After months of community outreach and an environmental review, the city has announced that the new ferry landing in Long Island City will be located at Center Boulevard.
For months, the city had been deciding whether to place the stop at the busy Gantry Plaza State Park or along 44th Drive in order to relieve some of the congestion along the 7 train and the projected new residents flooding western Queens.
“Upon completing an environmental review and after extensive engagement with residents and elected officials of the LIC community, NYCEDC is in coordination with New York State Parks to site the LIC North ferry landing adjacent to a densely populated residential core,” the Economic Development Corporation wrote in a press release.
The landing will be located on the northern end of Gantry Plaza State Park.
Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, along with Hunters Point Parks Conservancy (HPPC), expressed initial concerns with the Center Boulevard location, arguing that the heavy foot traffic could result in “additional wear and tear” on the park and loud noise — ferries must warn other boats when they are backing up and blow their horns four times to do so.
Rob Basch, president of HPPC, previously told QNS that he hopes the Parks Department would provide amenities such as trash cans, seating and some sort of coverage for people waiting for the ferry on rainy days if the location was chosen.
“After having some concerns and reservations about placing a second ferry stop in Gantry State Park, I believe that with the cooperation of both city and state agencies we can continue to expand ferry operations while preserving both park land and green space for our communities,” Nolan said. “I will continue to monitor this situation to ensure Gantry State Park is not negatively impacted by this arrangement.”
A poll conducted by QNS in November 2015 found that Long Island City residents who lived in the Hunters Point complexes slightly preferred the Center Boulevard ferry stop option as opposed to the 44th Drive landing near Anable Basin.
The LIC North ferry landing is projected to have the highest ridership outside of Manhattan and the EDC projects that a total of 4,000 riders a day will use the service, which will be run by Hornblower.
“The Citywide Ferry is a much-needed service to address some of the transit shortfalls in Queens. The Long Island City landing spot will be a boon for residents and businesses of the fastest growing neighborhood in New York City,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “Our challenge in government has been to help ensure infrastructure keeps up with demand, and we’re pleased the project is on track to launch next year.”
The current ferry landing in Hunters Point South will continue to be part of East River Ferry operations until it is integrated into the larger Citywide Ferry Service network in 2017. LIC North will also start running next summer.
Mayor Bill de Blasio first introduced the new Citywide Ferry Service during his State of the City address earlier last year. Five new service routes will be added, with the Astoria, South Brooklyn and Rockaway routes beginning operation in 2017, and the Soundview and Lower East Side routes in 2018.
“All five boroughs will be better connected because of this new initiative,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “Long Island City is growing rapidly, and its residents need a variety of transportation options.”
One boat ride will cost the same as a one-way subway ride and transfers within the system, and the East River Ferry system will be free. The price for an East River Ferry ticket will also be reduced to the cost of a subway ride.