Friday, March 12, 2010

Report From RIOC's President - Board Agenda & New Meeting Procedures, Tram Shutdown, Red Bus & Other Roosevelt Island Issues Of Concern

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Tram Shutdown and it's consequences

RIOC President Steve Shane sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents. Mr. Shane updates us on:
  • RIOC Board Agenda and Procedures ,
  • Tram Modernization,
  • Red Bus Shuttle schedule during Tram Outage,
  • Southpoint Park, FDR Memorial,
  • Roosevelt Island Bridge Helix Ramp problem,
  • Artificial surface for Octagon Playing Field,
  • RIOC 2010 -11 Budget,
  • Blackwell Park Master Plan,
  • Motorgate Credit Card usage,
  • Mitchell Lama Privatizations,
  • Grog Liquor Shop Tax seizure,
  • upcoming future events and
  • welcomes Spring.
March 10, 2010

1. Board of Directors: Next meeting on March 25 at 9:30 AM. On the agenda will be many compliance items required to be adopted by the Board before forwarding to the various State entities having jurisdiction, the adoption of the Budget for fiscal year 2010/11, RIRA’s report to the Board on Public Purpose awards and a Board action thereon, etc. In response to the suggestion from the community for scheduling change by the Board to all late afternoon meetings preceded by a short public comment period, Brian Lawlor, the Chair of the Board, has recommended the adoption of a resolution establishing such a procedure. Assuming its passage, RIOC will establish a registry on its website where persons interested in speaking before the Board meeting may sign up. Each person will be limited to not more than two minutes.

2. Tram: A. Shutdown on Monday morning, March 1 at 2 AM and scheduled for 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 issued. The Department of Traffic representatives, POMA and I met on March 3 with Community Board 8 to review all the plans for street closures, traffic control, hours of operation, etc.
B. Shuttle Red Bus service to Queens Plaza (to accommodate handicapped access) during week day morning rush hours is running from 7:00 AM until 9:30 AM, operating every half hour, departing from the west side of East main Street outside the Riverwalk Bar on the hour and half hour, Senior Center (546 Main) 5 minutes later and across from PS 217 five minutes later. The ridership is very sparse and when there are zero riders by the time the last departure stop is reached, the bus does not go to Queens, but just circles the Island as part of regular service. Shuttle bus service into Manhattan is operating on the hour starting at 10 AM, same pick-ups, returning from Manhattan on the half hour. Passenger drop off will be in front of PS 217, Good Shepherd and Riverwalk Bar. The Manhattan stop is the west side of 2nd Avenue, at the northerly end of the 59-58th Street block. No shuttle into Manhattan during afternoon rush hours 3PM-6 PM EXCEPT there will is one bus into Manhattan departing the Island at 3:30 PM and picking up in Manhattan at 4 PM to accommodate returning school children. Resumption of hourly service into Manhattan at 7 PM and returning until 11:30 PM. Weekends, shuttle service into Manhattan starting at 10 AM, hourly throughout the day until 11:00 PM, same pick-ups, returning on the half-hour with the last at 11:30 PM. See the schedules posted on RIOC’s web site and on in the posters throughout the Island. Note that if the F train is not in service, the frequency into and out of Manhattan will be increased to every half hour. Fares will be $1.00, with Seniors, Disabled and Children (5-16) at $.50. The MTA will continue to operate the Q 102 bus on the Island on its published schedule. Starting in April, there will be a route change to eliminate the alternating loops to Coler and Goldwater for those who would use the Q 102 and its transfer into the Metrocard system. Regular Red Bus service will continue on the Island, but because of the increased construction activity at the Tram site and the elimination of the Tram stop during the outage, all regular Red Bus service will run a continuous loop southbound along the East Drive, stopping at Riverwalk Bar, then looping around to the front of the subway station to resume a northbound run. Those that want to disembark for the subway at Riverwalk Bar may do so; those who want to ride around to the subway may stay on a stop and do so. All southbound buses, including the Octagon Express will make a stop at PS 217 for those wanting to board a bus at the Q102 stop across the street. We are keeping ridership statistics and will make further decisions about keeping these shuttle bus runs, in consultation with the Operations Committee, depending on utilization. It does appear that the F train and the MTA are servicing the needs of the residents so far and hope it will continue. I am aware of the discomfort, but it is temporary.

