Friday, February 15, 2008

It's Deja Vu All Over Again - No Roosevelt Island F Train to Manhattan This Weekend

Image from New York Times article on access to 59th St. Bridge from Roosevelt Island

As the great philosopher Yogi Berra once said, "it's deja vu all over again." We knew that last week's restoration of full weekend F train subway service to Roosevelt Island would not continue for long but I had hoped it would it would last for more than one weekend. But alas, it was not to be. For the next 2 weekends there will be no F train subway service from Roosevel Island to Manhattan because, according to the MTA:
We are making electrical improvements to ensure that trains continue to operate safely along the F line.
How do these service interuptions change Roosevelt Island F train Subway service? Again, from the MTA:
Trains skip 21 St-Queensbridge, Roosevelt Island, Lexington Av-63 St, and 57 St.
For service to these stations, take the F to 47-50 Sts and transfer to a Queens-bound F.
For service from these stations, take a Queens-bound F to Roosevelt Av and transfer to a Manhattan-bound F.
RIOC President Shane forwards this message from the Roosevelt Island Tram operators in response to a resident's request for increased weekend Tram service when Roosevelt Island F train subway service is out.
We as usual will be on demand. This means we will switch into rush hour schedule according to the number of passengers in need for transportation. For the last three years since MTA started with the tracks reconstruction works, the tram implemented this response with excellent results.
Isn't it time to at least look into the possibility of some sort of stairway or elevator from Roosevelt Island to the 59th Street Bridge? As the reader of this post on the pedestrian bridge component to the Roosevelt Island Tower of Death project at Southpoint wrote:
It's too bad the elevator to the Queensborough Bridge was taken down. Maybe it could be reconstructed. That would be perfect, at least when it's not too cold.
The NY Times reports that the Department of Transportation :
raised doubts about a passageway that would have to be nearly 135 feet high.

“It’s not feasible,” she said. “They’d have to remove a lane of traffic to put in an elevator.”

With an average of about 180,000 vehicle crossings a day, the Queensboro is one of the city’s busiest bridges, and according to Ms. Sarlin, eliminating a lane for an elevator would hamper traffic. A stairway could not be installed because people with disabilities could not use it, she added, noting that such a change would also cause security problems. Further, she said, since the facade of the bridge has landmark status, altering it would present a problem.
According to Streetsblog:
There used to be electric trolleys going over the Queensboro bridge and there was a stop at Roosevelt Island halfway across the bridge. People would then walk across to a building (see above photo of the Roosevelt Island elevator building) that had a number of elevators. These elevators were so big that they could fit the trucks and automobiles that supplied the island.
and rebuts DOT's landmark, security and traffic objections.

Here is a presentation made by Roosevelt Island Residents Association representatives to Community Planning Board 8 seeking support to:
to physically connect Roosevelt Island to the Queensboro Bridge pedestrian and bike path
In April 2007, the Board unanimously approved a resolution to conduct a feasibility study on subject. Don't know if the study has ever been attempted.

Roosevelt Island 360 has some ideas on a pedestrian bridge similar to the Wards Island foot bridge.

I hope we don't have to resort to Queensboro bridge base jumping like this. Wow!

For those who are concerned that our senior citizen population might not be able to travel this way, here is Jean-Pierre, an 85 year old French man who shows us, his family and village how to do it.


Anonymous said...

What a stupid idea! I guess people have too much time on their hands.