Friday, November 20, 2009

Report From RIOC's President - Upcoming Board/Town Hall Meeetings, Temporary Ferry Service, Tram Outage, Tree Lighting & Other Roosevelt Island Issues

RIOC President Steve Shane sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents. Mr. Shane updates us on RIOC Board Nominees, December 10 Board Meeting followed by Residents Town Hall, FDR Memorial, Green Rooms/Wild Gardens, Tram Overhaul, various construction projects, Public Purpose Funding, consultation with RIRA, possibility of temporary ferry service during tram outage, problems with NEXT BUS GPS tracking system, Sportspark Pool opens, Happy Thanksgiving Wishes, Christmas Tree Lighting on December 3 and other issues of concern to Roosevelt Island.
November 18, 2009

1. Board of Directors: November 5 meeting cancelled for lack of agenda. The nominations of Margie Smith and Mike Shinozaki to the Board and the re-nomination of Dr. Grimm are still pending confirmation by the NY State Senate. Next meeting Thursday, December 10 at 4:30 PM, Town Hall to follow.

2. Southpoint:
(A) Green Rooms/Wild Gardens: The work continues; Phase 2 to complete the park, including finish grading, capping, and utilities, fencing and planting to follow.
(B) FDR Memorial: RIOC continues with the round robin among City, State and FERI lawyers. The scheduled meeting with Commissioner Ash was cancelled because of her scheduling conflict to be reset as soon as possible.

3. Tram: On schedule for shutdown March 1, 2010 and reopening end of August 2010. As regulatory and budget issues arise, we are revising our station upgrade aspirations until available budget is determined. Nothing will interfere with the operational overhaul of the Tram and its earliest possible return to service.

4. Projects: Work is ongoing on many projects and others are being completed. Motorgate lighting experiments continue; resurfacing and waterproofing work postponed until Spring. AVAC enclosure work under way. Swimming pool at Sportspark reopened by November 9. Rehabilitation of the gym (bleachers, flooring and padding), ADA compliance and installation of a fire safety system is underway. RIOC is studying solar panels for the rooftop of Motorgate with NYPA. Octagon sewer connection restoration from the water tunnel to begin, allowing reopening of the comfort station. Octagon field back in operation with natural surface, but with settlement of issues about artificial surfaces, ready to resume the project for new drainage, lighting and surface.

5. Coordination with RIRA: A long list of matters of common interest is being discussed so that everyone’s input will be available. Parking, red bus scheduling, Good Shepherd Plaza, landscaping, public purpose criteria, budgeting, etc., etc.

6. Ferry: Explored temporary service at the existing pier at the meditation steps while the Tram is out next year, but underwater rock formations make spud pier infeasible. Now operator is reviewing the old oil dock on the east channel behind the steam plant and is scheduled to be on Island Friday the 20th. Subject to engineering clearance, approvals from the Coast Guard, if there is sufficient ridership interest based on surveys for a service to 35th Street and maybe on down to Wall Street during rush hours, and with the Board’s approval and commitment of approximately $100,000 to subsidize for 6 months, maybe there will be ferry service during the Tram shutdown. Participated in the RIRA sponsored meeting of all interested parties, but little new light shed. Will keep everyone posted. The City’s indicated schedule for proceeding with the proposed ferry service at the Octagon is end of 2010, at best.

7. Public Purpose Fund: For interested parties for the 2010/11 cycle, see the RIOC website. Applications should be prepared and submitted as soon as possible. For any group needing assistance, please call Erica Wilder in our office. RIRA will again be asked to give recommendations and the ultimate funding decisions will be made by the Board to be included in the next RIOC budget.

8. Red Buses: Two new Hybrid Buses are delivered and on the street. Look for Numbers 5 and 6. The Nextbus system vendor has not been able to get the GPS transponders onto the new buses, so the reliability of Nextbus is temporarily up in the air. We are cooperating, but not in our control.

9. Trees: Happy to enable new trees to be planted across from PS 217. Kids participated and a good time was had by all. The NYPA program is really a help.
10. Swimming Pool: With the newly refurbished pool, programs of water aerobics, mommy and me, water polo, learn to swim and adult master swim are all in the works. Come on out and get in the pool! See information on our website and as published in the WIRE and blog sites.

10. Swimming Pool: With the newly refurbished pool, programs of water aerobics, mommy and me, water polo, learn to swim and adult master swim are all in the works. Come on out and get in the pool! See information on our website and as published in the WIRE and blog sites.

11. Blackwell Park: Planning for new Blackwell Park is an ongoing collective effort to incorporate various community constituencies, but not without different stakeholders having divergent views.

12. Holidays: Finally, Thanksgiving is next week; enjoy. Year end is rushing towards us. Christmas tree lighting scheduled for December 3 at Blackwell House.
This message was also published as the RIOC column in the 11/21/09 Main Street WIRE.

UPDATE - 11/24 - In response to Item 8 of RIOC President's Report concerning Next Bus GPS System for new hybrid buses, RIOC Director Jonathan Kalkin Tweets:
Contacted NEXTBUS.COM other day and they will be putting GPS trackers on the 2 new Roosevelt Island Red Buses by today! Nice!