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.