Queens BP Richards approves LaGuardia Airport boat service

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Planes, trains and… a ferry?

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards is on board with a new concept launched by the Port Authority to get people to and from LaGuardia Airport – a new ferry service linking Manhattan’s East Side.

“For me, what is obvious is the ferry service. For me, opening waterway access is an attractive option,” Richards told The Post on Friday, while discussing the AP’s preliminary proposals to improve transit service for Queens Airport.

“It gets cars off the road. This reduces carbon emissions.

The AP, which oversees airports in the region, offered more than a dozen transportation options to LGA after Governor Kathy Hochul ditched the disgraced ex-governor. AirTrain, Andrew Cuomo’s $2.1 billion pet between the airport and eastern Queens, and ordered the bi-state authority back to the drawing board. A group of experts has been formed to assess the possibilities for moving forward.

One option – the boat service – would be to have shuttles take passengers to ferry landings in Bowery Bay or Flushing Bay.

The proposed ferry would cruise along the East River and make stops at East 90th Street, East 34th Street and Pier 11 downtown.

Richards called the proposed Queens airport ferry a “no-brainer” that would reduce carbon emissions from cars.
James Messerschmidt

Richards noted the expansion of ferry service across the city under former Mayor Bill de Blasio and the popular use of the Staten Island Ferry as bolstering the case for LGA ferry service.

But transit experts question the concept’s financial viability – citing low ridership on the city’s ferry lines, which receive millions of dollars in city subsidies, as well as the failures of past ferry experiments at LGA.

“Most New Yorkers are a long way from a ferry dock, and most ferry docks don’t connect to the subway,” said Jon Orcutt, a consultant for Reinvent Albany who served under Mayor Bloomberg. “We think it will be low attendance, although it will be relatively easy to do.”

Orcutt said transit advocates want the airport transit link to be part of the existing MTA network, unlike the JFK AirTrain, which requires passengers to exit the subway system and pay an additional $8. $ on top of their MTA fare.

“AirTrain-like shuttle systems have the drawbacks of extra transfers, extra fares — outrageous fares like you see at JFK,” Orcutt said.

By adding to existing bus and subway networks, on the other hand, officials “could utilize existing subway yards and bus maintenance,” Orcutt said. “You don’t need this bespoke thing where you have to build a separate maintenance facility at Willets Point.”

Richards also said he would support the expansion of bus <a class=services to the airport.” class=”wp-image-21595238″ srcset=”https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/03/Donovan-Richards2.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=1535 1536w, https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/03/Donovan-Richards2.jpg?quality=90&strip=all 1024w, https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/03/Donovan-Richards2.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=512 512w” sizes=”(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px”/>
Richards also said he would support the expansion of bus services to the airport.
Gregory P. Mango

Richards, the leader of Queens, has expressed openness to all options. He said he would welcome the expansion of bus service – including rapid transit bus connections to and from subway stops along the N/W line near Astoria and the Northern Boulevard stop on the R/M line at Woodside, and the improvement of existing M60 and Q70 bus services. for the airport.

“Expanded bus service, to me, is an easy lift,” Richards said.

Any expansion of transit that would require approval from the MTA, which is currently redrawing bus routes in Queens. Hochul, through his appointees, has influence over both the MTA and the Port Authority.

The AP’s list of 14 proposals — which will be subject to independent analysis — also revives a version of the controversial Cuomo-backed AirTrain to Citi Field, which has been mocked by transit advocates and elected officials from Queens, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for taking passengers east to Long Island instead of west to Manhattan.

The Port Authority has proposed 14 options to improve access to LaGuardia Airport.
The Port Authority has proposed 14 options to improve access to LaGuardia Airport.
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Other options include a light rail going to Subway Stations N at Astoria Boulevard, Station 7 at Woodside/61st Station, or Jackson Heights. There is even a proposal for a line to Jamaica, providing a connection between LaGuardia and JFK airport.

Logistical issues include avoiding the LGA track, which means going underground. The Astoria Boulevard line is expected to bypass the Hell Gate Bridge and the overpasses above the Grand Central Parkway.

Another proposal would extend the MTA’s N/W subway lines to stops at or near the airport. In the past, Astoria residents have opposed the N line extension that would cause disruption in the neighborhood.

Richards said a cost-benefit analysis must be done to determine the best rail option.

“There’s a little something here for everyone,” said the borough president. “This plan moves Queens into the future.”

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