It took Hurricane Sandy and the destruction of the Broad Channel rail bridge last October — and the ensuing seven-month disruption of direct A train subway service — to return ferry service between the Rockaways and Manhattan.
Now, with public officials hoping to make the ferry permanent, the city’s Economic Development Corporation plans to study the feasibility of adding a second Rockaway site to the one already at Beach Channel Drive and Beach 108th Street.
And elected officials who represent the peninsula in City Hall and in Albany want to do all they can to encourage the EDC.
Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Beach) said any investment in transportation for the peninsula is welcome.
“I started a petition for people who want to make ferry service permanent,” Goldfeder said. “Within three days I had 2,000 signatures, and now we’re up to 3,000.”
While acknowledging that a study is no guarantee of expanded service, State Sen. Joe Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), a long-time proponent of ferry service even prior to Sandy, said the EDC is taking a step in the right direction.
Goldfeder said he enjoys the ferry run.
“It’s a nice ride, and it gets you to Manhattan in 40 minutes,” he said. Door to door on the A train, he said, can take more than an hour.
And Addabbo said it would benefit not only residents but those looking to take a trip to Rockaway’s beaches and other attractions.
“A second site just makes sense,” he said.
Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) concurred.
“With the return of the A train last week, it is imperative that we continue to have as many transportation alternatives as possible,” he said. “Creating a ferry stop between the east end of the peninsula and Manhattan will not only increase ridership, but decrease traveling time for my constituents as well.”
Richards said the study is set to conclude in September.