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Thread: Roosevelt Island Tram

  1. #31
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    The exit is very elegant.

    Roosevelt Island Tram Celebrates Increased Ridership on Anniversary

    By Amy Zimmer

    MANHATTAN — The revamped Roosevelt Island Tram celebrated its 1-year anniversary on Wednesday with little fanfare, but with the satisfaction of knowing that since the $25 million renovation, ridership has increased 13 percent.

    The tram underwent a nine-month rehab that replaced the cars and cables with a new "dual hall" system allows for the cars to operate on independent tracks rather than like a clothesline as it did before. So far this year, the tram has seen nearly 1.9 million riders, according to Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation data.

    "It's been exciting. There's no question more tourists and more locals are using it," said Leslie Torres, president of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation. "From the tourism perspective, we've done a lot more marketing. For a swipe of a MetroCard you get one of the most spectacular views of New York City."

    The tram's cars were made in France, and Torres has noticed that many of the tourists riding them are French.

    "They feel very proud of the tram," she said. "Much like the Statue of Liberty, one can say the French have come forward again and put their stamp on New York City."

    The island's roughly 13,000 residents have been riding more often, Torres said, because of the improved service. The island is hoping to get another boost in ridership from a new tech campus, with strong bids submitted to the city for Roosevelt Island from Stanford and Cornell.

    The original Roosevelt Island tram needed an overhaul after the 2006 breakdown that stranded 69 passengers 230 feet in the air, RIOC officials had said. That tram was only supposed to last 17 years, but it ended up hauling people daily between the Manhattan's Upper East Side across the East River to the 2-mile-long Island for 33 years.

    Armando Cordova, head of tram operations, said that old one was actually "99 in tram years," since the Roosevelt Island tram makes three times as many trips as any other tram, most of which aren't used for commuting.

    The new state-of-the-art tram offers bigger windows for a better view on its 3-minute ride every 15 minutes and has its own Wi-Fi system that allows the control workers to know where the cabin is at all times, Cordova said.

    "We're really busy," Cordova said, adding that he has spotted several celebs riding it, though he wanted to remain discreet.

    The tram may once again be featured in a "Spider-Man" movie. "There's been some talk of Spider-Man 4 to film here."

  2. #32
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    A commute with a view! Visionaries plan a Queens-to-Central Park tramway

    Roosevelt Island route would be expanded in both directions. Commuters aren't too impressed.

    By Joey Scarborough and Lisa L. Colangelo

    The latest visionary idea for Queens includes a two-stop extension of the Roosevelt Island tram to Queens Plaza.

    Imagine going from Central Park to Queens Plaza without ever touching the ground.

    That’s one of the bold ideas being forwarded to the new mayor after a brainstorming project by some of the city’s top planners and designers.

    The best of the bunch is the ultimate pie-in-the-sky: an ambitious two-sided extension of the Roosevelt Island Tramway west to Central Park South and east to Queens Plaza.

    “I was always fascinated by the tram,” said Claire Weisz of WXY Architecture + Urban Design, who came up with the concept with partner Mark Yoes and Jacob Dugopolski.

    The Queensboro Plaza subway station allows already allows riders direct access to
    Central Park South via the N and Q trains, with only one stop in between.
    The proposed tram would separate the prospective stations by four stops.

    “I always wondered why it stopped,” she added. “You could go from a transportation rich place like Queens Plaza and Long Island City where there are a lot of new, exciting things happening.”

    Subway riders waiting for the train at Queens Plaza were intrigued by the idea.

    “I love the view,” said 31-year-old Katie Riegel of Sunnyside. “One of my favorite things about living out there is being on the 7 train and having the view of the city as I come in.”

    But Riegel and others said they wouldn’t depend on the tram for their daily commute, especially since there is a direct rail link along all the proposed stops already.

    Patrons of the tram, seen here at 60th St. and Second Ave., say the cars are crowded already,
    and more stops could exacerbate the issue.

    "It would be inconvenient, because there would be too much traffic,” said Rashida Selim, 62. “The tram cars are very small, and they are already crowded during rush hour.”

    No matter; there’s no money in anyone’s budget to actually build the sky-high link.

    Extending the tram was one of 46 proposals included in the Next New York project coordinated by the Forum for Urban Design. Other ideas included merging all the metropolitan area’s disparate rail systems into one organized network, allowing the coastlines of the city to be dictated by the natural flow of water, and building a light rail system along the Queens and Brooklyn waterfront.

    “These are ideas for the next mayor to consider,” said Daniel McPhee, deputy director of the organization of architects and urban planners.

    McPhee said all the ideas were worthy - even if they were unlikely to ever actually materialize.

    “Some of the more speculative proposals sort of ignites the dialogue about how to make our city more sustained, more competitive and more livable,” McPhee said.

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