Earlier this year, Staten Island’s Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) launched a design competition soliciting submissions for an aerial tram that would connect the borough to the surrounding areas. Last week, the organization picked a winner—Colarado’s Leitner-Poma of America (LPOA), which is known for its cable transport systems, Staten Island Live first reported.
The plan? To connect the Elm Park neighborhood in Staten Island to Bayonne in New Jersey with an aerial gondola that runs parallel to the Bayonne Bridge. The gondola would run from Staten Island and connect to the Eight Street station on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, and from here commuters would connect to a PATH train, and subsequently make their way to Manhattan. The developers estimate that the total travel time between Staten Island and Manhattan would be 33 minutes.
Other proposals submitted included routes between St. George and Lower Manhattan, another one from Fort Wadsworth to the 95th Street R train station, and a third that would also leave from St. George, but make a stop at Governor’s Island on the way.
The SIEDC however deemed LPOA’s the most efficient overall in terms of cost, travel time, and the construction required. LPOA’s proposal would cost about $60 million, which would all come through private funding. A proposal to extend the light rail on the Bayonne Bridge in contrast could cost as much as $1 billion.
Both Staten Island and New Jersey residents however were not too impressed. The opinions in Staten Island varied with some saying more ferries would be just fine, and others saying they prefer the light rail. In Bayonne, elected officials said the plan as it is now wouldn’t be very feasible, and residents were already concerned about the amount of ongoing construction on the Bayonne Bridge.
The president of the SIEDC however told SILIVE that a comprehensive proposal would be unveiled next spring before the agency considers moving forward. In the meantime they will be working on a feasibility study of the project, according to Untapped Cities.