Friday, January 29, 2010

RIRA President On Roosevelt Island Red Bus Routing, Tram Shutdown Transportation Problems, Next 10 Years, Robots For Kids & Adult Softball

You Tube Video of 2007 Manhattan Lego Robotics Championships

Roosevelt Island Residents Association President (RIRA) Frank Farance sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
1. Routing of Buses and Main Street in Southtown area. As reported in the prior WIRE, RIOC Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez discussed the potential rerouting at the previous RIRA meeting. This is a complex problem and RIRA's Planning Committee (Matt Katz, Chair) and Island Services Committee (Aaron Hamburger, Chair) are investigating the problems and potential solutions. More on this soon.

2. Transportation Problems with Tram Shutdown. Matt Katz, RIRA's Planning Committee Chair, has sent a letter to the MTA complaining about their ignoring our problems. I am following up with my own letter that addresses technical problems with the MTA's analysis. We are considering everything from coordinating action with other communities along the F line to filing an Article 78 on the MTA. We are concerned that once the tram shuts down, the congestion at the Roosevelt Island will be so severe that F trains will be delayed, which clogs the whole F line — not merely a delay for Roosevelt Island residents. We are working with the elected officials (Lappin, Kellner, Serrano, Stringer, Maloney) to add pressure to the MTA to resolve these concerns.

3. The Next 10 Years? The WIRE's editor Dick Lutz asks for our ideas. Transportation infrastructure and adequate RIOC financing are the Island's main concerns. Without transportation infrastructure, housing is less attractive; meanwhile RIOC's finances are overly dependent on new Southtown construction. So using the creative technique "instead trying to make it better, how do you make it worse?", I think leveling the Goldwater Hospital and building 5000 units of housing will really make things worse. Or will it? If we think about transforming Roosevelt Island to a transportation hub — a Hoboken of the East River — then we might be eligible to receive billions of transportation dollars to improve our transportation infrastructure because Roosevelt Island transportation would now provide a regional benefit, not merely a local benefit. For example, the 53 Street and 60 Street lines could be hollowed out into subway stations and connected as a transfer point; ferry service would be much more attractive with higher numbers of passengers; and an underground moving walkway, for the length of the Island, would shuttle the new passengers (just like O'Hare airport). In summary, to address our weaknesses (transportation, long-term RIOC finances), we market ourselves as a transportation hub (which betters our weaknesses). OK, this isn't a 10-year plan, but a 20-40 year plan.

4. Robots for Kids 6-13 Years Old. Last year, we had a great team of children who learned about and built robots (based upon Lego Mindstorms NXT), and they competed well in a City-wide competition. With the help of the Roosevelt Island Youth Program and the PS/IS 217 Beacon Program, we are continuing again this year with a longer/larger program. Brian Dorfmann and I are the mentors/coaches. The cost is free. We meet once a week 6:30 - 8PM at RIYP's second floor at 506 Main Street. We might expand to two days a week. Both boys and girls enjoy this, they enjoy socializing with children different than their own age, and it is a rewarding experience in many ways and at many levels. Pizza is served for kids.

5. Adult Softball. We are trying again this year to have a league. I spoken with the Riverwalk Bar and Grill about having a kick-off meeting in February. I'll have more details in my next column.

6. Upcoming RIRA meetings. The next Common Council meetings are February 3 and March 3 at 8PM in the church lower floor. Former RIRA President Steve Marcus is chairing the Public Purpose Grant committee, which is reviewing the seven applications received from RIOC. The meetings are open to the public; come to the February 3 RIRA meeting to hear Steve's status report. The next RIRA Town Hall meeting (for reviewing the RIOC Board agenda) is February 10 at 8PM in the church upper floor. These town meetings are very informative — come listen and ask your own questions.
The RIRA President's message is also published as the RIRA column in the 1/30/10 Main Street WIRE.


Anonymous said...

Roosevelt Island in 10 years

I like Frank's idea of an underground moving walkway,but NOT the idea of more residences than we have already committed to.

The Roosevelt Island bridge, Main Street and the R.I. school cannot handle the increased demand.

Unknown said...

I never saw a follow-up on the softball. Did I miss it?

softball league said...

hello jason, my name is eddie and im the commissioner of the el barrio softball league in randalls island. if you have a teams or teams that are interested in a modified league, please call me at 347-266-2667 for more information. or email me at or Thank you and have a blessed day!