City lawmakers are holding a hearing today to discuss the state of ferry service in the five boroughs, with advocates and transportation experts expected to testify in support of expanding use of the waterways for transit.
The disruption to subways and buses by Superstorm Sandy brought renewed attention to the potential of the city's "blue highways." For instance, when the subway to the isolated Rockaway Peninsula was knocked out, emergency ferry service provided a critical connection for commuters needing to get to Manhattan.
Advocates say expanded ferry service would create redundancy to the transit network, connect far-flung communities that have no other reliable transit and be available during emergencies.
Gotham Gazette took an in-depth look at the issue back in April.
The joint hearing of the Council's transportation, waterfront and economic development committees begins at 1 p.m. today.
UPDATE: Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that the Rockaway ferry service will be extended for an additional six weeks, with weekend service added beginning July 4. City Councilman Donovan Richards, whose district includes part of the peninsula, praised the mayor. “This ferry has provided some much needed relief for our residents during an extremely trying time," he said in a statement. "For many people on the peninsula, the Rockaway ferry will remain the preferred method of transportation to Manhattan."