Monday, December 6, 2010

Roosevelt Island Tramway Returns

The Roosevelt Island Tramway, one of the most pleasant modes of travel in our city, has returned.


Roosevelt Island sits between Manhattan and Queens in the East River and was, for many years, only accessible via an elevator inserted on the bridge between Manhattan and Queens. In 1957, an automobile route to Roosevelt Island from Manhattan and Queens was completed, but no convenient public transportation route was available.

As delays mounted for the creation of a subway route to Roosevelt Island, the Roosevelt Island Tramway began in 1976 as a temporary measure to serve commuters until the subway route was completed. For nearly a decade after its construction, the Roosevelt Island Tramway was the only aerial commuter tramway in the United States. There are only two other such aerial commuter routes in service today. The subway was not completed until 1990, and the Roosevelt Island Tramway had become an indispensable part of the transportation fabric of our city by that time.

The Tramway was even featured in Spiderman plot lines.

The Roosevelt Island Tramway transported two million people every year and lasted for 34 years before requiring replacement this year (in 2006, commuters were trapped for hours in a disabled gondola on the Tramway, highlighting the need for an upgraded system).

The Upgrade

The Roosevelt Island Tramway reopened last week after a $25 million upgrade.

The gondolas are now independent of each other, improving safety and flexibility. The windows are larger, and the gondolas now have screens inside displaying weather and news.

The Tramway ride is the best deal in our city. The cost of a ride on the Roosevelt Island Tramway is the same as the cost of a subway ride or a bus ride - $2.25, and the ride is both efficient and entertaining. Whether in the daytime or in the night, the Roosevelt Island Tramway provides breathtaking views of Manhattan in a comfortable cabin - similar to the very expensive experiences one can enjoy at the Empire State Building or the Top of the Rock.

You should be encouraged to enjoy a trip to and from Roosevelt Island on the Tramway, even if only for the views; it is public transportation at its best.

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