Watch CBS News

With congestion pricing paused, activists in NYC transit deserts are calling for ferry expansion

With congestion pricing paused, activists in NYC transit deserts call for ferry expansion
With congestion pricing paused, activists in NYC transit deserts call for ferry expansion 02:01

NEW YORK -- Jibreel Jalloh is a fan of public transportation, but because of where he lives in Canarsie, Brooklyn, he's often forced to drive.

He is the founder of a nonprofit called The Flossy Organization, a group that advocates for transit equity, because as he and others say, Canarsie is a transit desert.

Many of his neighbors are relieved over Gov. Kathy Hochul's announcement to pause congestion pricing. They're not against the idea, but say in their community, it just doesn't make sense.

"It's almost impossible to get somewhere in an efficient manner without having a car in these parts of Brooklyn, parts of East Brooklyn, parts of South Brooklyn," Jalloh said.

"In most instances, you need to use two methods of transportation in order to get out of the neighborhood," said Marc Want, president of the Canarsie Improvement Association, who drives to a hospital in Midtown Manhattan several times a week. "If you are traveling for medical services to Manhattan, there is really no comfortable way of getting there, especially if you have certain disabilities."

Residents say the pause represents an opportunity

Residents say this is a chance for leaders to go back to the drawing board and figure out a way to improve transportation options for people who live in car-centered communities.

Sam Daponte lives on the border of Red Hook, another transit-starved area. Both neighborhoods also have large population of residents living in public housing.

"These are working-class communities that need to be at the center of these discussions of transit accessibility and transit equity," said Daponte, who recently joined forces with The Flossy Organization as a fellow.

They're also both on the waterfront, prompting activists to ask the city to get creative.

Red Hook has had ferry service since 2017. For years, residents of Canarsie have been asking for the same thing.

"We believe it's a no-brainer. We're a waterfront community. We already have a pier built out. You know, you just need to put an extender," Jalloh said, adding that it would be a more cost-effective investment than expanding subway service.

However, the Economic Development Corporation, which operates NYC Ferry, says it is not looking to expand service at the moment.

Have a story idea or tip in Brooklyn? Email Hannah by CLICKING HERE.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.