Transportation Nation

As PATH Stations Close for Weekend Work, Ferry Service Opens...For Now

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Journal Square and World Trade Center PATH stations will be closed for most weekends in 2014 so the Port Authority can conduct Sandy work and upgrades to the rail line. But starting this weekend, there will be another option across the least for the next six weeks.

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Transportation Nation

Quinn's Transit Vision: Long on Buses, Ferries, Short on Bike Share

Thursday, April 11, 2013

New York City Council speaker Christine Quinn gave voters their first detailed glimpse into what her transportation agenda would be if she's elected Mayor. It's like Bloomberg's -- but without the big, bold visions.

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Transportation Nation

Ferry Update: East River Ferries Coming Back, SI Ferry No Timeline

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

UPDATED Wednesday 8:20 pm: East River Ferry service is coming back Thursday broken into two loops. The northern loop connects Long Island City and North Williamsburg to 34th Street. The southern loop connects North Williamsburg, Brooklyn Bridge Park and Wall Street.

Ferry landings in Greenpoint and South Williamsburg will remain closed due to Hurricane damage.

The ferries will run from 7 a.m. to 6.p.m.

POSTED Wednesday 5:45 pm: The NY DOT is still repairing the Staten Island Ferry terminals and doesn't have an estimate for getting the boats out on the water again following Hurricane Sandy's storm surge on Sunday night.

New York Waterway  resumed some ferry service along the Hudson River Wednesday.

The NY Department of Transportation, the agency that operates that Staten Island Ferry explained, “"There was considerable damage to the terminals and to the electrical components of the docks that operate the movable ramps, all of which were submerged in the storm surge. As we've cleaned the terminals around the clock and closely assessed and repaired each slip we're getting closer to having all the pieces necessary to restore service safely. We still have more damage assessment and recovery left at St. George in particular before we will have a firm estimate on when service will resume." The agency hopes to make an announcement "soon."

The ferries themselves were undamaged in the storm and are ready to go. That was achieved by mooring them at a maintenance facility with full crew and engines online throughout the storm.

On Sunday, 47,000 runners will head to Staten Island to start the New York Marathon ... most will want to use the SI Ferry.

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Transportation Nation

Almost Half Of Staten Island Ferry Fleet Crippled By Chronic Engine Trouble

Friday, April 20, 2012


Staten Island Ferry looking iconic as it crosses New York harbor. (Photo by shiny red type)

(New York, NY - WNYC) The Staten Island Ferry is free to passengers, but engine problems with three of the fleet's seven boats are costing the city millions. And that's causing a showdown between the city Department of Transportation and NYC Comptroller John Liu.

DOT says the ferry's three largest boats, which cost $139 million, have had problems with their propulsion systems since they went into service in 2005 and 2006. The department says the original contractor, the Wisonsin-based Manitowoc Marine Corporation, has failed repeatedly to fix them. So the department has asked Liu to approve an emergency contract of $9.5 million to hire Siemens to do the job.

DOT Spokesman Scott Gastel said in a statement to TN that, “This vendor will be a one stop shop for an integrated propulsion system on all three boats, an upgrade that will benefit over 65,000 passengers who rely on the Ferry each day. We clearly explained to the Comptroller why the new Siemens products are needed.”

Liu is not pleased. He said, "It's appalling that the highly-touted new ferry boats are still saddled with defects and more troubling that the DOT has no clear solution for resolving these longstanding problems.”

The comptroller is only approving $3.2 million for repair work on one of the ferries, which is in dry dock in Virginia. He says if that goes well, he might approve more. In the meantime, ferry riders must make do with boats have trouble getting up to speed.

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Transportation Nation

SF Ferries Prepare for Crunch From Bridge Closure

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ferries on the San Francisco Bay. photo by Julie Caine

Getting into San Francisco from the East Bay might be a little more difficult than usual this weekend. The upper deck of the Bay Bridge is scheduled to be completely closed to traffic until 5 o’clock Tuesday morning, so Caltrans can do work on the new span. To help compensate, BART is adding extra trains and all-night service. But if traveling in the Transbay Tube isn’t for you, there is another option: You can take a ferry.

Before there ever was a Golden Gate Bridge or a Bay Bridge, people who wanted to cross the Bay did it by boat. At their peak, ferries carried over 46 million passengers a year.

