Could a Suspended Tram Line Encircling NYC and Northern NJ Solve Our Transportation Woes?

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halo line rendering fxfowle
Credit: FXFOWLE

Love him or detest him, Robert Moses’ four decades as a city planner left a lasting mark on New York City. Dubbed, the “master builder” Moses is directly responsible for the construction of 13 bridges, 416 miles of parkways, 658 playgrounds and 150,000 housing units.

Robert Caro’s 1974 Pulitzer Prize–winning biography of Moses chronicled the planner’s fall from grace, which ultimately left the city on the brink of bankruptcy. Ironically, Moses’ tenure caused a prolonged halt in infrastructure construction. Following his reign, the city became overly cautious, maybe too much. The city hasn’t seen an infrastructure project of Moses’ scale since his departure.

In an ongoing series examining the storied legacy of Robert Moses, Crain’s New York Business asks readers some pointed questions:

Step back for a moment and ask yourself: In a city that built so much spectacular infrastructure through the 19th and 20th centuries, why is it still so hard to get to LaGuardia and JFK? Why does the West Side Highway still stand as a barrier to the waterfront? How can we still have only two rail tunnels under the Hudson? How can so many communities in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx still be without subway service? How can the Port Authority Bus Terminal and Penn Station remain as they are?

Looking towards the future, Crain’s asked leading architects, designers and real estate experts their opinions on what large scale projects NYC could undertake to help accommodate its surging population.

halo line proposal fxfowle
Credit: FXFOWLE

You can read all 12 proposals here, but one by FXFOWLE stands out. Their proposal thinks beyond NYC proper to incorporate the entire metro area. Named the ‘Halo Line’, it proposes a suspended tram system encircling NYC and Northern New Jersey. The 57-mile line was designed to run along existing infrastructure, including the George Washington, Bayonne and Verrazano bridges to minimize costs. Using suspended technology the tram would require less disruptive construction than a subway line and would allow for operation in the event of widespread flooding, which is likely becoming a new reality. Further, bringing reliable transportation to far-flung locations in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and New Jersey will spur further development and economic growth.

As the NYC metro population continues to grow, do you agree that it’s time NYC, New York, and New Jersey start thinking big again? Let us know in the comments.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. It’s an interesting concept. Just like how the taxi system hadn’t evolved for years and then along came Uber changing the whole game. There needs to be a little more outside the box thinking as far as commuting. Holland Tunnel opened in 1927, Lincoln 1937, GWB 1931 and the ferry system in 1986. In 1986 Ronald Reagan was president and most people didn’t know what a computer was. So it’s about time for some outside the box thinking. As long as they design it right and it’s not an eye sore, above ground transportation makes sense since it can get completed much more quickly. I still can’t imagine how the PATH is going to handle the number of people moving into Jersey City over the next 10 years.

  2. jersey city its the only promise for the next 10 years. hopefully the commute issues will done before.
    jersey city amazing solution for nyc commuters. how many people didnt think of this solution 20 years ago, amazing.(we just move in from queens)

  3. It’s quite simple folks:

    No improvement = failed tunnels

    Failed tunnels = economic depression or worse collapsed tunnels killing everyone in them

    New tunnels = economic growth (both NYC and New Jersey), safety, and increase quality of life

    Folks what are you doing? You pay taxes, and elect these officials. They work for us, them need to step it up.

    Are they waiting for these tunnels to leak and collapse before they do something?

    Port authority needs to step it up, otherwise they Nazi’s…

    10 years to develop new tunnels according to engineers! Better hope another hurricane doesn’t hit anytime soon.

    FYI if they began fixing them when Sandy happened, they would have been half way done!

    Ok I warned you all, now you don’t have an excuse.

    Protest port authority and hold the ones running in accountable.

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