Need Concerted Effort
I would like to thank Mr. Wolfson, for coming to the Rockaways last week to discuss the current situation with our ferry service.
It is my belief that all the elements needed to achieve a successful conclusion to this issue are present. Rockaway is experiencing a renaissance, and the increased population, as you pointed out, places us as the equivalent to the eighth largest city in the state.
The question now is how do we proceed? We need to tackle this problem on multiple fronts. Clearly, in order to move forward, our community needs the support of the Mayor’s office, city council, the borough president office, our federal and state elected officials and community associations.
Short term solution
Over the next three months our elected officials in Albany need to push the State to release the 5307 Federal subsidy dollars to the city. If this were to happen those dollars could be used to extend the life of the ferry service beyond this June. Long term solution
This is where a comprehensive plan needs to be developed, spearheaded by the mayor’s office pulling together multiple groups to create a win win situation for all involved.
The key groups that need to become involved are:
The Port Authority of New York
NYC’s Environmental Planning
Long Island Power Authority
City Planning, Queens Office
There is no doubt, if done properly; all of the above participants would win as a result of working together on a comprehensive plan.
Some of the elements of a comprehensive plan are:
The current National Grid site on 108th Street needs to be developed as a Technologically Advanced Ecologically Friendly Educational Center. The purpose of the site would be to demonstrate the use of new technologies i.e. solar power, wind power, water purification, management of Jamaica Bay Resources and transportation and recreation on Jamaica Bay. A building constructed on the site would be used to highlight these topics. Most of the land would be used for parking and the placement of solar panels and wind generators that would supply power to the building constructed and feed excess electricity into the LIPA lines adjacent to the land.
The waterfront property across from the National Grid land would be developed as a ferry terminal, promenade and area where people can come to fish. Smaller water ferries could deliver passengers from Kennedy airport, Flatbush Avenue and Sheepshead Bay to visit the Rockaways, or to transfer to larger water ferries for transport to Manhattan.
National Grid….great PR for their efforts to clean up the environment and work with major cities to improve the quality of life in the communities they serve.
The Port Authority of New York…. they currently have over one hundred million dollars set aside to support transportation issues in communities surrounding the airport. Funding the development of the waterfront land by this site and opening up a location for ferry service to Rockaway and Manhattan from JFK would complement the JFK shuttle to Jamaica.
NYC’s Environmental Planning Agency….can contribute to the funding of the development of the site. They can participate in educational presentations and tours of their facility directly adjacent to the site. The importance of water conservation and a clean environment for future generations could be stressed.
Long Island Power Authority….as a public service should help in highlighting the use of new technology’s and energy saving tips in conserving electricity. Power generated from the solar panels and the wind turbines should provide electricity to the site building and excess amounts fed back into their electrical grid.
City Planning, Queens Office….in developing a major development plan of this scale creates a new destination point for all residents of the city to come to and enjoy the ecologically friendly educational center, the beaches of the Rockaway’s, the surfing facilities, and many restaurants and stores.
A ferry service from the Rockaways would grow and become more viable under these conditions. A more robust schedule would need to be established, a better price point established, feeder ferries in Manhattan and the Rockaways established and a major marketing campaign to make city residents and tourists aware of the Rockaways as a destination point for multiple reasons.
An effort of this scale is worth taking on; it enhances the mayor’s current 2030 initiative for the city improving the quality of life for all residents of the city.