October 15, 2014
Dear Mayor de Blasio:
The Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy (JBRPC) is dedicated to improving the 10,000 acres of public parkiand around Jamaica Bay and throughout the Rockaway peninsula. One of the greatest challenges to making these extraordinary open spaces accessible to local communities and visitors alike—and aiding in the ongoing post-Sandy recovery—is the limited transportation options. Consequently, JBRPC would like to express its support for increased public access to the Rockaways through expanded and improved subway, bus, and ferry service.
The City has made great strides in improving public transportation—from Bus Rapid Transit routes to bike lanes to its once-neglected waterways. Ferry service has increased along the East River, to and from Staten Island, and thanks to the quick response of the Economic Development Corporation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, to the Rockaways at Beach 1 08 th Street. JBRPC commends these efforts and encourages the City to not only maintain Rockaway ferry service, but to expand it to other destinations on the peninsula—particularly to isolated areas of Far Rockaway as well as across Jamaica Bay to serve the communities of Canarsie and East New York—and provide much-needed weekend service.
This past summer, JBRPC sponsored the Rockaway! public arts festival to celebrate the reopening of historic Fort Tilden and recognize the ongoing recovery of the Rockaway peninsula. In its two-month run, the festival attracted approximately 15,000 people, increasing the demand for the limited ferry service provided by the National Park Service at Riis Landing. JBRPC would very much like to work collaboratively with the City and continue to provide recreational, educational, and other opportunities that attract park users, thereby increasing ridership and supporting the City’s investment in the Rockaway ferry.