Could cable cars solve NYC commuter nightmare?


By Jennie Matthew ,AFP

NEW YORK — Trying not to spill your coffee while wedged up against perfect strangers on a jam-packed subway is a daily challenge for New York commuters. Now one real estate executive, inspired by an Alpine holiday in France, believes that cable cars can solve New York’s transport problem �X too many people and too few trains.

A commute that could make you ��soar, not sore�� quipped the New York Daily News. Tens of thousands of people travel across the East River from Brooklyn to Manhattan each day, squeezing into subway cars, packing onto ferries and clogging bridges with bumper-to-bumper traffic in a city of 8.4 million. In the last 15 years Brooklyn has transformed into one of the most sought-after places to live in the United States, dense with bars, restaurants, nightlife and apartments with stunning views. The only problem is that a single, overcrowded subway line, the L, and a single station, Bedford Avenue, serve the hippest and most coveted neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. The strain is only expected to get worse as more people move into the area.

From the Brooklyn Navy Yard �X where Lady Gaga launched her latest album �X to the demarcation with Queens, up to 20,000 extra apartments are being built in the next 20 years, according to Daniel Levy, the man behind the ambitious idea. Building a new tunnel or bridge would be prohibitively expensive, but European-designed cable cars could ferry as many as 5,000 people an hour across the water into Manhattan in just four minutes, said Levy, the president of New York’s City Realty.

With around 15,000 traveling through Bedford Avenue each weekday between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m., that could be a significant load off.

Battling Bureaucracy ��I absolutely believe this is hands-down the best solution, and so first and foremost I just want to see it built,�� Levy told AFP in his offices above the New York skyline. He got the idea two and a half years ago, when he was skiing in the French Alps and found himself on a new, modern gondola system that took him by surprise.