2011-06-24 / Letters

The Long Commute

Dear Editor,

The establishment of a new ferry service between Long Island City, Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Governors Island by NY Waterways is great news, but left out other neighborhoods. Services on similar past routes have come and gone including from the Rockaways, due to financial deficits. Farebox revenues for past private ferry operators were insufficient to cover operating costs. This latest round of new ferry services is supported by over $6 million in direct subsidies from the City.

Most of our existing public transportation and roadways are already operating at or above capacity. New ferry services can be implemented far more quickly than construction of new subway, commuter rail or highways.

These can take years or even decades by the time you complete environmental reviews, planning, design, engineering, real estate acquisition, permits, procurements, construction, budgeting, identifying and securing funding over time to cover all of the various project costs before reaching beneficial use. Completing all of the above along with finding funding for ferry boats, docks and parking with costs in the millions may be easier than finding the billions of dollars necessary for construction of new or extended subways, commuter rail transportation or highways.

Utilization of ferry boats can also make a positive contribution to air quality. Manywill now be able to enjoy the fresh air, breeze and harbor views when traveling to Lower and Midtown Manhattan just like the 60,000 plus riders who use the Staten Island Ferry.

Residents of the Rockaways will continue having to make due with a long ride on the A train; Q53 bus to Woodside with a transfer to either the #7 subway or Long Island Rail Road; Q21 to Woodhaven with connections to the M or R subway; Q35 to Brooklyn College with a transfer to either the #2 or 5 subway; QM 16 or QM 17 express buses to Midtown Manhattan or travel across the City Line to catch the Long Island Rail Road at Far Rockaway. In many cases, the commute for Rockaway residents to the financial district or midtown Manhattan will remain longer than others traveling from Long Island, the Hudson Valley, Connecticut and New Jersey to similar destinations.

LARRY PENNER

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