Friday, March 12, 2010

RIRA President On Tram Shutdown F Train Service, Public Purpose Grant Recommendations, Red Bus Rerouting & Upcoming Common Council and RIOC Meetings

You Tube Video Of Roosevelt Island Red Bus Route From Roosevelt Island 360

Roosevelt Island Residents Association President (RIRA) Frank Farance sends the following report to Roosevelt Island residents.
1. Transportation Since the Tram Shutdown. In short, so things seem to be going OK. The MTA has provided some staff on the platforms to help, but it is unclear how long this will last. As I said at the March 3 RIRA Common Council Meeting, we will look at transportation on a weekly basis and reevaluate. Dick Lutz, editor of the WIRE, has agreed to be the common collection point for transportation problems during the tram outage.

2. RIRA Recommendations on Public Purpose Grants. Steve Marcus led the committee to review and make recommendations. The following recommendations have been approved by RIRA for forwarding to RIOC: Island Kids $20,000; LifeFrames $19,000; Marlins $18,000; PTA $25,500; RICLA $9,500; RIHS Kiosk $3,000; Seniors $5,000. Thank you to the community for proposing interesting and worthwhile projects.

3. Rerouting the Red Bus. RIOC has asked LIRO to help with a traffic engineering problem with the tram construction and red bus route. Here's the problem: there are been a couple accidents near the subway station crosswalk. Right now, the red bus has been routed southbound on Main Street and northbound on the West Channel Drive. RIOC staff (VP Operations, Director of Public Safety, Director of Engineering) acknowledge that they have about 3 years each experience on Roosevelt Island. RIRA Planning Committee Chair Matt Katz, RIRA Island Services Committee Chair Aaron Hamburger, and I are helping RIOC to provide experiences of the residents (21 years, 3 years, and 30 years, respectively). The best analogy I can give is to have you read Paul Krugman's column in the New York Times on Monday where he reviews several theories on the cause of the recent financial disaster, e.g., why disaster struck in Ireland, but not in Canada. In short, one looks for commonalities and differences. For example, one might say: don't have the bus stop across the street from the subway station because the accidents occurred when pedestrians cross the street. By this reasoning (and Paul Krugman uses similar analytical reasoning), we would get rid of all the bus stops where people cross the street, such as the northbound stop at 546 where there is similar passenger flow. But there is more to be understood here, clearly passengers crossing the street is not necessarily the primarily problem (or even the main cause). I've seen pictures from a Southtown resident that point to two serious problems: (1) commercial vehicles parked at the subway crossway causing serious congestion problems, and (2) the red buses stop well past the subway crosswalk, which causes people to cross the street and, largely, not use the cross walk. We can fix problem #1 by using the same commercial delivery strategies with merchants as done in the WIRE buildings corridor. We can fix problem #2 by having the bus drivers properly perform the driving/docking maneuver. I've heard one theory that Goldwater employees are so excited about getting off from work (and off of Roosevelt Island) that it causes them to become less safer drivers. If that is the case, we can use the same strategy that we use elsewhere, such as school opening/closing: have Public Safety in the key crosswalks to make sure traffic flows safely during the peak period. I make these points because while RIOC seems to be rationalizing the present bus route changes as a solution to a safety issue (which they definitely aren't) they create new safety issues: when the tram returns, the bus will not pull up to the tram, but stop across the street, including having a higher number of handicapped/impaired passengers cross the street — creating a bigger safety problem. This is a work in progress and my comments here are just a progress report — nothing has been decide yet, we're still gathering information. We (RIOC and RIRA) are in agreement that the understand and decision-making need to follow sound engineering and risk-management principles. This will take several months to solve.

4. Upcoming RIRA meetings. Upcoming RIRA meetings. The next Common Council meeting is April 7 at 8:00 p.m. in the Good Shepherd Community Center. The next RIRA Town Hall Meeting (discussing RIOC Board Agenda) will be on March 24 at 8:00 p.m. in the Good Shepherd Community Center. RIOC President Steve Shane says that RIOC Board meetings will now always be convened at 5:30, with the first portion reserved for public commentary. Shane and I believe that both public access periods are complementary: the RIRA Town Hall meetings will continue to be informal, in-depth interactive discussion of board issues (possibly not all board members in attendance), while the RIOC Public Session will be more formal (advance registration, limited to 2 minute statements) but will have all board members in attendance. I think is good for both organizations (RIOC, RIRA) and for the community.
At approximately the 1 minute 50 second mark of Roosevelt Island 360's video, one can see southbound Red Bus riders walking behind the bus then crossing Main Street on the way to subway with northbound traffic approaching. Any thoughts on how this problem should be solved?

The RIRA President's message is also published as the RIRA column in the 3/13/10 Main Street WIRE.


Anonymous said...

Ref your last paragraph : At approximately the 1 minute 50 second mark of Roosevelt Island 360's video, one can see southbound Red Bus riders walking behind the bus then crossing Main Street on the way to subway with northbound traffic approaching. Any thoughts on how this problem should be solved?

1) At least put a STOP sign in the northbound lane
2) Have the busses stop closer to subway station at the crosswalk which is being used by employee cars and delivery trucks

Anonymous said...

And as usual no apologies for being wrong... were there ever apologies for FF's harsh comments about CUNY's the transportation study? Looks they and the MTA were right about capacity.

Frank Farance said...

Obviously, the nutters from last year's Columbia/CUNY's transportation study are at it again. Of course, they refuse to reveal their names by posting anonymously (if you'd post your name, then you'd have to take responsibility for you nonsensical sniping attacks; but you're a coward).

The MTA wasn't right about capacity. Many people have changed their schedules (which added 30-60 minutes to their commute time). And you can see from page 6 of this week's WIRE that there is still a crowding issue: the dwell times have gone from 22.5 seconds (avg) to 102.9 seconds (avg), which implies that the trains are past their useful (practical) capacity.

So, yes, there is still a capacity problem that has gotten worse since the tram stopped -- as verified by independent observers.

CUNY and Columbia did incompetent work. There's no denying that. And we (the Island) wasted many months waiting for a faulty report. (I'll also point out that many of us offered our help to improve the report and avoid obvious flaws, but both CUNY and Columbia declined our help.)

Anonymous said...

It's all working out. What's with all these attacks anyway? I expect a little more from somebody in Frank's position, though. "Nutters"? "Coward"?

Enough said. This is childish.

Anonymous said...

I just hope in the next RIRA election, all of you who know Farance will vote for someone else. Even long time RIRA Board Members have left because of his "my way or the highway" attitude. When is the election anyway?

Anonymous said...

The only flaw this report had (besides, well, it was a student project) was that it didn't agree with everything the long-term islanders were complaining about all the time.

I am posting anonymous because I don't see the need to create yet another account I have to keep track of. My name is George M. and I have been living here for more than 10 years. And I still disagree with Frank Farance's style and most of the complains he and his cohorts have.