February 17, By Hannah Wulkan
Construction is underway at the new Astoria ferry dock in Halletts Cove, according to the NYC Economic Development Corporation, and is on schedule to open this summer.
The dock will be installed over the next few weeks, and will consist of a gangway leading out on to a barge with seating and ticketing that the ferries will dock at, said an EDC representative at the Old Astoria Neighborhood Association meeting Wednesday night.
The EDC is also working to install adequate lighting in Halletts Cove to ensure safety and visibility after dark.
The EDC will launch three new ferry routes with 16 new boats on the East River this coming summer, including one connecting Astoria to Roosevelt Island, Long Island City and Manhattan. The other two will service the Rockaways and South Brooklyn.
By the summer of 2018, there will be five new routes along with the existing East River route and 19 new ferry boats.
Once fully operational, the East River ferry service will have 21 landings and expects to provide about 4.6 million trips per year, according to Hornblower, the company running the new ferry operations. Its plan would mark a steep increase from the existing 1.6 million trips per year that the current East River Ferry service provides.
The new ferryboats are currently under construction in Alabama and Louisiana, according to Hornblower, and will each have a capacity of 149 passengers, and will also have bike, wheelchair and stroller storage.
The new boats will also have concessions on board including alcoholic beverages, and Hornblower is working to ensure that the boats sell primarily locally produced products.
Once running, the ferries will run trips from about 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Councilman Costa Constantinides is also making progress on the proposed eco-dock nearby in Halletts Cove, which is close to entering the design phase, he said the meeting.
The eco-dock would float on the river and work as a site to launch kayaks and educational programming on the river.
Constantinides said that the project is close to entering the design phase, and that he and the EDC are meeting about it, and there will be community outreach in the coming months to work on the design for it.
When asked whether the kayaks from the eco-dock and ferries would interfere with one another, an EDC representative said that a barrier to protect the kayaks between the two docks would be part of the design process for the eco-dock.
The representative added that the ferry service would launch several years before the kayak program, so there would be time to figure out appropriate routes and preventative measures to ensure the boats do not interfere with one another.