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Canarsie residents start petition demanding ferry stop

Pier pressure!: Canarsie resident Marc Want from the Canarsie Improvement Association is collecting hundreds of signatures to send to the mayor to bring the ferry to Canarsie Pier.
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They don’t want to miss the boat!

Canarsie residents are busy collecting hundreds of signatures for a petition they plan to deliver to City Hall demanding Mayor DeBlasio keep his word and look into adding the coastal neighborhood as a new stop on the city-wide ferry system, the local pol said.

“Hopefully we’ll get thousands of interested people to sign on this petition asking the Mayor to seriously consider putting the ferry in,” said Councilman Alan Maisel (D–Canarsie). “I want the Mayor to know there’s a lot of interest in having a ferry and it wouldn’t be an uneconomical venture, people will use it.”

Hizzoner promised a roomful of residents at a town hall last September that a ferry stop at the federally-run Canarsie Pier was “on the table” — but now nearly a year later with no progress, locals are fed up with being left high and dry, and so decided to take matters into their own hands, said resident Marc Want from the Canarsie Improvement Association, the group that launched the petition.

“We want it at Canarsie Pier because it can very nicely service all of Brooklyn South, people can walk to it from quite a number of different places, can ride bikes in, or drive in, there is parking available at the pier,” said Want. “It’s just a great access point.”

And the response so far has been incredible — about 1,000 people have already signed their names, said Want.

“We have a lot of people. We’re not only getting signatures as we walk through the park and go to meetings, but people come up to us and ask for forms,” he said. “This morning I was in the park and a lady hands over to me four pages — she felt it’s such a great idea.”

And with the impending closure of the L train, which shuttles Canarsie straphangers across the East River into Manhattan, the need for more speedy and direct transportation is even more dire — because sitting on a bus in bumper-to-bumper traffic across the bridge wastes nearly three hours of the day and is just not practical for commuters, said Want.

“Some of us take the bus into the city periodically for work and some of us drive, and it puts a tremendous strain on individuals to spend three hours a day travelling, because the bus takes about an hour-and-a-half — that’s just too much,” said Want. “I think our community is underserved, we have the L train and have MTA buses, but certainly do not have good transportation from Canarsie into rest of the city, this would definitely compliment things very, very nicely and my prediction is most people will use that over the trains or buses.”

The current South Brooklyn ferry route — which sails from Bay Ridge to Sunset Park, Red Hook (with a weekend detour to Governors Island), Brooklyn Heights, and Dumbo before heading to Manhattan — is already overloaded, forcing the Economic Development Corporation, which oversees the service, to buy three additional, larger boats.

But many still feel the routes leave out several transit-starved neighborhoods, including Canarsie, Coney Island, Brighton Beach, and Marine Park, said Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island). He has penned a letter to the Mayor with Maisel demanding he seriously take a look at the further need, and is gathering signatures from other elected officials before sending it on to City Hall.

“They face significant transportation challenges ,” said Treyger. “We need to be part of this system. You can’t call it the ‘city-wide’ system when significant regions of our city have been left out.”

But building out a proper loading dock at Canarsie Pier is more complicated than at other sites along the current routes since it’s owned and operated by the National Parks Service, and it’s unclear at this point whether it would require an act of Congress or simply some administrative work to get it up and running for the ferry. Regardless of what it takes, it’s desperately needed in neighborhoods such as Coney Island and Canarsie, which suffer from poor transportation options, said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D–Canarsie).

“The residents of Canarsie and South Brooklyn are underserved with respect to transportation options, and I completely support securing a ferry stop as soon a possible,” Jeffries said. “Treyger and I have spoken about the ferry service and we think it would make sense to have a ferry launch itself at Canarsie Pier, have a stop on the Coney Island peninsula and then make its way into lower Manhattan — that would serve the people of South Brooklyn in a way that would make sense for all involved.”

The National Parks Service is open to discussing how to accommodate service there, according to a spokeswoman for the federal agency. The Mayor’s office declined to comment, but the Economic Development Corporation would look into expansion in the future, a spokeswoman said.

“We’re currently focusing our efforts on initial rollout of NYC Ferry for this year and in 2018. If ridership demand is high and service is successful, then we may be able to consider other opportunities for expansion to more communities,” she said.

Locals are hoping that a fat stack of petition signature will prove to the city that demand is high for a ferry stop in Canarsie.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 1:11 pm, July 12, 2017
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Reader feedback

Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
Of course that any transit desert neighborhood along the waterfront like Canarsie are desperately needs more alternative public transit options such as the NYC Ferry, in which it is already above capacity.
July 12, 2017, 11:36 am
joanne from sunset says:
canarsie is the a$$hole of brooklyn. it would be a waste there.
July 12, 2017, 8:58 pm
Valeria Sowell from Canarsie/ENY says:
Greetings: The NPS writings, all begins in Washington; that is, the rules, laws, regulations, ordinances and amendments. What was written and implied in the NPS letters, accordingly in the Organic Act, states, restoration activities will be guided by natural, cultural and recreational resources and policies for explicitly for future generations and to promote the enjoyment and interaction of such. The underlying principles indicate the support and pursuit of business tactics be sustainable with the idea of a workforce: consisting of employees, volunteers, contractors, concession employees, interns and partners. I believe Starrett City development partly owned by President Donald Trump, can share the vision and dollars of owning a transportation casino boat to carry passengers to and fro from Brooklyn to Manhattan; with the casino opened in the pm to commuters as an afterwork venue. Why not? Barclay LIRR offers alcohol beverages for commuters waiting for their train. This can be a new realized initiative with Trump's partners on board of this great plan. This is not a new concept, however, and although the ordinances were written in the early and mid 60's, it was tabled in the 80's but dissolved. It is my suggestion and opinion that these big tycoons inhale from real estate businesses (houses, coops,condos), of the Bedford Armory, Pfizer an Riker's and look at (boats), for a change. The Spring Creek Mall was developed with this very same business premise. The Spring Creek Ferry is just a template of what exist. Why not offer it to Trump before a Indiana, China or Egyptian business tycoons claim territory with their dollars and power, in this economical MONOPOLY we almost live in. Thank you. Sincerely.
July 12, 2017, 9:18 pm
Joon from Canarsie says:
Canarsie Pier should not end up as a commuter parking lot for the ferry. Not a good idea for a NPS funded park. Pettitions don't make things happen. Grow up people.
July 16, 2017, 8:55 am
Pat from Canarsie says:
Well if Petitions don't work I will just wait till they build it then burn the mother ——ing thing down
July 18, 2017, 2:11 pm

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