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Community Meeting to Discuss Plan to Bring Ferry Service to Astoria

 The city is planning to bring ferry service to Astoria by 2017, the mayor said earlier this year.
The city is planning to bring ferry service to Astoria by 2017, the mayor said earlier this year.
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Flickr/Sean Davis

ASTORIA — City Councilman Costa Constantinides will host a community meeting next month to discuss the city's plan to bring ferry service to the neighborhood.

The meeting is scheduled for June 4 at 7 p.m. at the First Reformed Church of Astoria and will include a presentation by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, which will outline its plans to build a ferry dock at Hallets Point.

The addition is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to create new ferry routes across the city, announced during his State of the City address earlier this year. The service is expected to reach Astoria by 2017, officials said.

"We wanted to make sure we get people's input," Constantinides said of the meeting. "[That] we get feedback, any concerns that people have, I want to make sure we address them early."

The new ferry dock is planned for Hallets Points, a peninsula on the East River to the south of Astoria Park that's home to the Astoria Houses, and where two new major residential developments will be built over the next several years.

The Astoria Cove project, approved by the City Council in November, will bring about 1,700 apartments to the waterfront there. The city agreed to pay $5 million to build a ferry dock at the site as part of the deal.

Meanwhile, the Hallets Point development, which will build more than 2,000 apartments nearby, is expected to break ground in October. It also includes plans for a supermarket, waterfront esplanade and a public school. 

Community members had pushed for ferry service during discussions of those projects to alleviate some of the strain that the influx of new residents are expected to put on local public transit.

Constantinides said the ferry will also be helpful to current residents at Hallets Point, which is located far from the nearest subway line.

"Those who live on the Hallets Point peninsula, they can see Manhattan from their house but that’s probably the longest commute in my district," he said.

The Astoria line is expected to open in two years, officials said in February, and will offer connections to Long Island City, Roosevelt Island, East 34th Street and Pier 11/Wall Street.

Rides on the new ferry routes — which are also being planned for southern Brooklyn, the Lower East Side, Soundview and Rockaway Beach —  will cost the same as a single ride on the subway, according to the plans.

"We really are hoping and looking forward to this being a real transportation option for people," Constantinides said.

The councilman also wants to find other ways to help revitalize the Astoria waterfront, including  building an "eco dock" where small boats like kayaks could dock and that school groups could use to the learn about the East River.

The Town Hall on the Astoria Ferry Dock will take place Thursday, June 4 at 7 p.m. at the First Reformed Church of Astoria, at 27-26 12th Street in Astoria. For more information, visit the event's Facebook page.