FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 31, 2009
SCHUMER SECURES KEY SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE APPROVAL FOR $260,000 FOR ST. JOHN'S/ WAGNER COLLEGE BUS ROUTE ON STATEN ISLAND -SHUTTLE WILL EASE CONGESTION AND CREATE DIRECT PATH FROM ST. JOHN'S TO STATEN ISLAND FERRY
Senate Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee Approves $260,000 for Bus Shuttle
Funding Included at Senators' Request; Will be Used to Operate a Shuttle Bus Service to Accommodate Students, Faculty, and Visitors from Both St. John's University and Wagner College and Grymes Hill
Schumer: Shuttle Will Ease Traffic Congestion, Help Students Get Around, and Boost the Staten Island Economy
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that the Senate Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee has approved $260,000 to St. John’s University for a shuttle bus service on Staten Island that will provide a direct path from St. John’s University and Wagner College to the Staten Island Ferry. The funding was approved as part of the Senate Appropriation process, and has been included in the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Bill. The bill has passed out of the Subcommittee and now will need to be approved by the full Senate Appropriations Committee, after which it will be sent to the Senate floor, and then to the president for signature. The project is called the Staten Island Ferry Campus Shuttle Bus Service and will help support two institutions of higher education on Staten Island to give students, faculty, and visitors from both institutions additional transportation options both to and from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. The bus route will be a much-needed, positive step in the expansion of public transportation for all of Staten Island. Staten Island, specifically in the area around the Staten Island Expressway, is hampered by congestion. The shuttle will ease traffic in the area and provide a necessary route to the Staten Island Ferry for students in the area. Both schools sit atop Grymes Hill, which makes for a dangerous two mile walk to and from the ferry.
“This bus route is great news for not only St. John’s University and Wagner College, but for all of Staten Island,” Schumer said. “Funding this route from St. John’s University to the Staten Island Ferry will ease traffic congestion in the area, help students, faculty, and visitors get around Staten Island and travel into Manhattan, and boost the Staten Island economy. I am proud to have worked so hard to see that this vision becomes a reality.”
“In this ever tightening economy and given the increased transportation costs faced by our students, faculty and staff I applaud Senator Schumer for his support of our collaborative efforts to move more Staten Island Campus students around in a quick, cost-efficient and environmentally friendly manner” said Fr. Donald J. Harrington, C.M. President of St. John’s University.
"Students who come to study at Wagner College enjoy the benefits of having what we like to think of as the best of both worlds: a traditional campus on a beautiful park-like borough and easy access to Manhattan. The campus shuttle will, in our opinion, make the choice to study here even more compelling," said Wagner College President Richard Guarasci.
The Staten Island Ferry Terminal is located 2 miles away from both Wagner College and the Staten Island Campus of St. John’s University which are located on top of a steep hill. In terms of public transportation, there are two travel options for commuting students: Students can take the S62 Bus that runs along Victory Boulevard and get off at the bus stop at Theresa Place and the campus is then a 10 minute walk either up or down a steep hill or students take the S62 Bus to the corner Clove Road and transfer to the S60 Bus that runs up Howard Avenue and drops students off at Arlo Road for a very short walk to campus. The S60 Bus runs on a limited schedule from 6:15am-9:15pm and even less on weekends.
To supplement the limited public transportation access to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, St. John’s University and Wagner College currently have been sharing the use of an outsourced privately operated Shuttle Service to and from the campuses to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. The Shuttle Service runs Monday through Friday from 6:40am-11:30pm and has a ridership of 50,000 each semester for a total of 100,000 riders per academic year. But St. John’s University and Wagner College have been searching for a more permanent solution and have sought federal funds to create their own independently operated shuttle service or to cover the costs of the current shuttle service. The funds will help support two institutions of higher education on Staten Island and would give students from both institutions additional transportation options to/from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.
St. John’s University’s Staten Island Campus is situated on a 17 acre campus in a peaceful, tree-lined residential community. The Staten Island Campus is home to almost 1,600 undergraduate students and approximately 300 graduate students and has a small residential component with students residing at the neighboring Grymes Hill Apartments. Wagner College is located on 105 acres of park-like grounds atop Grymes Hill and is home to almost 1,900 undergraduate students and approximately 300 graduate students.
Next the appropriations bill will need to be approved by the full Senate Appropriations Committee, after which it will be sent to the Senate floor. Following approval by the Senate, the bill will move towards Conference with the House and then to the President for signature.