Councilman Paul Vallone continues to push for ferry and waterfront development in northeast Queens.
Vallone chaired an executive budget hearing on economic development on Monday, where the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) provided the Council with an overview of their capital funding plan and provided updates on ongoing projects for the upcoming New York City fiscal year.
The councilman questioned EDC President and CEO James Patchett on designated investments in the waterfront, including public transportation, preserving and renewing recreational waterfront spaces and a renewed call for ferry services in northeast Queens and other transit deserts.
He once again urged the EDC to establish commuter ferry service at the World’s Fair Marina in Flushing, which had sustained damages from Superstorm Sandy. Reconstruction efforts to the marina include upgrading the deteriorated fixed piers, floating docks and other components destroyed during Sandy.
According to Vallone’s office, once the project is completed in 2022, the marina’s new design can accommodate a potential ferry landing.
“As we continuously look for ways to meet the extraordinary demand for public transit, our city should look to ride the wave of ferry service, which brings a viable transportation option to areas of our city like northeast Queens that are difficult to access and lack subway access and reliable bus service,” said Vallone.
EDC is in charge of constructing new ferry landings, renovating existing landings and managing the contract with Hornblower, who operates the ferries and provides service on the city’s behalf.
In January, Mayor de Blasio announced the continued expansion of the through 2021, with plans to add new stops and routes in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island. Current routes include Astoria, East River, Lower East Side, Rockaway, Soundview and South Brooklyn.
By 2021, the city will have a total of eight operating ferry routes. EDC plans to launch the St. George and Coney Island routes in 2020 and 2021 respectively. The agency also plans to add a stop on the Soundview Route at Ferry Point Park in 2021.
During Monday’s hearing, Patchett also provided updates on some of the ongoing projects funded in the recent fiscal plans. Some of the projects include the Downtown Far Rockaway Housing and Commercial Redevelopment in Queens, the Essex Market at Essex Crossing in Manhattan, and the Futureworks Makerspace at the Brooklyn Army Terminal.
Of the 445 projects included in EDC’s Capital Commitment Plan, 72 are in Queens, 143 are in Brooklyn, 131 are in Manhattan, 48 are in the Bronx, 34 are in Staten Island and 17 are citywide. The Council questioned Patchett on EDC’s rationale for managing nearly $3 billion in capital projects for other agencies.
“It is essential we adopt a budget that is transparent and reflective of the priorities of the Council and our New Yorkers,” Vallone said. “As Chair of the City Council’s Committee on Economic Development, I expect that NYCEDC will be responsive to the concerns of the Council and will work closely with members to ensure we pass a budget that fosters continued economic growth in New York City.”