3. Southpoint-FDR Memorial: Legal work on NYC Funding and Development agreements continues. Construction is likely to start this spring, after execution of final documents by the City, RIOC and the Developer. State Parks has concluded that it will do the maintenance work itself. A $2 million endowment was received by State Parks. The Governor’s proposed Budget contains the re-appropriation of $4 Million of State funds.

4. Projects: A. The contract for engineering study of the status of the helix leading to the Island from the Bridge is let and the study is underway. B. Octagon Soccer Field resurfacing: Approved by the Board on January 14th, contract executed. Final design approval and commencement of work are imminent with the melting of snow.
C. AVAC, Sportspark, fiber optic cabling, Good Shepherd HVAC, Octagon sewer, street lighting, tot lot improvements, etc. all keep engineering very busy.

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 have held public discussions on the proposed Budget. 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. By now, all questions should have been asked and responses given.

6. Blackwell Park: Community participation in the planning process continues, with a “less is more” conclusion. Other features desired are set forth in the resolution from RIRA. Planning meetings are continuing led by Matt Katz and Judy Berdy to reach final conclusion as to an acceptable treatment for the handicapped accessible ramp and suitable landscaping. Good job by all.

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. Soon, we hope.

8. Privatization of Mitchell-Lamas: With the extensive discussion and debate at the Board meeting to express the sense of the Board for ground lease extensions, RIOC has taken a major step forward in preserving the long term affordability of the portion of the housing on the Island represented by Rivercross, Island House and Westview. Much work and many details remain to be resolved with the other governmental agencies who are stakeholders in Roosevelt Island. My commitment to the process was called into question in the last edition of the WIRE. I have had the opportunity to sit with the Editor to reemphasize and clarify my views on the subject. I hope that there is now no question about my support for the process leading to the preservation of housing with long term affordability. Stay tuned for developments.

9. Grog Shop: Sadly, the New York State Department of Taxation & Finance has shuttered the Grog Shop for non payment of franchise and sales taxes. Until the matter is resolved, RIOC has no access to the premises and unless quickly resolved, will have no alternative to commencing legal proceedings to terminate the lease and recover possession, a typically long and expensive litigation process. We are well aware of the loss of an important service establishment and will do everything possible to facilitate a favorable resolution for Island residents. I have spoken to representatives of the estate of Archie Seale. None is in a position to make any commitments. I will continue to do what I can to reopen this facility.

10. Community Events:
A. Black History Month-Saturday February 27: By all accounts, a smashing success. Dancing in the aisles and great food.
B. Women's History Month -A Celebration of Women Composers-Saturday, March 13th at 7:30pm Good Shepherd Community Center. An educational musical program led by the all women chamber ensemble, L'Ensemble highlights women composers both historically and present day. Reception immediately following the show inside the community room, lower level, where you will have the opportunity to meet the artists and performers of the program.
C. Easter Egg Dying-Saturday March 27th, 2pm-4pm on Riverwalk Lawn.
Come out and dye eggs for the upcoming community Easter Egg Hunt. All Ages welcome. In case of rain, we will meet at the Riverwalk Bar and Grill (425 Main Street).
D. Easter Egg Hunt-Sunday, March 28th, At Blackwell Park-Co sponsored by Riverwalk Bar and Grill.
1:30pm- Ages 2-4;
2:30pm- Ages 5-12;

Whatever your interest, come on out and participate.
Spring is here. Daylight savings time. Enjoy the warmth of the sun.
This message also published as the RIOC column in the 3/13/10 Main Street WIRE.


Anonymous said...

Ref All southbound buses, including the Octagon Express will make a stop at PS 217 for those wanting to board a bus at the Q102 stop across the street I would advocate that all southbound buses
should stop in the Gristede circle.
Having some of them stop across Main St creates unnecessary street crossings by people going to and from Gristede

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