A New Sky-High Proposal For L Train Shutdown Gains Traction

The proposal consists of high-speed gondolas that are totally silent, pollution-free and the safest mode of transportation.

By James L. Knobloch November 23, 2016

It seems like the only thing worse than the news of the impending L train shutdown might be the solutions of varying degrees of incongruity that have been proposed to deal with the transportation nightmare it will cause. This includes the floating, inflatable “pedestrian tube” called The L Transporter, which is not, in fact, the next installment of the Jason Statham franchise.

Related: Top Five Apartments To Rent In Williamsburg—Despite The L Train Shutdown

One of these ideas, however, is getting a boost of legitimacy in the form of an endorsement from local elected officials. The East River Skyway received a stamp of approval from U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, City Councilman Stephen Levin, and State Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, who jointly drafted a statement to Mayor De Blasio, urging him to lend his support to the plan.

“This is the coolest thing we could do for the neighborhood,” Lentol, said to DNA Info. “I don’t want to denigrate the BQX but this is even a greater plan to have a gondola going from Brooklyn to Manhattan forever.”


In their letter, the politicians touted the various benefits this proposal entails, including the fact that the Skyway would produce zero emissions, as opposed to alternatives like increased bus service and ferries, and that it would be an efficient, permanent solution to an L train line that’s already overburdened as is, let alone during the shutdown. Some 225,000 commuters take the L each day, and while not a one-stop solution, the Skyway can accommodate 5,000 commuters an hour and more than 100,000 a day—certainly enough to make a big dent in the commuter quandaries to come.

Related: The L Train Shutdown Might Just Lower The Rent

According to the East River Skyway’s website, the commute time from Williamsburg to Manhattan will only be five minutes, and in addition to being pollution free, it’s purportedly three times safer than buses and trains.

Once at the Williamsburg Bridge Plaza Bus Terminal gondola station, the Skyway would transport commuters to the edge of Soho in five minutes.

Not to mention, the breath-taking views the gondolas would provide wouldn’t hurt, either. And while building the Skyway might seem impractical and improbable, it might not actually be that far-fetched.

NYC already has one existing air tramway, connecting Roosevelt Island and Manhattan—born of similar circumstances when “the city rid the Queensboro Bridge of its trolley and created a cumbersome bus line to replace it.” Not only that, but the air tramway is the only system in the multi-billion dollar debt-ridden MTA that isn’t operating a loss.

The East River Skyway and its supporters tout the project not only as a solution to the L train shutdown, but a long-term “redundant transit service” to help ease Brooklyn’s increasingly strained transportation infrastructure. The estimated $134 million project would be privately funded, and unlike some other MTA projects (looking at you, Second Avenue subway line), the Skyway could be completed quickly and go into service before the L train shutdown begins.

A quick, efficient, environmentally friendly commute with a view? Maybe the L train shutdown will come with a silver lining after all.

James L. Knobloch

ABOUT THE AUTHOR James L. Knobloch

ABOUT THE AUTHOR James L. Knobloch

A creative professional with a sharp tongue and a big smile, taking on city living one slightly-veiled sarcastic comment at a time. Born and raised just outside of New Orleans, James is a living testament to his own mantra, “Southern hospitality is a privilege, not a right,” giving his work a unique, dry humor meets charm perspective.

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