Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. today announced construction has started on the new Queen City Bike Ferry landing on Buffalo's Outer Harbor. The bike ferry, which debuted in summer 2015, was an instant success, carrying more than 50,000 people in its first season. With the new and improved landing to be complete for the summer 2016 season, the corporation anticipates even greater success this year.
"The Queen City Bike Ferry proved in its inaugural year that it is not only a convenience, linking Buffalo's inner and outer harbors, but it is also an attraction in its own right," ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia said. "We are excited to start construction on an improved landing for the ferry so that its passengers continue to enjoy all the waterfront has to offer in 2016."
The $825,000 project is intended to enhance the recreational use of the Outer Harbor and Canalside, as well as improve the pedestrian-bicycle trail system along the waterfront. The work will result in a dedicated Outer Harbor landing for the Queen City Bike Ferry with a direct link to the water's edge, rest area for riders and enhanced landscape.
Buffalo contractor Pinto Construction Services Inc. will replace a group of existing boat docks at the First Buffalo Marina (32 Fuhrmann Blvd.) on property owned by the New York State Power Authority, and install amenities to permit the expanded Queen City Bike Ferry service. Also, a paved pedestrian pathway will be created, which will extend from the access gangway, through a portion of an existing paved boat storage area on the site, and then terminate at Fuhrmann Boulevard. Additional site amenities and aesthetic features will also be installed, including signage, benches, planters, bicycle racks and accessory structures.
"The runaway success of the bike ferry has been a big driver of the transformation of the Outer Harbor," NYPA Chairman John R. Koelmel said. "We're proud that our resources help more people enjoy all the attractions that have made the Buffalo waterfront a prime destination in Western New York."
NYPA is funding the project as a result of relicensing agreements tied to the Niagara Power Project. Pinto Construction was found to be the lowest bidder following a bid solicitation for water-bike ferry improvements.
A nine-member board consisting of seven voting directors and two non-voting, ex-officio directors governs the ECHDC. The seven voting directors are recommended by the New York state governor and are appointed by the New York State Urban Development Corp. d/b/a Empire State Development as sole shareholder of ECHDC. The Erie County executive and the City of Buffalo mayor hold the two nonvoting, ex-officio director positions.
As a subsidiary of ESD, the state's chief economic development agency, the ECHDC supports and promotes the creation of infrastructure and public activities at Canalside, the Ohio Street corridor and the Outer Harbor. For more information on ECHDC, visit www.eriecanalharbor.com.