Thursday, December 10, 2009

MTA Tram Outage Plan For Roosevelt Island F Train Subway Riders- Nothing, Nada & Nilch

Image of Roosevelt Island MTA Meeting From Jonathan Kalkin Tweet

An update to yesterday's post about the meeting concerning Roosevelt Island F train subway service in which I got kicked out of but first a brief recap:
I am very pissed at being removed earlier this morning by MTA Press Office from meeting on finding temporary solution to alleviating the anticipated overcrowding on the Roosevelt Island F Train service during 2010 Tram outage despite being invited to attend by a Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Director, the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President and with the knowledge of Assembly Member Micah Kellner's office who convened the meeting. I also got soaking wet walking in the poring rain to MTA Headquarters for this meeting which did not help.

MTA press people present removed me and the Main Street WIRE editor from meeting claiming that MTA could not speak openly or frankly about this subject with us in the room.
After the meeting I spoke with many of those in attendance who said that there was absolutely nothing said by those in attendance that could be construed in any way as being confidential or that the presence of myself or the Main Street WIRE editor would have effected anything being said.

The substance of the meeting was that the MTA does not think there is an overcrowding problem at the Roosevelt Island F train subway station nor will there be one during the Tram outage. Neither will the MTA refrain from the weekend F train subway disruptions during the Tram outage.

Below is slide from MTA's Power Point Presentation used during the meeting dealing with Roosevelt Island. Click on the image for better reading.

Assembly Member Micah Kellner who convened the meeting reports back on what happened
Much of the meeting was based around the MTA's presentation on the review of F line service it completed in October According to the report, "the review shows that the F lags behind other routes in many performance measures and that the older parts of its infrastructure, some of which are 90 years old, can affect service reliability." The MTA has reorganized line management, established a task force of senior managers to review F line operations and develop strategies for improvements, and assigned newer, more reliable cars to the line. It is in the process of "reviewing the F line's schedules and service design to assess potential operational and service changes," and "undertaking a train load analysis to provide line management with critical information for evening out train loads," as well as "developing strategies to reduce the impact of maintenance and infrastructure renewal work on operations, including coordinating previously separate maintenance activities, and establishing a 'Scheduled Maintenance System' for signal repairs."

The MTA noted that it has twice rearranged its F-line maintenance and infrastructure renewal schedule in light of the planned tram outage, but with the additional delay in the tram project (to March 2010) it cannot defer critical maintenance, and it will be forced to do some work during the period of the tram outage that may result in one-way service on the F-line on some weekends and nights (it's also likely that E trains will be routed through the 63rd Street tunnel, and thus RI, on some occasions).

The MTA says it conducts peak load checks at Roosevelt Island twice a year, and that according to its data, average loads on the F train at Roosevelt Island, even during the morning rush, are within its passenger loading guidelines (I believe the figure was that average loads were at 82% of the guideline). It would be within the guidelines even with the additional 500 or so passengers who currently ride the tram during the morning rush. According to the MTA, federal law prohibits it from adding transit capacity to lines where ridership is within passenger loading guidelines, as long as there are other lines that are more crowded (for instance, the 2/3 and 4/5). This means that the MTA is unlikely to add trains to RI service in the near future.

We did talk about strategies for reducing crowding on the F at RI by better distributing passengers who board trains there -- including signage to encourage riders to spread out along the platform, and the possibility of temporarily reversing platform escalators during the morning rush, so that people do not all come down onto the platform in the same two places (by the stairs and the elevator).

The MTA also said that ridership on the Q102 is currently well below passenger loading guidelines (which, again, they are mandated to refer to). It was pointed out that one reason for the Q102's low ridership is that island residents do not consider it reliable, as it comes fairly infrequently and it goes around the island in two different directions, meaning that riders do not necessarily know which direction it will be going in when they are waiting for it. The MTA said that beginning in April, the Q102 will only go in one direction around the island, which should make it more reliable for riders. In turn, if ridership increases, the MTA will be able to increase the line's frequency.

Other topics we discussed:

-Improving the responsiveness of line and station managers to the public
-Improving station signage for riders with disabilities
-Adding signs at the station entrance notifying passengers when the elevator at the 63rd/Lexington station is not working
-Additional pigeon control measures, which may include changing the station doors, as well as other measures (Assembly Member Kellner is looking into finding funds for pigeon mitigation at the station).

As you know, this meeting was part of an ongoing process of dialog between RI residents and elected officials, and the MTA. We will continue to follow up with the MTA to ensure that promised improvements are made, and that passenger loads are closely monitored so that service can be added when loads exceed 95% of the loading guidelines.
Below is the full MTA F Subway Line Power Point Presentation used at the meeting.
rooseveltislandftrainpresentation UPDATE 12/13 - I found a MTA web page that says you can email the Subway Line General Managers including the one for Roosevelt Island F train. Perhaps Roosevelt Island residents unhappy with F line subway service could email the F line manager and see if it works. If you do, please send me a copy as well.


Anonymous said...

Without a doubt, express bus service to Manhattan, using a MetroCard or something, must be on the table. This morning's brief Tram outage left a few disabled people challenged when they got to the subway and got out at 63rd St and discovered no elevator service.

some of us who remember well the bad old days of no tram and no subway will agree, that the projected tram outage this coming March will leave many of us subway less and no bus service to Q Plaza will be an equivalent. Will we have to go to court to get RIOC andor the MTA to give us bus service to Manhattan ?

Anonymous said...

1)Page One of the MTA presentation is based on 2008 data
(AM Peak Hour at Peak Load Points)
It would be interesting to see the change in 2009 even if based on only 11 months
2)The argument about MTA changing their repair program once already
only to have the tram installation deferred has some validity and cannot be blamed on MTA

Anonymous said...

I think this was a very informative presentation and I agree with pretty much everything that was said. The only problem left for RI is that it is served by only one subway line. I think this is a big problem and an kind of service interruption makes things very complicated for us residents. But then, I think, we all should really start looking into the Q102 and see how we can utilize that better.

Anonymous said...

Best option when subway is not running one way is to take it the other way and turn back: go to Roosevelt Ave when Manhattan-bound isn't stopping here, go to Rock Center when Queens-bound isn't. It's time consuming, inconvenient and annoying, but probably faster than the Q102.

Anonymous said...

Given that the MTA has now admitted that there will be weekend service disruptions at our station during the tram outage - will RIOC be providing any extra transportation to/from Manhattan on those weekends that we don't have another reasonable option to get off of the island or to get home?

Honestly, if I cannot figure out adequate transportation during this period, it will definitely effect my decision when my lease is up in April, along with, I'm sure, many others. No one wants to be trapped on an island so close to civilization.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the last comment. It's not like there is no train at all. You can still take the train into the other direction and switch at the next stop. Is it inconvenient? Sure. Is it doable? Of course, just leave home an extra 30 minutes on those days.

Anonymous said...

When you already leave home at 545 am, that extra half hour is the kicker. Plus, to get a train at 545 going the other way on the weekend and then get one coming back (not to mention making my other two connections), you have to allow an extra hour to an hour and a half.

Unless you think it's ok to be late for work and blame it on the train, then it's totally ok.