Oct. 16, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
Long Island City’s incoming ferry dock can accommodate the neighborhood’s growing population by potentially floating to a new spot, the City Economic Development Corporation says.
The EDC is currently examining two spots to put a Long Island City ferry dock as part of a new ferry line that will run from Queens to Manhattan starting in 2017: at the end of Center Boulevard on the northwest corner of Gantry Plaza State Park, or north of Anable Basin off of 44th Drive.
The Center Boulevard option is more appealing to the EDC as a way to ensure high ridership from the get-go, due to the existing neighboring population.
However, members of local civic groups and Community Board 2 have suggested that, with significant development planned north of the basin, a dock off of 44th Drive might make more sense in the long run.
In an August conversation with the LIC Post, CB 2 Chairman Pat O’Brien said, “there’s a lot more coming down the pipe in development both within a block or two of 44th Drive, and going north of 44th Drive – we’re going to see a lot more density there in the years to come.”
James Wong, EDC Vice President in the Ports and Transportation Group, said that the EDC has taken this prospect into consideration. A ferry dock at Center Boulevard in 2017 would not preclude moving the dock to 44th Drive later, depending on future development, he said.
“Relative to many other kinds of transportation investments, these can move fairly easily,” EDC executive vice president Seth Myers explained. “You can float it and move it pretty easily.”
O’Brien had noted this possibility in August, with some skepticism.
“Why make the investment in one place if in five or 10 years it makes more sense to have it in another place?” he asked.
By the EDC’s description, the new ferry line – along with four others that will ultimately be installed by 2018 – is a tool to support waterfront development in New York City.
“Certainly a lot of development has happened along the waterfronts across the city, and adding a citywide ferry system allows us to ensure that we are building the type of transit infrastructure, the type of transit services, that are important to make those communities complete neighborhoods,” EDC President and CEO Maria Torres-Springer said.
Meanwhile, from a transportation standpoint, ferries are not a standalone option; they help make “additional transport connections” throughout the city, Torres-Springer said.
Justine Johnson, an EDC assistant vice president, said that “it’s too early to say” when the agency will make a decision on the dock’s location, noting that it is contingent upon discussions with New York State Parks.
Reach reporter Jackie Strawbridge at [email protected]