SI’s Solution To Traffic: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon..err..New Dorp
Public transportation improvements are the answer to Staten Island, and NYC’s, traffic woes. This is not news to anyone; the city’s been upgrading its public transport infrastructure for over one hundred years.
On Staten Island, the only remaining train line runs from St. George, with a station beneath the Staten Island Ferry terminal, to Tottenville, a sleepy town at the southern-most tip of Staten Island, not too far from Conference House Park.
Many islanders take the train. However, a serious goal should be for many more islanders to do so. To that end, I propose a novel solution to increase ridership: Constructing parking lots and garages over the trenched right-of-way of the Staten Island Railroad.
Presently, some commuters must either walk a mile, get picked up or dropped off, call a car service company, or park their car in the sparsely available spaces on the streets surrounding the stations.
Utilizing the space above the stations that are lower than street grade would add parking without significantly affecting the landscape. And, land around the train is, for the most part, unavailable, as the towns along the train line developed around the rails.
These parking lots would be covered in vegetation along their exterior perimeter, vines and flowers, trees and grasses. The effect would be additional green areas visible from the street, adding to both the aesthetics, and helping clean the air as well.
Walls of stone or finished cinderblock, covered with greenery, would be all that’s visible from the street. Presently, all that’s in these areas are fences, beyond which are the artificially created gulleys where the train tracks pass through, parallel to the street.
To prevent bottlenecks, the lots would have multiple entrance/exit ramps, and street parking elimination would be minimal. Local businesses would also benefit, as the additional parking would make access to restaurants and stores easier for all, not just those commuting. This will revitalize many town centers, from New Dorp to Great Kills.
Of course, other towns where the train passes at street grade, or where the tracks are slightly elevated, might not be good candidates for this sort of project. However, even such areas could benefit from raised parking areas over the tracks.
Are there any negatives to this plan? Not really. We’d be taking cars off the road, whether headed into Manhattan or to the St. George parking areas. Having commuters travel ten blocks, as opposed to ten miles to St. George to park, or twenty miles to the city, is always going to be a better alternative.
And, there could be electric car charging stations, bike rack after bike rack, with space constraints at a minimum, and even small shops.
In many areas of the country, “hanging gardens,” or “deck parks,” as they are often known, are being constructed over highways that were built below street grade. In this instance, the lots would add to the rustic appeal of Staten Island, while helping to ease traffic congestion.
Additionally, some capped rail rights-of-way would also include small parks or children’s playgrounds. While Staten Island, the Borough of Parks, already has more parks than the other boroughs, it might be a positive development to add a few small parks with benches and kids’ areas to the bustling town centers.
An additional benefit would be that shops and stores on either side of the right-of-way for the railroad would be connected, rather than separated by the fencing and passage for the rails.
On an island where space is a premium, we need to utilize every square foot that exists. In areas where parking is practically nonexistent, this would certainly bring new riders to the Staten Island Railroad, as commuters even miles from a station would be able to more easily find a space.
Isn’t this a better alternative than jockeying for a space in from of someone’s home, dealing with notes on windshields and garbage cans and cones pushed up against your unwelcome vehicle? I think so. The numerous benefits outweigh the negative aspects, which only include a slight inconvenience when the car parks are being initially constructed.
love the concept
This is the worst online newspaper I’ve ever seen, by far. You guys only cover Scott Lobado and nothing else.
We certainly do cover Scott LoBaido, as he’s our island’s best known social activist and extremely active in creating publicly viewable street art.
Suggesting that’s all we cover is ludicrous; just look at the story you’re posting on, for an example of how that’s just not the case.
If you have a suggestion for a story, don’t hesitate to e-mail. We’re open to our readers’ ideas.
-Staten Islander Editors
Nice idea, Patrick. Also, this design would significantly reduce noise for neighbors around the train tracks. I hope we move toward a greener world, but sensibly. I, for one, can’t see Staten Island without cars. Just too spread out with over 75 square miles. The cars will one day be electric of course.
If this ever gets built, it will be PAID parking. Still, it’s a good concept. I wouldn’t mind lessening the dim and having more space for whatever the community chooses.
Just leave it as it is!
Nice idea, but just let at least ONE aspect of the familiar remain. I can recall driving by the train, for years. I went to school right there. My great-aunt was a blokc away, also tons of relatives and friends.
They all seemed to somehow be located by the train.
Don’t you get it? More parking will just bring more cars. People will drive in from Jersey and park there. You’d have to make them resident-only facilities for this to make any sense.
I don’t know that it’s worth it. There are sooo many cars on SI. Let’s just round up: We’re 500,000 people squished within less than 70 square miles.
Aloha! Kes-Lah-Keh! Salutamu!
What’s up, man? Haven’t run into you IRL in a bit. Anyway, say hi to your family for me.
Lenny, I get your point. It will be a few thousand cars…at very most…off the roads. What percentage of total cars is that? From SI to NYC or elsewhere on SI?
It’s nothing. Insignificant. Totally.
Just leave it alone. If you want my opinion, the North Shore and West Shore rail lines should be up and running and the train should have been over the Bayonne Bridge for 70 years. As the original deck was constructed, there was enough space between the road deck and the arch on either side for one lane of rail traffic either way. In the 20th century, though, rails dried up as trucking started taking over.
What about the South Beach line? Why in the F**K did they build houses along the right-of-way?