The “forgotten end” of Brooklyn is tired of being forgotten and abandoned when it comes to transportation options and today they united to call on the city to bring them into the transit fold.
More than a dozen residents and advocates joined South Brooklyn Lawmakers on the steps of city hall to demand ferry service to Canarsie and Coney Island.
City Council members Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bensonhurst) and Alan Maisel (D-Canarsie, Flatlands, Mill Basin, Bergen Beach, Gerritsen Beach), led the group in calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to include the two South Brooklyn neighborhoods in the growing ferry system that most recently hit its one millionth rider benchmark.
The group specifically is asking for a feasibility study in order to appropriately include ferry service as a transit alternative to Coney Island and Canarsie residents.
“This is necessary, over one million people ride the ferry, the demand is extraordinary. It’s not because people like it or simply love it but because they need it. You can’t truly say it’s a citywide ferry service when significant parts of the city have been left out,” said Treyger.
Treyger went on to note that Canarsie and Coney Island already face limited transit options and rely heavily on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) bus system for daily travel.
Canarsie and Coney Island residents already face extensive travel times due to their distance from the city center, some residents even face up to travel times of two-hours in one direction to get to and from work, school and doctor’s appointments.
“If you took the time to travel from Canarsie on a bus, and you missed the bus by 10 minutes, your commute would increase by at least half an hour. When I was coming here [today], getting off across the street, that commute can take anywhere from an hour and ten minutes up to an hour and fifty minutes depending on how traffic is.The ferry will increase transportation options for people coming to and from Coney Island and Canarsie. The people of Canarsie deserve better,” said State Senator Roxanne Persaud (D-Canarsie, Mill Basin, Bergen Beach, East New York).
The recent MTA crisis, which has been crippling subway travel across the city, has only exacerbated travel times from South Brooklyn, causing major delays for residents.
In addition, Canarsie residents specifically are going to face another travel challenge when the L train shuts down in 2019. Earlier in the year, the MTA announced it’s plan to shut down the L train subway line order to make necessary repairs to the East River Tunnel that was damaged during Hurricane Sandy. The shutdown will only further threaten residents with even longer, more arduous commutes.
“Traveling to and from Coney Island by subway has always been a difficult commute, but it has been made even tougher by the recent issues plaguing the MTA. Providing an alternate transportation service like the ferry will ease the burden that so many commuters already face and make our community an even better place to live,” said Assemblywoman Pam Harris (D-Coney Island, Bay Ridge).
However, the Mayor seems to be aware of the needs of the South Brooklyn community and is open to providing ferry service as an alternative transit option to residents in the near future.
“There are six confirmed routes on the new NYC Ferry system, which will have all launched by 2018. While those lines do not have stops in Coney Island or Canarsie, we look forward to engaging with communities to determine whether additional ferry stops and routes are viable once our initial expansion is complete,” said Mayor de Blasio.
Currently the NYC ferry service in Brooklyn includes stops in Red Hook, Sunset Park, Bay Ridge and the Far Rockaways.
“I just don’t want the Mayor to forget that the people in Canarsie and Coney Island are in desperate need of an alternative way to get to the city”, said Maisel.