They’ve been talking about it for years, and were originally going to do it last spring. Now it’s announced that this Monday, March 1, the Roosevelt Island Tram is shutting down for six months of renovation.
The reno will cost $25 million, says the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) — $10 million from their budget, $15 million from the state — and replace “virtually everything” except the existing tram towers.
When it’s updated, the current “single haul” pulley system, which RIOC likens to a “clothesline,” will allow the two lines going to and from the island to operate independently. Also, in event of emergency, the cars will be outfitted so that they “can be brought back to the nearest station using redundant power and motive systems,” so they’ll no longer have to rely on Spider-Man.
Also, thanks to a “new wide track rope gauge,” RIOC expects a smoother ride even in high winds. And it’ll be energy efficient!
The 34-year-old system’s last ride is scheduled for 2:00 a.m. on Monday from the Manhattan depot, at Second Avenue and 60th Street. If you take it, you won’t be able to tram back till the beginning of September — assuming everything goes according to schedule.
If you don’t want to stick around till then, RIOC will have $1 shuttle buses during the morning rush hour (7:00 to 9:30 a.m.) between the island and the Queens Plaza subway stop, and during non-peak hours (10 a.m.-2:30 PM, 7:00-11:00 p.m.) they’ll arrive and depart from a bus stop at Second Avenue between 58th and 59th Street in Manhattan. Outside of that, travelers will have to rely on the F train to get island access, or on their cars or the existing Q102 bus.
Islanders are invited to a “Tram Retirement Party” at the Riverwalk Bar & Grill at 425 Main Street on February 28th.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 25, 2010