WEST SHORE LIGHT RAIL
In 2005, SIEDC recognized the unlimited potential of the hundreds of acres between the Goethals Bridge and the Outerbridge Crossing in the south. Numerous programs have been launched to assist in growing the area including the West Shore Industrial Business Improvement District (BID), the West Shore Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA), various infrastructure and stormwater studies and the effort to connect the West Shore via mass transit.
Today, nearly 20 major projects are now under development on the West Shore including the Matrix Development/Amazon/Ikea site, Freshkills Park, Staten Island Stages and other large scale development projects throughout the corridor. With over 7,000 new potential employees along the West Shore, the borough must supply eff ective mass internal mass transit as well as connectivity to Manhattan, New Jersey and the rest of the region via mass transit.
In 2004 and 2009, SIEDC conducted studies to determine the need and feasibility of a light rail system which would travel along the median of the West Shore Expressway and connect the South and West Shores with the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail on the Bayonne side of the bridge.
This project would create a new route for Staten Island commuters while alleviating traffic congestion related to the thousands of new jobs along the transit corridor. Thanks to funding secured by State Senator Andrew Lanza and Assemblyman Michael Cu sick, in May 2017, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced that it would undertake the Alternatives Analysis (AA) for the project. This is SIEDC is actively pursuing additional funding for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which would follow the AA.
The abandoned North Shore Rail Right-Of-Way (ROW) stretches over five miles from St. George neighborhood to Arlington neighborhood on Staten Island.
Drawing inspiration from the highly successful Manhattan High Line, the SIEDC envisions a similar project being implemented in the residentialand commercial neighborhood of Port Richmond. Based on the enormous economic development results the Manhattan High Line provided to the Chelsea and Meatpacking districts, SIEDC believes this project will spur unique recreational and commercial activity for Port Richmond Avenue.
The proposed Skyway project will occupy a half mile elevated portion of the rail line between Richmond Terrace and Heberton Avenue and Nicholas Avenue.
The Port Richmond neighborhood suffered a severe economic decline in the latter half of the 20th century, largely as a result of the shift of development and commercial activity to the center of the island, following the construction of the VerrazanoNarrows Bridge. Port Richmond Avenue was once a unique center of commercial activity serving thousands of residents on the north shore. The lack of activated park space, transportation connectivity and the shift of commercial centers all led to the decline of local commercial activity.
Over 10 years ago the SIEDC began the discussion on the West Shore Light Rail and now SIEDC is looking to the skies for the next endeavor – the SI Gondola. In 2015, SIEDC proposed an aerial gondola system to connect Staten Island to the rest of the region and in 2016 hosted a global design competition for concepts and proposals. As a result of this work, and the selection of Leitner-Poma of America and their route between Staten Island and Bayonne, SIEDC is working with local elected officials and agencies to bring the project to fruition.
THE NEED FOR GONDOLAS ON STATEN ISLAND
• Residents have one of the longest average commutes in the nation and public transit users routinely travel over 90 minutes one-way to reach Manhattan
• A gondola presents a new and viable option for moving people by expanding transportation bandwidth in the air in a cost-effective way
• A gondola to connect Staten Island to the rest of the region is not only possible, but extremely viable
• SIEDC is not alone – other proposals for New York City include connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan and a system to Governors Island from Manhattan
SPECIFIC BENEFITS OF THE PROJECT
• Fewer bus trips to Bayonne made by the S89 and a cost savings to the MTA
• New access to jobs for local residents especially those who are transit dependent
• Transit redundancy across the entire network, new access to light rail system
• Reduced commute times
• New access to the waterfront and recreational opportunities including bike access
• 24/7 emergency transit in bad weather
BENEFITS OF AERIAL CABLE TECHNOLOGY FOR URBAN AREAS
• Initial cost is lower than all other modes of transit
• Long term maintenance costs are lower than buses and ferries
• Gondolas are profitable transportation systems (The Roosevelt Island Tram is the only profit-making mass transit system in New York City)
• Most reliable weather-resistant and safest mass transit in the world
• As opposed to other types of mass transit, this project could be entirely funded through private investment
SIEDC’s approach to “Healthy Housing” will address numerous obstacles to housing development including limited local political support, cost of construction, prohibitive zoning, a limited history of affordable development and the need for more strategic partnerships with developers.
Healthy housing is critical for the growth of the community and involves a variety of housing strategies including new building stock, access to transit opportunities, environmental resiliency, and housing for young professionals and seniors who are significantly represented on Staten Island.
The half day summit hosted in 2019 will be the first of its kind on Staten Island, to be held at the incredible Empire Outlets. Speakers from top development firms will give presentation and answer questions about the future of healthy housing in the borough. Attendance will be limited to expert stakeholders involved in development, construction, and planning of these potential new sites.
Contact us below for more information about any of our ongoing projects.