Brooklyn BP proposes ferry plan to serve residents in transit deserts

In October, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams proposed changes to the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s 2012 Citywide Ferry Plan. Adams’ changes could result in faster transportation for commuters in Southern Brooklyn.

The current plan, backed by Mayor Bill De Blasio, includes routes that will affect Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Red Hook, Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO. Meanwhile, Adams is pushing for routes that will service residents of Canarsie, Coney Island, Marine Park and Sheepshead Bay.

“I love this idea, Canarsie better be part of this plan,” said Rashawn Franklin, who is a Canarsie resident.

Canarsie is located on Brooklyn’s southern shoreline and is a considerable distance from the other neighborhoods on the planned route. It is home to more than 82,000 residents, according to the 69th police precinct. However, out of the 13 subway lines that covers all five boroughs, the L is the only one available to Canarsie Rockaway Parkway station, which is the line’s first and last stop.

“These proposals will offer resilient transit service to communities in dire need of more transportation options,” said Adams in his testimony to the EDC.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority also provides the B6, B82 and B103 buses throughout the area, although from homes closest to the shore, a bus ride can take up to 30 minutes to arrive at the L-train station, according to transit schedules

The EDC's map of Citywide Ferry Service shows routes to be launched in two phases. The Astoria, South Brooklyn, and Rockaway routes will begin operation in 2017, and the Soundview and Lower East Side routes in 2018. (map credit: Economic Development Corporation).Residents who live near Canarsie Pier – the proposed ferry dock – depend on the B42, which makes round trips along Rockaway Parkway and can take 21 minutes to get inland to the L station, according to transit schedules.

Although some residents say the ferry would not affect their commute or change their routine, others believe the plan is much needed, overdue and an all-around a great idea.

“I believe Canarsie should definitely be a part of this plan, it would be unfair if not,” said Sandy Charlot, another Canarsie resident. “Less transfers — that sounds like a dream come true.”

Charlot said the ferry would help her make it to work faster and may allow her to leave home at a later time.

But not all residents agree.

“I hate this idea,” said Gregory Gaspard, a Canarsie resident who drives to work. “Trust me, if this idea happens, the whole area would be crowded and full of demand.”

Plans for the original waterway service began in 2012 when a vocal group of residents complained that they didn’t have enough transportation options in their areas.

Adams’ intention is to modify the EDC’s ferry plan to make Canarsie the second stop on the route from Rockaway, Queens.

According to the EDC, their current ferry plan will be fully implemented by 2018 with six routes and is estimated to carry 4.6 million trips a year.

Although Adams supports that plan, his testimony in October aimed to expand it to serve a larger number of Brooklyn’s residents.

“Improved connections to surrounding communities and job centers are imperative if this new transportation system is to be successful,” said Adams.