The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) is proposing to implement an expansion of the Citywide Ferry Service (CFS). The proposed CFS Expansion would promote equity by further providing an affordable and convenient transit option to residents in otherwise transit-isolated neighborhoods and connecting these residents to employment opportunities in the city’s commercial districts. The proposed expanded ferry service would continue to accommodate fast-growing residential and commercial areas on the waterfront that are not as well served by the city’s subway system, and continue to extend one of the city’s most flexible and resilient transit alternatives in support of the city’s emergency preparedness and ability to respond to storm and flooding events and transit service disruptions. The privately-operated commuter and recreational transit service is paid for by the City of New York and NYCEDC and managed by NYCEDC.
The proposed expansion would consist of the addition of two new routes (Coney Island and St. George) to the seven routes currently in operation (Astoria, East River, Lower East Side, Rockaway, Soundview, and South Brooklyn as well as a seasonal summer shuttle to Governors Island). The new Coney Island route would require the construction of one new landing at Coney Island Creek. The new St. George route would include a new landing at St. George and landings at two existing terminals in Manhattan (Battery Park City and Midtown West).
In addition, the Soundview and South Brooklyn routes would be modified to serve new and/or additional landings: the Soundview route would be extended to serve a new landing at Throgs Neck/Ferry Point Park, and service to the Sunset Park neighborhood on the South Brooklyn route would be shifted to a new landing at Bush Terminal. The new St. George route is expected to begin service in 2020; the new Coney Island route and the modified Soundview and South Brooklyn routes are expected to begin service in 2021. A new homeport and maintenance facility (Homeport II) for the CFS fleet would also be constructed at the Atlantic Basin in Red Hook, and is expected to begin operation in 2022. With the proposed expansion, the CFS would continue to provide frequent, daily service between 6:30 am and 10:00 pm on weekdays and weekends to a total of 26 landings.
The original CFS project was the subject of a previous Environmental Impact Statement in 2016 (the Citywide Ferry Service Final Environmental Impact Statement [FEIS] CEQR No.15DME009Y). Because the proposed CFS Expansion may potentially result in significant adverse environmental impacts that were not identified in the 2016 FEIS, a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) will be prepared.
The proposed project would require multiple City approvals. Some of these approvals are discretionary actions requiring review under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR). The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development (ODMHED), is the lead agency for CEQR. It is anticipated that the proposed Citywide Ferry Service Expansion would require approval of several discretionary actions including the following:
1) Capital expenditures by the City of New York to provide funding for procurement of barge and gangway infrastructure for use at landings;
2) Potential decision to provide funding for the operation of the CFS; and
3) Mayoral Zoning Override to waive regulations under Waterfront Zoning (Article VI, Chapter 2 of the Zoning Resolution of the City of New York [ZR]) relating to parking requirements for dock facilities (ZR §62-43), visual corridors and waterfront public access areas (ZR §62-50; specifically §62-513), design requirements for waterfront public access areas (ZR §62-60), and special review by the City Planning Commission (ZR §62-80). In addition, the Mayoral Zoning Override approval would update the previously approved CFS Override to include the current capacity of vessels that have been purchased since 2016 at all landing locations.The implementation of the proposed CFS Expansion would also require permitting approvals from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYCDEC) and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) where in-water construction activities would occur. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) would serve in an advisory role for the issuance of the USACE permit and would have regulatory authority over the design and operation of vessels. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) would also be consulted as required.
The implementation of the proposed CFS Expansion would also require permitting approvals from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) where in-water construction activities would occur. The U.S. Coast Guard would serve in an advisory role for the issuance of the USACE permit and would have regulatory authority over the design and operation of vessels. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) would also be consulted as required.
In addition, the Citywide Ferry Service would also require New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) approvals to operate a private ferry service and/or to use landings under the jurisdiction of NYCDOT. Additional permitting not subject to CEQR or SEQRA, such as disposal of dredge material, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation design review and New York City Department of Small Business Services permits for in water structures, will also be required to achieve the project. Finally, a proforma license from PANYNJ (not subject to CEQR) would be required for the Battery Park landing.
2016 Citywide Ferry Service EIS
On August 12, 2015, the Office of the ODMHED, as lead agency for the CEQR environmental review, issued an Environmental Assessment Statement (EAS) and a Positive Declaration for the Citywide Ferry Service indicating that there was the potential for adverse environmental impacts due to the project and directed that a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) be prepared. At the same time, a Draft Scope of Work for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was issued for public comment.
A series of public scoping meetings was scheduled to provide a forum for public comments on this Draft Scope of Work. Written comments on the Draft Scope of Work were accepted until October 8, 2015. The Final Scope of Work was issued on April 18, 2016.
The Notice of Completion for the DEIS was issued on April 18, 2016, which marked the beginning of the public comment period on this document. A series of public hearings on the DEIS was scheduled to provide a forum for public comments on the DEIS. The comment period for the DEIS remained open until June 5, 2016. Written comments that were post-marked by Monday, June 6, 2016 were also accepted into the record.
On July 28, 2016, the ODMHED issued the Notice of Completion for the Final Environmental Impact Statement, marking the completion of the project’s CEQR environmental review.
2019 Citywide Ferry Service Expansion SEIS
On May 7, 2019, the Office of the ODMHED, as lead agency, issued a Positive Declaration and Draft Scope of Work for the Citywide Ferry Service Expansion, Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS). Public meetings were held to provide a forum for public comments on the Draft Scope of Work. Written comments were accepted until 5:00 P.M. on Monday, July 1, 2019.
The Final Scope of Work and Notice of Completion for the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) were issued on January 28, 2020, marking the beginning of the public comment period on this document. The comment period for the DSEIS will remain open March 16, 2020. UPDATE: In consideration of the Coronavirus outbreak, the public comment period has been extended to March 30, 2020. Public hearings were scheduled at the following dates/times/locations:
March 2, 2020
Staten Island Borough Hall
10 Richmond Terrace
Staten Island, NY 10301
March 3, 2020
Villa Barone Manor
737 Throgs Neck Expressway
Bronx, NY 10465
March 4, 2020
P.S. 90 Edna Cohen School
2840 W 12th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11224
March 5, 2020
6 River Terrace
New York, NY 10282
Written comments on the DSEIS are requested and will be received and considered by the Lead Agency until 5:00 P.M. Monday March 16, 2020 and may be submitted to the project contact below. UPDATE: In consideration of the Coronavirus outbreak, the public comment period has been extended to March 30, 2020.
Mayor’s Office of Environmental Coordination
Attn: Denise Pisani, Deputy Director
100 Gold Street, 2nd Floor
New York, New York 10038
The environmental review documents can be downloaded from CEQR Access.