Monday, May 5, 2008

City News Conference Regarding Expanded Ferry Service Addresses Roosevelt Island Dock Construction

Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn announced today the start of Rockaway ferry service on May 12, restored service to Williamsburg and expanded east river routes. City and Council-funded programs to be joined with federal funding and allocations from Congress-members Nadler and Maloney.

According to the official news release the second phase of the plan will include the construction of a new dock on Roosevelt Island. Once again Congresswoman Maloney has shown her committment to bringing ferry service to Roosevelt Island.

It is expected this dock will be replace the dock currently sitting just South of the Octagon complex and across from the Dayspring Church on the Western side of the island facing Manhattan. The news release states that the ferry service route that will stop at this dock will be a private operator and apparently not the City-subsidized routes starting on May 12th. No dates were stated in the news release regarding construction start dates on Roosevelt Island.

So Roosevelt Island is one step closer to having access to the water. The questions still open are (1) how many stops per day (presumably during the morning and evening rush hours will the private operator make on the island (2) at what cost to the commuters and (3) how many residents will use (a) the service overall and (b) whether the location of the dock at North end of the island will influence their decision?

Update: 4:20 pm

According to an anonymous (uncomfirmed) comment left here and on the Roosevelt Islander, Mayor Bloomberg announced at the news conference that ferry service to / from Roosevelt Island would commence in 2010.


  1. Bloomberg said at the announcement that RI service would begin in 2010.

  2. i wouldn't get too excited just yet.

    remember, rioc has deliberately placed all responsibility for the service on bruce becker. shane is doing the same havin-it-both-ways dance he is doing for southpoint: "ferry would be great! its his problem."

    now, i'm not saying that becker - won't - overcome all the bureaucratic and financial hurdles still in his way... but i do think that the exclusion of ri from the city-sponsored service comes close to dooming his efforts.

    if ferries are a good idea, why not include us in the city plan? i unnerstands that rioc is state, but the island itself is city property, so i don't see turf being an intractable problem. the only reason i can see is rioc's determination to squeeze becker for as much money as he can bleed. i'm aware that many islanders see merit in that; just remember it next time you grumble about not being able to get off island and someone mentions ferries.

    also: have you SEEN what new ferry docks look like? not the friendly little dock we have now - a nice spot to fish or watch tugs from. no, they tend to be scows anchored in place, with cyclone fencing and security lighting... and when not boarding, you AREN'T allowed on them.

    at all.

  3. You can confirm the unconfirmed comment about Bloomberg saying 2010 by listening to the press conference on the City web site at

  4. AM New York mentions Bloomberg's comment about a timetable for RI:
    "The ferry expansion, part of Bloomberg's PlaNYC proposals to "green" the city, calls for stops in North Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Roosevelt Island to open in two years. Docks would have to be constructed for these locations but are already budgeted through the design stage with $4.4 million in federal funds.”,0,1638251.story

  5. shane said: "Whether the City as the recipient of the Federal funds would have to be the contracting party with all of the difficult machinery of procurement that entails is completely unresolved."

    i'm fairly sure he means that since becker is on the hook for the ferry dock and the operator would be a private one, can the fed money be used for the octagon service or not? and it ain't MY problem - but i will write a nice note.

    and being 'budgeted through the design stage' means only that some pretty drawings will be paid for. nothing is promised beyond that.

    IF the city doesn't get hammered by the recession, and if becker can weasel his way onto the fed gravy boat, we might get service. but big ifs.

    i've been reading 'over and back' by cudahy, a bloated but interesting history of ferries in nyc. it describes how most ferry companies never made money. plus it has crazy mad pics of both sides of manhattan just swarming with boat traffic! cool stuff.

  6. the page has this
    : "EDC has budgeted funds to begin the design phase of this service, and there is $4.4 million in federal transportation funds secured by Congress members Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, matched with $1.1 million split from the Bloomberg Administration and the City Council. The federal funds will be used to construct the ferry landings at Greenpoint and North Williamsburg as well as the dock at Roosevelt Island"

    so it looks as if becker won't have to build the dock if the feds actually pony up. that does put the ri service MUCH closer to reality. i'd bet on it more strongly if we were in the city system - the service to billyburg was cut due to rising fuel costs last winter by the private operator. they won't start again until tourist season. we'd be in the same, er, boat.