The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) is proposing to implement an expansion of the Citywide Ferry Service (CFS) that would further provide an affordable and convenient transit option to residents in otherwise transit-isolated neighborhoods. 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 two new routes would require the construction of one new landing (Coney Island Creek) and upgrades to an existing landing (the St. George landing located at the existing NYC Department of Transportation [NYCDOT] ferry terminal). In addition, the Soundview and South Brooklyn routes would be modified to serve new and/or additional landings; this would require construction of one new landing (Ferry Point Park/Throgs Neck). A new homeport and maintenance facility (Homeport II) for the CFS fleet would also be constructed at the Atlantic Basin in Red Hook. 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. Barge replacements will be made to existing landings at Hunters Point South, South Williamsburg and Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1 locations to improve navigation and standardize equipment. There are no service changes anticipated at the Hunters Point South or South Williamsburg locations. In 2021, Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1 will no longer be served by the South Brooklyn route and will only be served by the East River route. In addition to the new ferry routes, the Citywide Ferry Service project would introduce a new shuttle bus service routes to service the proposed Midtown/West landing.
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 will be 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) Potential Mayoral Zoning Overrides related to boat capacity, permitted uses and waterfront public access and visual corridor requirements.
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.
In addition, the Citywide Ferry Service would also require 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 Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development (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 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (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 Office of the Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development 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 Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, as lead agency, issued a Positive Declaration and Draft Scope of Work for the Citywide Ferry Service Expansion, Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS). A series of 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 environmental review documents can be downloaded from CEQR Access.