Ferry service is coming to the East River at Grand Street. The announcement was embedded in Mayor de Blasio’s State of the City address, which he delivered earlier today. Here are the scant details from his speech:
Today, we announce that we’re launching a new citywide ferry service to be open for business in 2017. New ferry rides will be priced the same as a MetroCard fare, so ferries will be as affordable to everyday New Yorkers as our subways and buses. …. so residents of the Rockaways and Red Hook and Soundview will now be closer to the opportunities they need. And beyond connecting residents to jobs in Manhattan, our new citywide ferry system will spur the development of new commercial corridors throughout the outer boroughs.
A news release from the mayor’s office explained a bit more about the initiative:
To make sure there is new transportation to accommodate growth, the City will launch a new Citywide Ferry Service that will knit together existing East River routes with new landings and services to Astoria, the Rockaways, South Brooklyn, Soundview and the Lower East Side. Pegged to the cost of a Metrocard, service will launch in 2017 and will be supported by City operating support and a $55 million capital commitment. Further expansion to Stapleton and Coney Island will constitute a second phase of expansion, pending additional funding.
In a statement, Council member Margaret Chin confirms that the new ferry location on the Lower East Side will be situated at the end of Grand Street:
I was… pleased today to learn that Mayor de Blasio will be moving forward with plans for a Grand Street ferry stop. My local elected colleagues and I have advocated for a Grand Street ferry stop because we know it will create a much-needed transit connection for Lower East Side residents — especially the thousands in public housing — who have been generally underserved when it comes to public transportation. As the Lower East Side community continues to grow, particularly with the forthcoming Essex Crossing development, we must continue to provide new options for affordable, accessible transit. A Grand Street ferry stop will be great step forward in making that kind of positive community impact, and I thank Mayor de Blasio for hearing our call on this issue.
In May of 2013, local residents started an online petition in support of a Grand Street ferry location. The Lower East Side phase of the new project is scheduled for 2018.