, too few residents would travel on a boat.

The MTA’s Bx29 bus is the only public transportation option to get on and off City Island in the Bronx. Stefano Giovannini

If a pier were built around Orchard Beach, it would take the nearest residents 20 minutes to reach the ferry, meaning service from there “would not be competitive with existing public transit for neighborhoods surroundings”.

NYC Ferry did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday evening.

But Doyle and Diaz insisted this week that the five-year-old study did not adequately survey the number of visitors the ferry could bring to City Island from other parts of the five boroughs.

During the warmer months, a long line of cars similar to the final scene of the baseball movie “Field of Dreams” waits to arrive on the island to reach the various seafood restaurants the area offers.

Doyle calls it “legendary traffic” on the road to the island, although he would like to see more foot traffic from people getting off a ferry, which could boost business on the island’s main street. ‘island.

“What we’re trying to do is be a destination,” Diaz added. “How can we get you here from Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan without having to take public transportation…or drive your car.”

New York Post

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