Monday, September 22, 2014

Queens Public Transit Committee Seeks Funding For Lower Manhattan-Rockaway Ferry

Lower Manhattan, Sept. 22, 2014 - A rally was held tonight as residents of southern Queens invaded  Lower Manhattan in an effort to remind people that if enough support isn’t generated to save the ferry from the Rockaways to Manhattan, the service will end, making the trip by subway or express bus a longer trip and much less enjoyable.

The mission statement of the Queens Public Transit Committee is to improve all transportation options for Queens and the Pier 11 in Manhattan to Rockaway Peninsula is no exception. With Mayor deBlasio eliminating funding for the ferry link, residents of southern Queens are furious and have taken to the streets. The Belle Harbor Property Owners Association is also involved as they seek to protect and enhance the quality of life in their community. The Ferry is the common thread that binds both organizations.

Queens Public Transit Committee Chairman Phillip McManus has been fighting for keeping the ferry going but it’s been an uphill fight. To get the attention of Lower Manhattan, he’s organized a walking rally to let people know about it. He said, “We’ll arrive on the ferry at about 5:15 pm at Pier 11 and hold a press conference under the FDR near Wall Street. We will collect names and contact information to organize the passengers.  We will also have speeches and a photo opportunity. We’re following up on a rally we had on the steps of City Hall a couple of months ago as part of a process to educate the public about the funding cutoff.”

The plan was to march through areas such as Water Street and Stone Street which is where many people congregate so they can get the word about the ferry service discontinuance.

Through their past efforts, they accumulated an array of political figures dedicated to keeping the ferry going. Among them is Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. She said in a letter to Mayor deBlasio that, “…The Rockaway Ferry is a necessity for the Rockaway Peninsula and vital to its resiliency plans. Since the inception of the Rockaway Ferry in 2012, residents have come to view it as a primary means of transportation into Manhattan.”

New York State Assemblyman Philip Goldfeder has been a long-time backer of improving transportation options in southern Queens as healthier transportation options means greater economic opportunity.

Support for the ferry isn’t limited to Queens but to Brooklyn as well. City Councilman Vincent Gentile recently said at the June 11 rally on the steps of City Hall, “Other areas in the country would kill for a waterfront like we have here in New York. I want to emphasize the stopover in Brooklyn on the way to the Rockaways. One ride on the ferry and you’re hooked as opposed to riding the subway. If people knew if they could get to Manhattan and back easily with a ferry, they’d use it.”
The walking rally headed south to the Staten Island Ferry, the Statue of Liberty Ferry and walk north on Broadway to Wall Street and loop back to the ferry to Queens while giving out posters, flyers and asking people to sign petitions. 

Before hopping on to the 7:45 pm ferry back to the Rockaways, Phil McManus showed optimism and said, “The Queens Public Transit Committee supports faster transportation including the Queens Rockaway Ferry.  We refuse to be second class citizens in a city where everyone else’s concerns seem to come first.”

No comments:

Post a Comment