Volume 18 • Issue 30 | December 9 - 15, 2005

Downtown Express photos by Lorenzo Ciniglio

Construction work at the new ferry terminal site, above, while the temporary terminal is just up the river near Rockefeller Park.

B.P.C. ferry terminal’s costs go up with project delays

By Ronda Kaysen

A new commuter ferry terminal in Battery Park City will take six months longer to complete and cost $13.5 million more to build, Port Authority officials said Tuesday.

Work began on the new five-slip, floating ferry terminal near the New York Mercantile Exchange building and World Financial Center in April 2004. The original, 2-slip terminal was removed a year earlier and a temporary terminal has been moored at Rockefeller Park near North Cove ever since — to the dismay of many park visitors.

The $69-million terminal, when it is completed in January 2007, will have 22,000 sq. ft. of public space, a heated waiting area with benches, public bathroom facilities and a kiosk. Designed with a peaked-roof and glass walls, the 200-foot long barge will provide double the capacity of the temporary terminal.

The ferry terminal project has been hampered by delays since its inception. Originally funded in 2000, plans were stalled in 2001. In the spring of 2003, the terminal was relocated to its current location in Rockefeller Park and the new terminal was expected to open in the summer of 2005. But work didn’t begin until 2004 and later estimates continued to setback the opening date.

A conflict with a local contractor enlisted to construct the barge caused the most recent delay, said Janet Cox, general manger for ferry transportation at the Port Authority. The project was scheduled to be completed in spring 2006, although it has been in the works since 2000. A contractor in Ingleside, Texas is now constructing the barge, which is only 20 percent complete. The barge delays cost the Port Authority $13.5 million, said Cox, bringing the overall cost to $69 million.

“We are behind schedule,” Cox said at a Community Board 1 Battery Park City Committee meeting on Tuesday.

The completed barge is now expected to arrive by water from Texas to Brooklyn in June 2006 and be moored to the new terminal in October, which is currently undergoing construction.

Work on the esplanade will be completed next week and the Port Authority will finish work on the terminal for the year on December 15 and resume work again on April 15.

Billy Bey Ferry Company and New York Waterway use the terminal for service to Hoboken, Colgate, Weehawken, Jersey City and Monmouth County, serving 7,700 commuters a day. Port Authority has released a request for proposal to provide service to Yonkers as well.

Weekend ferry service has been suspended since 9/11 and some residents miss the easy connection to New Jersey for weekend travel. “It used to be something I looked forward to doing,” said C.B. 1 member Sheila Rossi. “We, as residents, always feel shafted.”

Ferry representatives gave no indication at the meeting that weekend service would return in the foreseeable future.

Ridership has decreased since the [W.T.C.] PATH came back on line,” said Cox.

Nearby residents have long voiced concern that ferry boats moored near their park emitted pollutants that were unhealthy to breath. Currently, 70 percent of the ferries have been converted to low emission diesel engines, the same percentage as it was over the summer.

Eventually, the new terminal will be near a connection to the Santiago Calatrava-designed World Trade center PATH station, which is currently under construction, and the new Fulton transit hub, which is also under construction.

Ronda@DowntownExpress.com


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