“The Bay Area used to be built around ferries,” said Tony Bruzzone, a transportation planner who specializes in public transit for ARUP, a design firm with offices in San Francisco. “It was set up as an integrated system with trains. Piedmont and Broadway in Oakland and even Berkeley all had trains that came in and folded in where the Bay Bridge is now onto big ferry boats, and then everybody would come across on the ferry. The reason that the bridge was built in the 1930s was that people got tired of that. They wanted direct access.”

This weekend, however, some of that direct access will be cut off. KALW’s transportation reporter Julie Caine got on board a ferry to find out how one of the Bay Area’s most old-fashioned forms of transportation is poised to handle a modern commuter crunch.

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Transportation Nation

Boomtime for Ferry Boats

Friday, January 13, 2012

East River ferry (photo by synergii1 via Flickr)

The nation's oldest ferry may have closed this year, but more than 40 others opened their doors and docks since 2008, according to a Department of Transportation census released today. Since 2008, there has been a net increase of 60 ferry boats chugging through American waterways.

The DOT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics biennial study, National Census of Ferry Operators finds the United States has 233 ferry operators reaching 520 terminals in 36 states and two U.S. territories totaling almost 640 active vessels.

Want more ferry facts? Head on over to BTS' Ferry Database or this handy chart comparing ferries and all other types of transit by revenue, passenger miles, and all kinds of other transit-y variables. Geek out and let us know what you find.

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Transportation Nation

Nation's Oldest Ferry to Close

Friday, July 15, 2011

(Photo (cc) by Flickr user rbglasson)

The nation's oldest continuously operating ferry boat service will shut down after 356 years due to budget cuts in Connecticut.

Historical archives say the Rocky Hill Ferry has been crossing the Connecticut River since 1655. It was privately operated, mostly by local families under state charter, for 260 years before being adopted by the state in 1915. It is currently operated by the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

The state historic landmark marker posted at the site of the ferry (photo below) reads:

"Since 1655, public transportation across the Connecticut River has been provided at this site ... Motive power has been supplied at various times by poles, oars, a horse treadmill and a steam engine."

The Connecticut DOT website states:

"At one time, a horse on a treadmill in the center of the craft supplied the power to propel the craft across the river. In 1876, the ferry was "modernized" into a steam driven craft.  Today's craft is an open flatboat named the "Hollister III".  The three-car barge is towed back and forth by the "Cumberland," a diesel powered towboat."

The Ferry service costs about $345,000 to operate, according to local press reports. Governor Dannel Malloy has put the Rocky Hill and Chester-Hadlyme ferries--in operation 242 years--on the chopping block as part of an effort to close a $1.6 billion budget gap. Employees have been notified their jobs will be eliminated and service halted on August 25.

(Photo (cc) by Flickr user dougtone)

If anyone knows what the new oldest continuously operating ferry is, please post in comments.

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Transportation Nation

New East River Ferry Commuter Service Begins This Month

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Seth Pinsky, announcing the new East River ferry service (photo by Brian Zumhagen/WNYC)

(Brian Zumhagen, WNYC) A new, year-round commuter ferry is coming to New York's East River this month. It will leave from East 34th Street and Pier 11 in Manhattan and make stops in Long Island City, Williamsburg and Dumbo.

The New York Waterway ferries will run every 20 minutes during rush hour and, in the summer, will stop at Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, as well as Governors Island.

"It will spur economic development on both sides of the river," said New York City Economic Development Corporation president Seth Pinsky, who announced details of the plans on Wednesday, "with literally thousands of residents within walking distance of the neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan being able to reap the benefits of this new service.”

The launch is scheduled for June 13 and rides will be free for the first 12 days. After that, a one-way ticket will cost $4.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: NY's $14m Fare Beaters, and NJ's Legal Bills to Fight ARC Tunnel Repayment Mounting

Monday, March 14, 2011

A blind man in California uses echolocation to ride a bike. (NPR)

The NY Times Week in Review takes a look at anti-bike lane sentiment, and offers an interesting theory about bike lane acceptance and normative behavior: Yeah, mini-van drivers are unhappy, Elisabeth Rosenthal writes,   "But of course, that is partly the point. As a matter of environmental policy, a principal benefit of bike lanes is that they tip the balance of power away from driving and toward a more sustainable form of transportation." (New York Times)

New York plans a $3 billion overhaul to the waterfront - complete with more waterfront parks and biking paths, dredging for bigger ships, and more ferries. (AP via WSJ)

