Thursday, January 28, 2010

Report From RIOC's President - Nominees Confirmed, Tram Outage Soon, Ferry/Red Bus Options, Leash Law Enforcement & Promised Gristedes Improvements

RIOC President Steve Shane sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents including:
  • the confirmation of RIOC Board Nominees and new RIOC Chairperson,
  • February 18 Town Hall Meeting,
  • 30 Days To Tram Shutdown and start of Tram Modernization,
  • Transportation alternatives during Tram Shutdown including temporary Ferry (from Oil dock) and Red Bus Shuttle, (Octagon Developer May Subsidize temporary Ferry From their own dock)
  • Southpoint Park/FDR Memorial,
  • Various infrastructure projects including Roosevelt Island Bridge Helix Ramp and artificial surface for Octagon Playing Field,
  • Public Purpose Fund process proceeding ,
  • RIOC 2010 -11 Budget,
  • Blackwell Park,
  • Enforcement of Pet Leash Laws
  • Credit Card Usage at Motorgate
  • Public Safety radar gun speed enforcement and
  • Promised Improvements at Gristedes Supermarket
January 25, 2010

1. Board of Directors: Next meeting on February 18 at 4:30 PM, town hall style meeting to follow. The NY Senate has confirmed the nominations of Margie Smith, Dr. Grimm and Mike Shinozaki. With these confirmations, the tenures of H. Patrick Stewart and Charlee Miller are concluded. We thank the outgoing Directors for their service and welcome the new to the Board. As elsewhere previously reported, Commissioner VanAmerongen resigned as of January 15, so the Executive Deputy of DHCR, Brian Lawlor, a career executive at DHCR and well known to me, as the acting Commissioner of Housing, will be the Chair of RIOC until further notice.

2. Tram: A. On schedule for shutdown March 1 (30 Days!!!) and reopening by September 1, 2010. The plans for crane usage, street closings (including the upper ramp of the Queensboro Bridge), permitted times, traffic control and safety precautions, all as submitted to the Departments of Buildings and Traffic have been reviewed and permits will issue at the time of shutdown.
B. Shuttle bus service to Queens Plaza during morning rush hour is scheduled, starting at 7:30 AM, operating every half hour, departing from the Gristedes loop on the half hour. There will be a pickup loop around Southtown.
C. Exploration of possible ferry service during the morning rush hour continues. Our survey of Tram riders over the last week indicates both price resistance and geographical awkwardness with the half-hourly 7-10 AM 35th Street docking and a bus up 1st Avenue to 57th Street and back down 2nd Avenue. We are not in a position to alter the proposed route. The business plan requires a $4,000 per day expense to be underwritten by RIOC, offset by fare box collections. Therefore, daily breakeven is at 1333 passengers per day at $3 per ride. Our survey results (out of the average Tram ridership of 1100-1200 during 7AM-10AM rush hours, we got approximately 750 responses, about 60% of weekly ridership weighting for daily usage. Of those responding, about 50% would use the ferry if available and of those 75% would be willing to pay an extra $3 (without transfer to the Metrocard system-unfortunately, the MTA will not recognize the ferry as a participant in the Metrocard system and this negative is the most common recurring comment from the survey). So, applying the response percentages to the entire user population (1150 x 50% x 75% x $3, a highly suspect assumption) would leave RIOC, for the anticipated Tram outage of 130 week days, with an approximate $350,000 subsidy. The Board will have to consider whether this expense is warranted. Meanwhile, the Octagon Developer is talking about underwriting the service from the existing dock at the Octagon. Stay tuned.

3. Southpoint-FDR Memorial: Legal work on NYC Funding and Development agreements continues with the FERI attorneys carrying the load. Construction will start in the Spring, after execution of final documents by the City, RIOC and the Developer. State Parks has rescheduled the meeting to determine methodology for future maintenance for January 29. A $2 million endowment was received by State Parks. The Governor’s Budget contains the re-appropriation of $4 Million of State funds.
Projects: A. The contract for engineering study of the status of the helix leading to the Island from the Bridge is let and work underway. B. Octagon Soccer Field resurfacing: Approved by the Board on January 14th, contract execution and commencement of work are imminent.
C. AVAC, Sportspark, fiber optic cabling, Good Shepherd HVAC, Octagon sewer, street lighting, tot lot improvements, etc. all keep engineering very busy.

4. Public Purpose Fund: Seven (7) applications for the 2010/11 cycle were submitted. Completed applications were delivered to RIRA for review and recommendation to the Board in time for consideration at the March meeting.

5. Budget: The proposed 2010/11 Budget has been published and posted on RIOC’s web site for public review and comment before formal presentation to the Board for adoption, as it may be amended, at the March meeting. RIRA and other interested parties are welcome to review, comment and raise questions as part of the process. We have tried to set forth the detail of the assumptions that are part of the exercise and have made the projections for 15 years, subject to the inevitable infirmities of far off estimates. Both operating and capital budgets have been set forth.

6. Blackwell Park: Community participation in the planning process is seemingly on track. Complaints about dog walkers not properly cleaning up after their pets have been made. There will be increased enforcement of the leash laws, including the obvious clean up responsibility to everyone’s neighbors.

7. Credit cards use at Motorgate: As soon as the mechanics of establishing a local bank account and entering into a credit card processing agreement are accomplished, transient parkers will be able to use credit cards to pay the parking charges at Motorgate. Estimated to be 2-3 weeks or mid February.

8. Gristedes: We met on site with John Catsimatidis, the owner, and his staff to discuss operations of the store. An open letter to Island residents is published in this edition of the WIRE. If they come through with their promises, should be a benefit for everyone.

9. Public Safety: With the certification for radar use and the acquisition of hand held units, PSD will be more rigorously enforcing the speed limits on the Island. The first week was conducted with warnings. Special attention is being given to shift changes at the hospitals. Starting the week of January 25, summons will be issued. With greater public awareness, the streets should be safer. Pleased to report PSD’s participation in apprehension of a perpetrator allegedly responsible for a rash of thefts in Motorgate. According to NYPD, Roosevelt Island crime statistics show a drop of 18% in reported crimes. I believe kudos are in order for PSD. Similarly with respect to the efforts put into improving community relations.
This message was also published as the RIOC column in the 1/30/10 Main Street WIRE.


Anonymous said...

Based on an average of 1150 passen-gers from 7-10 am(average tram use)
why does RIOC only provide 1 red bus to Queens every 30min during that period?

Anonymous said...

what survey on the ferry? i would love to participate, but haven't seen a survey.