FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 8, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG, SPEAKER QUINN ANNOUNCE FIRST STEPS FOR FERRY SERVICE BETWEEN THE ROCKAWAYS AND MANHATTAN
Expansion of Ferry Service Part of Transportation Improvements in PlaNYC
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilmember Joseph P. Addabbo today announced that the City of New York is exploring a pilot program to provide year-round ferry service from the Rockaways in Queens to Manhattan. At a minimum, ferry service would be provided Monday through Friday during peak rush hours. Expanding ferry service in New York City is one of the 127 initiatives of PlaNYC, the City's long-term sustainability plan unveiled by Mayor Bloomberg last month. The Mayor and Councilmember Addabbo made today's announcement on the Boardwalk at 126th Street in Rockaway Park.
"One of the strengths of PlaNYC is how it has encouraged people of different interests to work together for New York's future. Now we're inviting private ferry operators to enter the discussion and to help us come up with a viable plan to serve the Rockaways," said Mayor Bloomberg. "When we proposed PlaNYC, I said we must make transit improvements and provide increased options for commuters in all five boroughs. Establishing ferry service for the Rockaways is one of the ways we are working to make that happen."
"For too long, residents of the Rockaways and Southern Queens have had inadequate mass transportation options," said Speaker Quinn. "With the firm commitment of the Mayor and the Council behind the extension of Ferry Service from Riis Landing in Rockaway to Lower Manhattan, we are taking a major step in getting this part of the city back on the grid. I want to thank the Mayor for his commitment to increasing access to mass transportation, and Council Member Addabbo for his tireless effort working on behalf of his constituents."
"I look forward to working with both the Mayor and the Speaker to promote the newly expanded ferry service in Rockaway," said Council Member Joseph Addabbo. "We need to consider every option when it comes to improving New York City's transportation infrastructure. This new service will not only make residents' commute into the City shorter, but will also encourage more people to take mass transit."
New York City Economic Development Corporation will issue a Request For Expressions of Interest (RFEI) tomorrow, aimed at garnering responses from private ferry service operators. The RFEI will call for the respondents to propose a service that at a minimum connects one point in the Rockaways with a landing in Lower Manhattan. Other stops in the Rockaways and along the Brooklyn waterfront may be included at the respondent's discretion. The RFEI will also require respondents' responses to include at least two daily departures from the Rockaways to Lower Manhattan during the morning commute, and two departures from Lower Manhattan during the evening commute.
"Ferry service is an ideal transportation alternative because it takes cars off our streets without requiring a substantial investment in infrastructure, and it's something to which we are absolutely committed," said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding Daniel L. Doctoroff. "New York City and communities throughout our region have tremendous access to waterways, providing us with an excellent opportunity to promote ferries as a means of commuting to our business districts."
Through a commitment of funds by the joint City/State Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), commuter ferry service between Yonkers and Lower Manhattan began operating on May 1, 2007. The operator, New York Water Taxi, selected through a Request For Proposals issued jointly by LMDC and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, began direct commuter ferry service between Yonkers, the World Financial Center and Pier 11 at Wall Street.
"As we take steps to make commuting easier and reduce auto congestion, it is critical that we pursue mass transit options such as ferries," said incoming Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn.
Eligible private ferry operators will have approximately six weeks to develop and submit a response. The City's Economic Development Corporation and Department of Transportation will review all responses and determine whether any respondents should be selected based on the criteria outlined in the RFEI. Once it is issued, interested parties will be able to view the RFEI at the Available Projects webpage at www.nycedc.com/rfp.
Stu Loeser / John Gallagher (212) 788-2958
Ted Timbers (Department of Transportation)
Andrew Brent / Janel Patterson (Economic Development Corporation)
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