Local electeds come up emptyhanded with ferry boat horn noise solution

September 3, 2014- By Steven E. Greer, MD

The elected officials representing Downtown were made aware of the ferry boat horn noise issue directly as a result of the extensive BatteryPark.TV reporting, lobbying, and community organizing since 2011. The issue must have seemed like a political winner so they office made an earnest effort to solve the problem. However, they came up short.

At the CB1 meeting on September 2nd, a staffer for U.S. Congressman Nadler presented an update. Also in attendance was the CEO of NY Waterway, Paul Goodman.

Mr. Goodman is no stranger to the CB1 meetings, having been drawn before the committee numerous times since 2011, when BP.TV first reported that his company received $7 Million from the state to replace the smog-belching diesel engines on his boats, but pocketed the money, never purchasing new engines. Even after the failure of NY Waterway to properly spend the money was exposed, Mr. Goodman took his sweet time to retrofit the engines. Three years went by before the nine boats were retrofitted.

That history of behavior is crucial for the reader to know before interpreting what was told to the community last night.

Importantly, not a single person from the U.S. Coast Guard attended the CB1 meeting. The Coast Guard is the agency that has the authority to solve the horn problems.

The staffer for Representative Nadler explained that their office had been in touch with the Coats Guard, but that no solution had been agreed upon. She was optimistic that some sort of “waiver” would be allowed for the ferry boat slip.

Mr. Goodman denied any culpability to the horn noise issue, claiming that the other boats not owned by his company, that have far quieter horns, might be breaking the law. He offered no evidence to support his theory. BP.TV has previously reported that, in fact, the NY Waterway boats could do much more to resolve the problem, but are stubbornly refusing to do so.

Mr. Goodman then told the audience that his company received millions more in funding from NYSERDA, the same agency that paid for the retrofitting of the previous boats, to clean up the rest of his more than 30 ferry boats. Despite the mismanagement of the previous grant, he was awarded more money. Why a private company is receiving tax dollars to pay for capital improvements is unknown.

All in all, empty promises were made by the elected officials, and the CEO of the ferry boat company has a very poor track record of doing what he promises.

This entry was posted in - Community Board 1, - Downtown oversight, - Federal government, Battery Park City and BPCA, New York Waterway ferry boat pollution, Seaport. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Local electeds come up emptyhanded with ferry boat horn noise solution

  1. Joseph Hartigan says:

    I still recommend that you take a ride on the Seastreak ferry to Rockaway and back to experience how quiet their boat run. I would recommend that other ferry companies in stall the same muffler system.

  2. L says:

    While I empathize with the ferry ‘horn’ issue, I was stunned at the Sept community board meeting when one member was relieved to hear the ‘community’ was seeking an exception. I would think that any attempt to override the law with the issuance of ‘exceptions’, will rightfully come up empty-handed for obvious reasons, not unlike the disturbance of a 1000 residential units every time a truck backs up.

    The key is in the pitch of the horn. Acoustical consultants can study pitch and reverberation and come up with better ‘horn’ sound levels but I bet the DOT and whoever is the ‘authority’ on ferryboat horns have not commissioned a viable study.

    While the horn issue is annoying, I would think the best part of a community board meeting should not be dedicated solely to this issue. The findings were summarized in under 2 minutes yet the issue was perpetualized for over a third of the meeting’s allotted time.

    At the risk of going against the grain, this is part of a greater noise pollution issue, such as noise from ferryboat engines – not just the horn, the helicopter and unfortunate speedboat racing noise AND air pollution issues. The issue would reach a greater audience if it is prioritized and grouped with like concerns.

Leave a Reply