Here’s a fun if highly unscientific bit from Staten Island: According to Michael Sedon of SILive.com, over 70 percent of polled Staten Island residents want a subway connection from Staten Island to either Brooklyn or Manhattan. In an unscientific poll of 52 Staten Island Ferry riders and another 52 residents from North Shore, Mid-Island and South Shore, 73 of them said the city should connect the subway to Staten Island. “Bloomberg was talking about extending the 7 train into New Jersey,” Audie Parker said. “Now he’s worried about Jersey commuters. What about the Staten Island commuters?”
As Sedon noted, this survey was hardly a scientifically rigorous random sampling of opinions, but it seems clear that Staten Islanders want better rapid transit connections to the rest of New York City. Of course, despite this superficial agreement, not everyone was keen on sending the subway only to Brooklyn as plans developed decades ago once promised. “I don’t see the benefit,” Frieda Riven of New Springville said of a Brooklyn subway connection. “I live in Heartland Village. How long will it take me to get to it, and then what do I do? I get to Brooklyn; then what, another 45 minutes to get to Manhattan. I think there has to be a better solution.”
Of course, there is but one simple problem: Costs. In the reality of today, a cross-New York bay subway to Manhattan or even a connection to the BMT 4th Ave. line in Brooklyn would cost billions of dollars the MTA simply does not have. I too wonder if the residents would be so keen for a subway if they knew how it would be funded. Maybe one day, forces will align to bring the subway from Staten Island to the rest of New York City, but for now, it will remain a pipe dream as it has been since it was first promised to the Island back in the late 1890s.