Most Staten Islanders were none surprised by the announcement that “The Wheel” wasn’t going forward. After all, if one reads articles on the subject, it’s clear that the engineering company had determined that the weight of the completed wheel would present a hazard to the entire sea-adjacent area of St. George, where the Staten Island Ferry terminal, Staten Island Railway, and buses converge.
In any event, there’s going to be a shopping mall right by the ferry, and we still have the Staten Island Yankees, with their incredible stadium, long underutilized as an event venue for concerts, shows, opera, community festivals. There’s still a lot going on; Staten Island is at yet another crossroads. Beyond this, it’s really up to Staten Islanders to help determine our collective future here.
Many projects come and go, never to be completed: The LNG tanks along the West Shore expressway, the abandoned highways (now gone) by the old Sunnyside CSI campus, the railway tunnel to Brooklyn, the NASCAR raceway, and now, the Wheel. It happens. Most Islanders I’ve spoken with weren’t so keen on the wheel, actually. That’s not too shocking; most want to be able to come and go via the Ferry with the greatest of easy, unencumbered by traffic generated by tourism.
What is Staten Island’s future? Looking at the past, development had been haphazard and without a real plan. Of course, the sewer issue of the ’60s is long resolved, and our only serious issues now are Island traffic, getting to the city in a reasonable amount of time, overcrowded schools, and loss of open space to development. While building drives our local economy, intelligent planning is key.