FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 1, 2013
SCHUMER URGES FEDS TO FUND DOCKS FOR EXPANDED EAST RIVER FERRY “NERD BOAT” – FUNDING WOULD GO TOWARDS EXPANDING FERRY TO ROOSEVELT ISLAND, BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK, ASTORIA & UPPER EAST SIDE
Expanded Ferry Would Serve Thousands Of Additional Commuters, And Act as “NERD Boat” Tying Together City’s New and Existing Tech Hubs, Including the New Cornell NYC’s Applied Science Campus on Roosevelt Island
New Competitive NYS Program Uses Federal Highway Dollars for Strategic Infrastructure Investment Throughout the State; Schumer-Backed Federal Transportation Bill Delivers Over $1 Billion in Federal Road Funding to NYS in 2013
Schumer Pushes Expansion of East River Ferry & Four NYC Projects Including: Lower East Side/Brooklyn Greenway Expansion, Construction on the Cross Bronx Service Roads, HOV Extensions on the Long Island Expressway & the Grand Central Access Improvements
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) to prioritize funding for an infrastructure project in New York City that will allow expansion of the East River Ferry. The East River Ferry Expansion project will include new landings to expand service to Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, Hallets Point in Astoria and the Upper East Side. Additionally, the expansion will allow for a Roosevelt Island ferry landing meeting the needs of students at the new CornellNYC’s Applied Science Campus. Schumer today urged the FHWA and NYSDOT to fund this project through the new competitive Strategic Transportation Enhancements Program (STEP) and implement a “NERD Boat” ferry landing at Roosevelt Island so that new students, tech industry professionals and residents can more easily commute to and from the Roosevelt Island community.
“The East River Ferry expansion project can become a ‘Nerd Boat’ that connects our rapidly-expanding tech hubs, like Dumbo and the Brooklyn Navy yard, with the new CornellNYC’s Applied Science Campus,” said Schumer. “It will also maximize ferry-use throughout the city and better connect these waterfront neighborhoods to public transportation, benefitting the local economy and that’s why projects like this should be considered for STEP funding.”
The East River Ferry pilot program began in June of 2011 and has served over 1.7 million commuters. The East River Ferry currently connects Manhattan with Long Island City, Brooklyn, and Governors Island and can transport nearly 150 passengers per trip.
The application for the East River Ferry Expansion project is being submitted by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and will include four flex barge landings to provide New York City with vital emergency transportation infrastructure in the event of a future storm or event that affects the regular transit system. Flex ferry landings are self-sufficient and can be relocated to multiple destinations and include all equipment necessary for ferry service such as gangways, ticketing equipment and passenger waiting shelters. In times of emergency, the landings can be sent to the areas in need of immediate transit options such as the Rockaways or the South Shore of Staten Island. When not needed for emergencies, ferry landings are proposed for full-time use in neighborhoods with existing demand to support ferry service.
A New York City Comprehensive Citywide Ferry Study, performed in 2010, indicated strong demand for ferry transportation on the Upper East Side and Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6.
The East River Ferry Expansion project is expected to include dockings in Roosevelt Island, Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Upper East Side and Astoria.
Schumer also announced support for four other projects in the STEP application, including Lower East Side/Brooklyn Greenway Expansion, construction on the Cross Bronx service roads, HOV extensions on the Long Island Expressway and the Grand Central Access Improvements.
Schumer today called on the FHWA and the NYSDOT to prioritize these five projects for STEP funding. In his letter to the agencies, Schumer pointed to the economic benefits of the East River Ferry expansion and made the case that, since the East River Ferry pilot program was implemented, local businesses have touted an increase in customers. Schumer also pointed to the growing demand for ferry transportation on the Upper East Side and Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6. Schumer explained that private developers plan to construct approximately 4,000 units of housing on the waterfront of Hallets Point in Astoria in 2015 and expanded ferry service would benefit these new residents.
Schumer today continued a push for added transportation options, in this case a “NERD Boat” ferry landing at Roosevelt Island through the East River Ferry Expansion project. The CornellNYC Tech Campus is expected to add over 800 residents and 1300 students and employees to Roosevelt Island in 2018. Schumer explained that a ferry landing at Roosevelt Island would meet the need for these new students so commuters can easily travel to and from the Island.
In August, Schumer called for a similar “NERD Bus,” to connect the CornellNYC Tech Campus with the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Dumbo, downtown Brooklyn, Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Long Island City. Schumer urged the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to connect the proposed Tech Triangle bus line with the Williamsburg waterfront bus line. Schumer noted that a “NERD Bus” would be a great boon for the tech industry, providing easy transportation between the emerging tech hubs and connecting industry with education and vice-versa.