Broadway Almost Became a Giant Moving Sidewalk in 1872

Can you imagine riding down Broadway on a special sidewalk cart? In 1872, a proposal by Alfred Speer would have had the street lined with tracks and carts for the first moving sidewalk.

Back in the late 1860s/early 1870s, inventor and businessman Alfred Speer was fed up with street congestion in front of his wine store on Broadway near City Hall. Though elevated trains were popping up around the time, they were mostly above 14th Street, so Speer designed an aerial, steam-powered sidewalk (much cleaner than the locomotive trains) that would make a loop up and down Broadway to alleviate traffic. It would be constantly in motion at 10 miles per hour, carrying passengers by foot or in its movable chairs for five cents a ride. Speer even went so far as to patent the idea, officially called the “Endless Traveling” or “Railway Sidewalk.”

Read through the full article for more on Alfred Speer’s 1872 moving sidewalk proposal.

via 6sqft

Matt Coneybeare

Matt Coneybeare

Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

Matt enjoys exploring the City's food scene with his Wife and the outdoors with their three dogs. He is an avid marathon runner, and spends most of his time working from a treadmill desk at home.

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