Monday, March 3, 2008

Ooops - NYU Unaware of 2009 Roosevelt Island Tram Shutdown

Image of NYU Bus from

I recently spoke with several NYU officials at a Roosevelt Island open house. They were trying to persuade their Greenwich Village renting faculty members to buy one of the 58 condo units, purchased by NYU for $43 million, in Roosevelt Island's Hudson/Related Riverwalk building. To date, 13 of the 58 units have been sold to faculty members willing to leave the life of Greenwich Village renters and become Roosevelt Island condo owners.

During the conversation about Roosevelt Island transportation issues, these NYU officials were surprised then stunned to learn that the Roosevelt Island Tram would be completely out of service for at least seven months starting early 2009 in order to repair and modernize the entire Tramway system. They were under the impression that some sort of temporary parallel Tram would be in operation during the time that the Tram is out of service. Unfortunately, as all Roosevelt Islanders know that is not the case. Here is a link to the Roosevelt Island Tramway Modernization Cost Benefit Analysis from RIOC dated October 4, 2007 showing the 4 alternatives considered last year. Alternative 4, the most comprehensive as well as expensive alternative with the longest Tram downtime was selected.

In the absence of the Tram, Roosevelt Islanders will have to rely on the F Train (except on weekends when it is often out of service in one direction or the other), the Q102 bus to Queens Plaza, bike riding, walking or some other yet to be determined transit option in order to get off of Roosevelt Island. RIOC President Steve Shane discussed this issue with the MTA as reported in his 2/23/08/Main Street WIRE column (PDF File):
I discussed the F train scheduling, both as to morning rush hour crowding and weekend outages, especially in light of the pending Tram outage in 2009. I was promised a schedule of weekend interruptions to meet the work plan and the projected completion. I asked for and was promised a work schedule for the escalators and elevators, so at least we’d have some idea of the program and timeline. I discussed the Tram outage schedule and the need for coordination. We discussed the possibility of interim ferry service and they said they’d be cooperative (bus lines at 34th Street) but, given the issues with the Coast Guard and the lack of useful landing sites on the Manhattan shore, thought it unlikely to be very fruitful as an alternative to the subway. I told them of RIOC’s plan to run the Red Bus over to Queens Plaza during the Tram outage.
I guess the NYU Purple Bus is going to be making alot of trips from Greenwich Village over the 59th Street Bridge through Long Island City to Roosevelt Island and back in 2009. Good Luck.

UPDATE - 3/4 - Here is link to the Thornton Tomasetti engineering firm's 2007 Executive Summary on the Evaluation of Roosevelt Island Aerial Tramway System Phase 1 and Main Street WIRE links to Roosevelt Island Tram modernization reports.


Anonymous said...

No plans to run the red bus all the way to Manhattan this time? I thought it was great during the last tram outage. The red bus ran express from Gristedes to 2nd Ave and whatever the cross street is.. 60th St? It stopped in front of that pet store.

Unknown said...

We need to have more condo owners that will have a voice when it comes to the issues with transportation. A lot of the meetings in the island do not have the voice of the southtown reisdents who's main interest is not so much affordable housing but the future of the island with all those buildings coming up and the lack of transportation alternatives. Plus maybe RIOC will finally rent those empty stores knowing that the residents will support them and they will also get higher rents and they can use the money for making the Island more attractive to visitors as well as pride for the current residents about their community.

Anonymous said...

the tram's days are numbered....

but there is ONE alternative that you will never see discussed by the city, and that is a PEDESTRIAN TUNNEL underneath the river. how hard do you think it would be to construct a relatively short tunnel [several hundred feet] under one part of the east river, solely for roosevelt island foot traffic? LOL, a hell of a lot less than that idiotic water tunnel you've got under there. it really is a sensible, cost effective idea.

of course, for that reason, it will never happen.


By coincidence, at last Tuesday's Community board 8 meeting a suggestion was made to use existing but unused subway tunnel underneath East River to get from Roosevelt Island to Manhattan or Queens during an emergency.

Fez Whatley said...

maybe NYU can but the old tram and run it parallel