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Sailing the blue highway

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Fulton Ferry Landing already offers visitors fine dining, famous ice cream and a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline — and someday soon it could also become a place where commuters hop a ferry to work.

Twenty−five locations around the city, including 11 in Brooklyn, are being considered for stops along a new ferry route that could offer commuters an alternative to the subway — one that planners and city legislators have dubbed a “Blue Highway.”

The Comprehensive Citywide Ferry Study launched last year is now in its third and final stage.

A public hearing on the findings thus far and suggestions about other areas of study will be held on July 22 at Kingsborough Community College. Start time is 7 p.m.

“In these austere financial times, which have also impacted our transportation infrastructure, from MTA service cuts to rising gasoline prices, New Yorkers are finding it harder and harder to get around our wonderful city,” said City Councilmember Mike Nelson. “Therefore, it is important that we explore all other avenues in our search for more practical modes of public transporta­tion.”

The 10 other possible ferry landings being considered in Brooklyn include Greenpoint, north and south Williamsburg, Atlantic Avenue, Red Hook, Brooklyn Army Terminal, Bay Ridge, Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island and Floyd Bennett Field.

Despite its existing piers, there are still a number of issues that could disqualify Sheepshead Bay from becoming part of the ferry system.

“Even if you get the location, where are you going to park?” Community Board 15 Chair Theresa Scavo observed this week.

The dearth of adequate parking has long plagued Sheepshead Bay and could now sink the community’s chances of getting ferry service.

Construction of a multi−level parking garage — provided that space could be obtained − might alleviate the situation, but accessibility along the long stretch of Emmons Avenue remains a problem.

“If we put it at Pier 10 people are not going to take a bus to Pier 10,” said Scavo.

Affordability is also another concern.

“People that live in the Bay area, I don’t know if they’re going to spring for the price of a ferry,” Scavo said.

The six−month Comprehensive Citywide Ferry Study evaluates possible ferry stops based on wide−ranging criteria including demand, costs and investment­⁄infrast­ructure needs.

Any potential site could be knocked out of the running through an evaluation process known as “fatal flaw analysis.”

“New York City’s livelihood is dependent on its capability to transport its people smoothly throughout the five boroughs and so it is most urgent that the community comes out and participates in the ferry study,” Nelson said.

Nelson, who represents Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Kings Bay and Midwood, chairs the Council’s Waterfronts Committee. Kingsborough Community College is located at 2001 Oriental Blvd. in Manhattan Beach.

The Comprehensive Citywide Ferry Study is supposed to be complete by the fall.

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