If the impending L train shutdown has you thinking about leaving Brooklyn, there could be a silver lining to your transportation troubles. The East River Skyway, a green gondola system proposed by real estate exec Daniel Levy, began as a pie-in-the-sky idea back in 2014, but has been gaining steam as the threat of the L line closure looms closer. If realized, the tram could provide a much-welcomed alternative for the thousands of people who commute from Williamsburg to Lower Manhattan every day.
According to Levy’s plan, each cable car would arrive every 30 seconds to take about 40 people to and from Williamsburg to Delancey Street in less than five minutes. According to Levy, the idea is quite feasible since the cable car infrastructure would be relatively simple. “It’s very light weight, three or four towers, and a cable between them.”
Although the idea has garnered some support, Levy concedes that the project won’t exactly be a cakewalk. “It’s not going to be easy to get [it done] but it’s certainly not impossible,” he said, adding that a similar gondola system went up right before the start of the London Olympics in 2012. “It’s certainly well within reach.”
Levy told DNAinfo that he is looking to fund the project, which could cost up to $134 million, entirely through private investors. The bulk of the project cost will most likely to go towards building the stations on each side of the river. On the Manhattan side, plans call for building a station above Delancey Street that would connect either side of Sarah Roosevelt Park between Chrystie and Forsyth streets.
Although the original plans only included one station on the Williamsburg side, news of the L train shutdown prompted a second station located at the bus depot at the base of the bridge to be included.
While it’s still just an ambitious idea at the moment, the East River Skyway could become a reality depending on the temporary closure of the L train. The MTA is hosting two public meetings to discuss the shutdown: one on May 5 at 6 p.m. in the Marcy Avenue Armory to be followed by another meeting on May 12 at 5 p.m. in the Salvation Army Theatre near Union Square.