Posts Tagged ‘Robert Moses’

A never-built subway tunnel to Staten Island

May 31, 2011

If things went according to plan and the Fourth Avenue subway tunnel connecting Brooklyn to Staten Island, proposed in 1912, was actually built, would Staten Island have become as urban as the other four boroughs?

We’ll never know, because like so many other ideas tossed out by the MTA and its forerunners, this one got shelved.

Okay, it did get off the ground a little bit. In 1923, the Brooklyn Transit Company began digging a tunnel under Owl’s Head Park in Bay Ridge that would connect the Fourth Avenue line to Staten Island off St. George.

But 150 feet in, digging stopped due to lack of funds. A Staten Island-Bay Ridge subway link was again considered in 1929, part of the city’s plan for subway expansion (see color map above).

The Depression ended that. In the early 1960s, community leaders proposed adding subway tracks to the under-construction Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

But anti-mass transit Robert Moses, Triborough Bridge Authority boss at the time, wasn’t going to let that happen.

[Black and white map, above left, reveals the original 1912 tunnel plan]

The highway that almost destroyed downtown

August 4, 2010

Soho? Never would have happened. Little Italy would be turned into a pile of bricks. And block after block along Delancey, Broome, Kenmare, and Spring Street would have met the wrecking ball as well.

But luckily, none of this happened, because the proposed Lower Manhattan Expressway was met with relentless community opposition.

First proposed in 1928, LOMAX, as it was known, would have been an 8-lane elevated highway connecting the Holland Tunnel to the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges via Broome Street.

The point was to link New Jersey to Long Island faster and more efficiently. “Master builder” Robert Moses pushed hard for it the early 1960s, claiming it would create much-needed city jobs.

But residents, led by urban activist Jane Jacobs, argued that it would displace thousands of families and signal the demise of entire historic neighborhoods.

Finally, in 1969, the city officially killed the plan.