Posts Tagged: Roosevelt Island Tram

14
Dec

2010

Roosevelt Island Tram – Original Video

Gareth Long is an artist in New York and one of my oldest and dearest friends.

Sadly, due to the two-headed monster known as Geography and Life, we rarely get to see each other. But given the recent reopening of the Roosevelt Island Tram, it seemed like a logical opportunity to work together and see what Gareth could come up with.

We’d hoped to have it up last week, but bad weather prevented the feel Gareth was looking for. Nevertheless, here we have it: The Gondola Project’s first original video documentation of a cable transit system, the rebuilt Roosevelt Island Tram:

 



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02
Dec

2010

Roosevelt Island Tram: Reopened!

The rebuilt Roosevelt Island Tram. Image by flickr user bitchcakesny.

On Tuesday, New York’s Roosevelt Island Tram reopened after a 9 month, $25 million refurbishment.

The rebuild, conducted by Poma, transforms the system from an Aerial Tram to a Funifor-type system. That means vehicles will operate independently of one another. When one vehicle is taken out of service, the other can still be operational. This should have a significant impact on speed, wait times, quality of service and capacity. For obvious reasons, the system will still be called the Roosevelt Island Tram and not the Roosevelt Island Funifor.

For a history of the Roosevelt Island Tram, please check out an article I wrote for Urban Omnibus entitled Off the Road and Into the Skies. You can find the direct link here or a link by way of The Gondola Project here.

We’re hoping to have fresh, original video of the new system for you next week. In the mean time, here’s what the rest of the internet is saying about the reopening:

  • Transportation Nation interviews Roosevelt Island resident Cynthia Baird whose going to wait a day or two before riding the system “in case it falls.”


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26
Apr

2010

6 Iconic (and Important) Aerial Trams

The other day I was pretty hard on Aerial Trams for being obsolete, expensive and inefficient members of the cable transit family. Because of their place in history, however, many of the most iconic and important cable transit systems ever built were Aerial Trams, a point I failed to mention. Here are 6 of them:

6. The Vanoise Express

The Vanoise Express in France. Image by hchalkley at flickr.

One of the world’s only double-decker Aerial Trams, this Dual Shuttle system in France can carry a whopping 200 people in each cabin! Opened in 2003, the system was shut down in 2007 for repairs after a vehicle operator failed to slow the vehicle down upon entering the station. The accident caused no injuries and the system was reopened the following season. Read more



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24
Apr

2010

Aerial Technologies, Lesson 5: Aerial Trams

The Portland Aerial Tram. Image by functoruser at flickr.

Aerial Trams are the granddaddies of cable transit. They’re big, they’re aggressive and what they do, they do really well. Problem is, they can’t do much. They’re a completely antiquated technology due to their lack of detachability.

Like BDG or 3S systems, Aerial Trams use one or two stationary ropes for support while a second or third moving rope provides the propulsion. But unlike BDG and 3S systems the Aerial Tram’s grip is fixed and cannot be decoupled from the propulsion rope during operations. This means that corners are all but impossible in an Aerial Tram configuration and intermediary stations are limited to single mid-points along the line. These mid-stations are incredibly rare. Read more



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21
Mar

2010

One time . . .

One time, it’s a fluke . . . The Roosevelt Island Tram.

Two times, it’s a fad . . . Medellin.

Three times, it’s a trend . . . Portland.

Four times, it’s a movement . . . Caracas.

Five times, it’s a force . . . Next?



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07
Jan

2010

CPT in NYC

The Roosevelt Island Tram, Image by Steven Dale

I recently wrote an article for the Architectural League of New York‘s urbanism-themed website Urban Omnibus. The article, titled Off the Road and Into the Skies (click to read it), should provide you with a decent history of New York City’s Roosevelt Island Tram and some analysis of Santiago Calatrava’s botched cable transit proposal for New York’s Governors Island.

I’d just like to say that the people at Urban Omnibus, particularly Varick Shute, are wonderful to work with. They’re truly creative, passionate, open-minded and collaborative with a stylish and informative site. Please look them up.



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02
Nov

2009

No City Wants To Be First . . .

but every city wants to be second.

The competitive drive to be number one just doesn’t seem to permeate City Hall and that’s understandable.  Infrastructure is terribly expensive and no politician or planner wants to embarrass themselves by green-lighting a future white elephant.

Cities are therefore remarkably conservative when it comes to infrastructure.  Cities tend only to adopt ideas and technologies that have already been proven in other locations, but sometimes even that strategy backfires:

The Portland Aerial Tram was the only Cable-Propelled Transit (CPT) system to be built for public transit purposes in North America since New York’s Roosevelt Island Tram was built in 1976.

Portland Aerial Tram

Portland Aerial Tram

Unfortunately, the Portland Tram’s planners took all their cues from New York and decided on using aerial tram technology; the most expensive of cable technologies and the one with the least upside.

Roosevelt Island Tram

Roosevelt Island Tram

There were several other cable technologies Portland could have and should have considered, but didn’t.  Instead of being inquisitive, Portland simply did what New York did, seemingly unaware that New York’s choice of technology was due in part to the limited options the cable technology offered way back in 1976.

Playing Follow the Leader is fine when you’re in kindergarten, but when you’re all grown up you have to ask questions.  Hard ones.  And when you find answers, extrapolate from them and apply them to your own unique situation.

Images by William Beutler and CUP Projects



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