ARVERNE — Hope floats for a commuter ferry service to the east end of the Rockaways.
City Councilman Donovan Richards Jr. said at a community meeting Tuesday night that the city's Economic Development Corporation has agreed to study whether a permanent ferry service between Manhattan and two stops on the peninsula is feasible.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the city began a temporary ferry service stopping at Beach 108th Street at Beach Channel Drive and Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan. The Seastreak ferries were expected to end when the A train returned to full service in the Rockaways last month.
Richards said the EDC would conduct a study in the fall to see if a Manhattan commuter ferry that stopped at 108th Street and a point farther east would make sense as a permanent service. The councilman has suggested Beach 67th Street, near the Arverne by the Sea development, as a second stop.
The councilman, who represents the area, believes the second stop would boost ridership. The 108th Street stop isn't convenient for many residents in east Rockaway, said Richards' spokesman, Malik Sanders.
"For a lot of residents in the Rockaways, it's a trip in itself to get up to the ferry," Sanders said. "If you live in the 20s, you have to go four miles to get to the ferry."
The EDC said that it has no present plans to launch any additional landings in the Rockaways.
However, it said the east Rockaway study is part of its comprehensive look at the feasibility of various ferry sites around the city. After determining which are feasible, the agency will conduct a more detailed analysis of those sites.
Joe Hartigan, a longtime advocate of bringing ferries to the Rockaways, said getting the money to fund a permanent route should be the top priority.
"The people of Rockaway have to use it or lose it," Hartigan said. "The politicians have to stop talking and get the money and get it done and start producing."