Here, Here, Harlem Officials Call For City Wide Ferry Plan Expansion In Harlem

harlem city council manToday, elected officials, community leaders and transportation advocates reiterated their call for ferry service along the Hudson River. As the City moves closer to rolling out their plans for citywide ferry service, elected officials and community leaders from Manhattan’s west side stressed importance of the Hudson River as a key artery for ferry service, citing growing density, transit redundancy and long commutes to transportations for select communities.

Those gathered heralded the Citywide Ferry Service plan as an ambitious and effective way to move New Yorkers about the city in more ways at an affordable price. Ferries served as key transportation options following 9/11 and Superstorm Sandy, providing a lifeline to those left stranded by the inaccessibility of other options. However, they cautioned that under the plan as proposed, some communities are unnecessarily left out.

With Hudson Yards and Columbia’s expansion into West Harlem, new residents will need more options given record numbers on the city’s crowded subways.

NYC Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez and Harlem Council Member Mark Levine led the calls advocating for west side service, given major development projects set to add thousands more residents to communities on the banks of the Hudson River. With Hudson Yards and Columbia’s expansion into West Harlem, new residents will need more options given record numbers on the city’s crowded subways.

…As New York City embarks on a new era of ferry expansion, the west side and our Northern Manhattan communities should not be forgotten.”

“A ferry network with stops on the west side of Manhattan and uptown would help reduce crowding on the increasingly over-packed 1 and A trains, remove hundreds of fumes-spewing vehicles from our streets, and help stimulate economic activity,” said Council Member Mark Levine. “As residential and commercial growth continues to expand up and down the west side, and with key infrastructure already in place, investing in ferry service now is a sensible step to address the need for an additional transportation hub. As New York City embarks on a new era of ferry expansion, the west side and our Northern Manhattan communities should not be forgotten.”

“As Manhattan continues to grow upward, more and more residents will need transportation services, particularly on the west side,” said NYC Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. “We need to be thinking about the coming decades as we plan and expand our city’s vital transportation network. West side ferry service would be a key component of this vision and the existing infrastructure makes the opportunity ripe for the City to take advantage. Mayor de Blasio’s initiative to expand transportation options is just what we need as our population grows, but we must ensure communities in need are not left behind.”

Related: A great photograph of the West Harlem Pier, Harlem, New York 1850-1965.

“Manhattan’s West Side neighborhoods must be part of the plan for citywide ferry service,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Manhattan’s Hudson River waterfront is lined with vital, growing residential neighborhoods and the new, expanding Hudson Yards commercial district. Linking these neighborhoods with this new transit option is a win-win.”

“Try catching an express train at 72nd Street at rush hour, and at every train door you’ll see people trying to wedge themselves in like sardines. According to the MTA, ridership is at record highs for the West Side lines, with over 350,000 people riding them each day. I join Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez in calling for a West Side ferry to alleviate congestion on our overburdened subway lines and offer another alternative to cars,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

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“As a Council Member representing a district bounded by water on both sides, I am happy to join the call for our City to fully utilize all of our waterways, both on the east side and west side of Manhattan, as a vital transportation option,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “Ferry service along the rapidly growing far west side of Manhattan would give residents, workers and visitors a convenient and speedy transportation alternative in an area not well served by subways. I urge the Administration to include a ferry route serving the west side of Manhattan as part of this historic plan to dramatically expand our City’s transportation network.”

“The West Side’s daytime population grows larger each day, creating a huge need for alternative transit,” said Council Member Corey Johnson. “Expanding the Citywide Ferry Service to the West Side will connect my district’s residents with communities all across the City, and it will connect more of the City to us. As the Mayor and NYCEDC shape this crucial service, they should know that it would be a very effective and welcome addition to West Side transportation. I thank Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez and the elected officials and advocates who have called for this great need.”

But as work to implement these first new routes continues, we should also look to other waterfront communities, such as Inwood, southern Staten Island, Coney Island and all along the Hudson, where new ferry service could provide fast, safe, and reliable commutes.”

“The Mayor’s new Citywide Ferry Service will bring new transportation to underserved communities from the Bronx to the Rockaways,” said Roland Lewis of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance. “It is a monumental first step to better utilizing the blue highways that surround our city of water.  The Waterfront Alliance is determined to work with this administration and the City Council to ensure that this new transit system is a resounding success. But as work to implement these first new routes continues, we should also look to other waterfront communities, such as Inwood, southern Staten Island, Coney Island and all along the Hudson, where new ferry service could provide fast, safe, and reliable commutes.”

“As Brooklyn continues to become a destination for residents across New York City, it is essential that transit options to and from our borough also increase. The Chamber applauds NYCEDC and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to implement comprehensive citywide ferry service – which will greatly improve transportation along South Brooklyn’s waterfront – but we must take this opportunity to expand access to the West Side of Manhattan. A direct route between Brooklyn and the West Side would result in greater economic vitality, further stimulate waterfront development and provide a tremendous boon to our borough’s businesses by allowing new visitors to flow into communities like Red Hook, DUMBO, Williamsburg and Greenpoint. We encourage City Hall to seamlessly integrate the East River ferry with the new proposed routes, as well as include Hudson River routes,” said Carlo Scissura, President and CEO, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

“A key to a vibrant New York is a vibrant multi-modal transportation network. Lower Manhattan is surging, and is set to generate economic growth and opportunity for all New Yorkers in the years ahead,” said Downtown Alliance President Jessica Lappin.  “An estimated 40,000 new jobs are expected in Lower Manhattan by 2019, jobs that will bring even more people to Lower Manhattan. So let’s seize on this opportunity and really build on it with West Side ferry service.”

With newer state-of-the-art ferries that have minimal impact on air, noise, water quality and the water’s edge, it is important that the citywide public transportation network connects the different areas of the city for workers, including the West Side,” said Catherine Hughes, Chair of Manhattan Community Board One. “People come to Lower Manhattan from all 5 boroughs and affordable and quick public transportation is key to a dynamic City. As an alternative to subways, cars and buses, ferries make our system more resilient and more flexible. And you can’t beat a ferry for a front-row view of our fabulous City.

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