SIEDC Announces Competition for Design of Staten Island Aerial Gondola

Q&A Conference Call for Press Inquiries:
Monday, February 8, 2016 at 3:00pm
Conference call: (712) 775-7031 Enter Meeting ID- 425-210-054# and enter PIN- 6829 #

NEW YORK, Feb. 04, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In a follow up to their June 2015 concept plan release for an aerial gondola to connect Staten Island to Manhattan with potential options to reach Brooklyn, Governors Island and New Jersey, the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) today announced a design competition for the project. The Competition, open to all planners, designers, architects and those in related fields, will weigh submissions for a gondola system to connect Staten Island to the rest of the New York Harbor region.

Applicants will compete to have their proposals judged by leaders in the Staten Island business community and design, architecture and media experts. The winning design team will receive $20,000 in marketing and publicity in major New York media publications and/or significant coverage in one or more publications and a potential opportunity to present the plan to officials from the City of New York.

Staten Island is a rapidly growing suburban borough of New York City whose population is outpacing its transportation options. Residents have one of the longest average commutes in the nation and public transit users routinely travel over 90 minutes one-way to reach their destinations in Manhattan.

While a gondola is not a panacea for these mobility concerns, it does present a new and viable 21st century solution for moving commuters and tourists alike. Over $1 billion of commercial, residential and entertainment construction is occurring along the borough’s North Shore which includes a 600-foot observation wheel and outlet mall. In that same vein, Staten Island needs mutual connectivity in New Jersey, the rapidly growing Brooklyn waterfront as well as Governors Island which is in the process of a major redevelopment focused on tourism and recreation. A gondola connection to these locations aligns well with plans for the future of economic development in the borough.

Planners across the globe seek to expand transportation bandwidth by creating redundancy of roads, waterways and the air. However, the outer boroughs of New York have remained fairly stagnant in their transit development. A gondola system to connect Staten Island to the rest of New York Harbor is not only possible, but extremely viable. The system would give Staten Island an opportunity for transportation equity that it lacks because there is no subway system in the borough. Based on the extreme cost of subway tunnel construction, we must find a new option to move significant numbers of people quickly, safely and reliably. Gondolas are that solution.

There are numerous examples of similar systems worldwide – including those which traverse open bodies of water. The Hong Kong 360, Medellin Cableway in Columbia, The Algiers gondola in Algeria and the 2.8 mile Bolzano-Renon Tram in Italy have large open spans connecting destination points. The SIEDC is not alone in promoting gondolas for New York City. Recent proposals have included connecting the Brooklyn waterfront to Manhattan via gondola as well as linking Governors Island with Manhattan as well.

There are several compelling reasons for considering cable technology for urban applications. The initial cost is lower than rail, the long term maintenance cost is lower than buses and ferries and the systems are the most reliable, easy to maintain and safest mass transit in the world. Perhaps most importantly, as opposed to other types of mass transit, this project could be entirely funded through private investment.

Selection Criteria:

The competitors will be evaluated and a winning team will be selected based on the following factors:

  • Experience of the team in working on complex architectural and urban design projects
  • How well the team understands obstacles to design
  • How well the team understands the regional context and need
  • The overall economic impact of the proposal for Staten Island
  • The overall transportation impact of the proposal for Staten Island
  • The engineering feasibility of the proposal
  • The financial feasibility of the proposal
  • The quality of the team’s initial design concepts and ideas

Qualifying Submissions Must Include:

  • At minimum, maps and drawings of the proposed route(s) - 3D, computer generated and video/electronic submissions are preferred
  • Renderings and descriptions of the equipment including but not limited to stations, stanchions, cars/capsules and other related facilities
  • Example(s) of 1-2 comparable aerial cableway projects related to design
  • Detailed analysis of potential launch and landing sites
  • Information regarding route times, capacity, trip frequency
  • List of potential environmental and permitting issues and relevant agencies
  • Information on connectivity to other modes of mass transit and strategic nodes
  • Cost estimates for construction and operation
  • Brief overview of economic impact for Staten Island and the region
  • Public outreach timeline and strategy
  • Project construction timeline

Competition Time Frame:

  • Public Release of Competition Requirements (February 2016)
  • Submissions by Competitors (February – June 2016)
  • Juried Selection of Winning Design (July – October 2016)
  • Public Acknowledgement of Winner (November – December 2016)
  • Formal Presentation of Proposal to the City of New York (January 2017)

Submissions should be directed to the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation, 900 South Avenue, Suite 402, Staten Island, NY 10314 to the attention of Steven Grillo, First Vice President.

About SIEDC:
SIEDC's mission is to enhance a thriving Staten Island economy by promoting public and private investment, and encouraging the development of commercial and industrial property and projects in an environmentally friendly manner, all of which improve the quality of life and provide broad and diverse employment opportunities.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from SIEDC, please subscribe to our daily email notices at

Contact: Alex Porto Staten Island Economic Development Corp. 900 South Avenue, Suite 402 Staten Island, NY 10314 (718) 477-1400 x813

Source:Staten Island Economic Development Corp.