Fare beaters cost NY's MTA $14 million annually. (New York Daily News)

So far, NJ has racked up a $330,000 legal bill in its fight with the feds over the repayment of ARC money. (Star-Ledger)

DC's DOT is considering new regulations for curbside intercity buses. (Washington Post)

"Smart bridges" use electronic sensors to check structural health. (New York Times)

Top Transportation Nation Stories we're following: Florida's high-speed rail money will be available to other states through a competitive process. If gas hits $5 a gallon, that could mean over a billion new trips on public transit. And economists are weighing in on the bike lane debate.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

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Transportation Nation

NY East River to Get Regular Commuter Ferry Service

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) New Yorkers who commute between Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens will have another transportation option this June. The city's Economic Development Corporation has awarded a contract that charts a course  for all-day, year-round East River ferry service.

The ferries will be operated by the BillyBey Ferry Company, a division of New York Waterway. They'll run every 20 minutes in both directions and make seven stops between Long Island City and the Fulton Ferry Landing. Two additional seasonal stops — to Atlantic Avenue and Governors Island— are also in the works.

Paul Goodman, CEO of  BillyBey, is confident that the reliability of the service — coupled with the convenience — will help the ferries build a following.

“When you ride along the waterfront, there are lots of areas where we are simply going to be the more convenient option,” he said. “And with the assistance of the city, in terms of the subsidy they're providing, this is going to be priced very attractively as well.”

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Cuomo's Budget Hits Transit With $100 Million Cut, NYC To Begin Year-Round East River Ferry Service, and Right Now Is a Good Time To Be In th

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget cuts transit by $100 million. (WNYC)

Right now is a good time to be in the road salt business. (WBUR)

Rock salt in Chelsea, MA (David Boeri/WBUR)

Year-round ferry service will begin on the East River this June. "The service is an attempt by the Bloomberg administration and the City Council to create a robust and viable mass transit alternative for a growing waterfront population that has struggled with clogged subway lines and bus routes that have been truncated or eliminated altogether." (New York Times)

Toyota's sales jumped 17% last month. Pretty good -- but not as good as Ford. (CNBC)

A new report says that President Obama's goal of putting 1 million plug-in electric cars on the road within four years is unlikely, because automakers aren't planning to make enough cars due to uncertain consumer demand. (Washington Post)

...And this is illustrated by Jalopnik, which says that Chevy sold 312 Volts last month. And 28,172 Silverado pickups.

Chicago's Metra commuter line gets a new director. (Chicago Tribune)

Transportation Nation director Andrea Bernstein will be on today's Brian Lehrer Show (WNYC). Topic? "The Interstate of the Union."

San Francisco has cut school buses by 50 percent while increasing transit fares; one Bay Area politician wants to help students out by making the system free to students for the rest of the school year. (Bay Citizen)

And you shall know them by their bikes: Good says that the graphic Bikes of San Francisco "makes (a) compelling case for the bike as the marker of neighborhood identity, and does so with uncanny accuracy."

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following:  Real-time bus information finally one line in Brooklyn.  House Republicans want to dump the federal urban transit program "New Starts," which could imperil a number of projects -- including Houston's light rail expansion.  Red light cameras save lives--and engender controversy.  And: as reported above, Governor Cuomo's budget hits NY's mass transit with another $100 million cut.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

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Transportation Nation

Pelosi Defends Solar-Powered Ferry As Stimulus

Thursday, July 15, 2010

(Washington, DC -- Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is defending a transportation project in her home district, saying it would help spur the renewable energy industry in the U.S.

Pelosi put the $500,000 earmark in an upcoming transportation spending bill, saying the money would fund two solar-powered ferries from San Francisco to Berkeley, across the Bay.

The project fell under criticism Tuesday from Citizens Against Government Waste, an anti-earmarking group in Washington. "In this instance, going green wastes the taxpayers' greenbacks,"

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Transportation Nation

Prince Harry Causes GrId-lock at Governors Island Dock

Monday, June 28, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) Governors Island lies in New York harbor a short ferry ride from Brooklyn and Manhattan, within spitting distance of the Statue of Liberty. It's one of the jewels in the crown of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's New York, a shared public space accessible only by (free) boat, one you can get around only on foot, bike, or tram. A space filled with public art, free hammocks, and award-winning street vendor food.

But yesterday, thanks to the Prince of England, that vision of a plebian park paradise collided with, well, royalty.

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