As part of the citywide ferry system heralded by Mayor Bill de Blasio, the new ferry stop, dubbed Long Island City―North, will be located at either Gantry Plaza State Park near Center Boulevard or the north end of 44th Drive near Anable Basin.
The Courier conducted an online survey of Hunters Point residents living on the waterfront to gauge their opinions on which option would be most beneficial and which stop they would be more likely to utilize.
The survey, completed by 405 respondents, shows that the community slightly favors adding the stop at Gantry Plaza State Park, with 53 percent saying they would like to see the stop there. When respondents were asked whether they would be more inclined to use the ferry over other modes of transportation if the new ferry stop was placed at Gantry Plaza State Park, 60 percent of respondents said they would.
Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan has argued that building the ferry stop at Gantry Plaza State Park will cause “undue wear and tear” to the park land and that several measures, including providing additional funding to the Parks Department to hire employees for maintenance, must be included if the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) decides to approve that location.
Respondents were also able to submit comments anonymously regarding the potential locations of the ferry stop.
“There is no way to walk to 44th Drive from southern avenues on Center Boulevard or Fifth Street. Anyone living on Center Boulevard would have to walk over to Vernon Boulevard to go north and then walk back to the river. A landing in Gantry Plaza State Park would be much more convenient,” one Hunters Point resident said in the survey, also adding that the ferry stop at Transmitter Park in Greenpoint did not result in additional wear at the park.
Another resident argued that a stop at 44th Drive would increase foot traffic to an area of the neighborhood that is underutilized.
“The usage of the 44th Drive ferry would help bring more foot traffic and awareness to that area, which needs more improvement and has limited to no foot traffic,” the resident said. “Gantry thrives on foot traffic and we already have the ferry at Borden Avenue four to five blocks away.”
A majority of the survey respondents, 93 percent, said they use the subway to get to and from work, but 60 percent of respondents also said they use the ferry to travel.
More than 10,500 residential units will be built by 2018 along the waterfront, according to the Citywide Ferry Study. Though the community is serviced by the 7 train, the influx of residents will further burden the heavily used subway.
The city estimates that the Long Island City―North dock to the Pier 11/Wall Street stop would be the most popular for riders, accommodating an estimated 1,542 daily patrons by 2018.
Not everyone was on board with the plan for extended ferry service. Some argued that the Hunters Point stop, between 54th Avenue and Second Street, already satisfies commuter travel needs, and adding another ferry stop would lead to congestion.
“Frankly I don’t want either,” one resident said. “Our nice, peaceful neighborhood has become a zoo in the summer months and street parking is ridiculous now. Do we really need another ferry landing so close to the one we already have?”
Several respondents suggested building a footbridge to connect Anable Basin to 44th Drive to make the potential 44th Drive location more accessible and faster to reach.
The 44th Drive landing “would be convenient for inevitable future development north of 46th Street, Court Square residents and Queensboro Plaza residents,” a resident said. “An easy fix to ensure pedestrian accessibility would be to build a small pedestrian bridge over the 11th Street Basin.”
Though the EDC has not confirmed a location, the additional landing will be up and running in 2017.