Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Southtown Residents Updated On Roosevelt Island Tram Status And New Traffic Pattern/Parking Spots For West Channel Road

Image of RIOC's VP Of Operations Fernando Martinez Giving Tram Update To Southtown Residents

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez gave Southtown Residents an update on the Roosevelt Island Tram Modernization Project last night informing them the Tram is scheduled to resume operations in late November. Mr. Martinez reported that the construction phase of the project is nearly complete and that as soon as the NY State Department of Labor (DOL) signs off on the safety of the new tram, service will resume. Inspectors from the DOL will be on Roosevelt Island next week to begin their certification process.

There were several testy questions and statements from a couple of residents frustrated with the repeated delays in getting the Tram back in service. One resident unfavorably compared the time it has taken to build the new Tram with the year it took to construct the Empire State Building. Another resident asked what would be done with the liquidated damages assessed against Poma, the Tram's Contractor, for delays accruing after the original planned September Tram opening and if liquidated damages can be assessed against RIOC itself for the delays.

Mr. Martinez responded he was equally frustrated by the delays but that the Tram Modernization is a tremendously complex construction project made even more so by difficulties involved in New York City wide crane permitting problems. Mr. Martinez also acknowledged that perhaps the original 6 month schedule to complete the project was a little too ambitious. The great majority of Riverwalk residents at the meeting agreed with Mr. Martinez assessment and thanked him for the work being done.

As to the liquidated damages against POMA, Mr. Martinez said that it would be the subject of future negotiation after the Tram is back in service.

Another resident asked about having some sort of compartment or space on the Tram for large dogs that cannot fit in a carry on case which is required for all dogs on the Tram. Mr. Martinez stating that he would look into it but advised that other Roosevelt Island Tram riders might not be very happy with large, non-guide dogs, out of a carry on case riding the Tram.

Finally, Mr. Martinez presented the new Southtown Traffic Plan with the West Channel Road facing Manhattan turned into a one-way north bound street and the addition of 30 additional parking spots on the subway station side of the West Channel. More on the Southtown Parking situation here.

All in all, an excellent job by Mr. Martinez informing Southtown residents on the Tram and parking situation.

Roosevelt Island Residents Association Southtown Common Council Delegate Dave Evans was also at the meeting and reports:
I was happy to be in attendance on Tuesday, November 9 when Fernando Martinez of RIOC provided Riverwalk-area residents an informative update on our beloved TRAM.  His presentation was essentially the same as provided during an open session of a September 2010 (I believe) RIOC Board Meeting that I attended at which Leslie Torres, then the pending new RIOC President, was in attendance.

The Riverwalk session was both bitter and sweet.  The former characterization is due to the angst some in attendance felt and vented due to 'perceived past unacceptable and unrealistically optimistic' RIOC promises and its performance and handling of the TRAM renovation program.  For the most part, Fernando patiently and gracefully handled the questions birthed from those perceptions, apologizing where appropriate while explaining the scope of the project and the fact of liquidated damage (that is, rebated money to RIOC) forthcoming from the contractor for missing the deadline.  Some asked, "how will RIOC use that money?"  Interesting question and we will await the answer. 

Of course, and appropriately so, Fernando received kudos from some attendees for RIOC's management of this major program and in a relatively short time.  Moreso, for the good news in the presentation was that the modern, two-cabin, aesthetically improved TRAM - - that can run concurrently in the same direction with a three-minute crossing of our wonderful river while providing fantastic views and with robust support of the morning and afternoon rush hour - - will be operational the end of November.  Some work will continue beyond year-end but the TRAM will be operational.  Yes, YES!

Hey, as a further treat, it might also accommodate and offer the rite of passage to any patron who has a large dog.  Is November end realistic?  Fernando firmly says "yes" because the Department of Labor is already scheduled and is gonna certify the system.  Let's hope so or otherwise in attendance Ms Wilder, whom Fernando advised would be available for future questions, will certainly be busier at her desk as RIOC Community Relations Specialist.  OK, no more bitter in future sessions here in Riverwalk land because the TRAM is near and parking, yes, expanded vehicle parking is on the horizon.  Well done, if done, RIOC!


Anonymous said...

Nice to see the update about the Tram presented by Mr. Martinez- but why only to Southtown?

I know the rest of the Island would like to know what is going on with the completion of this long project that commenced on 3/1/10 and was due to end on 9/1/10 and then maybe due to be back sometime last mo. and then maybe at the beginning of this mo.

Honestly, doesn't the entire Community deserve the same kind of information and should be presented in a Town Hall meeting in the Church.

28 year resident- Northtown.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Martinez was scheduled to speak about this to the public at a last weeks RIRA sponsored meeting at the Church, but was told by RIRA that he had to wait until the next meeting to do his presentation.

View from NY said...

I was at the meeting last night, and I second the opinion in this post that Fernando had to deal with a some unnecessarily unpleasant and aggressive remarks; and he did so with grace and patience. Anyone who has done any remodeling (or even predicting how long you'd take to drive from A to B) would know there is no such thing as a risk-free project and error-free projections. There is nothing to suggest that any of the delay was due to RIOC. It is simply ridiculous to ask ROIC for liquidated damages; they are the client who pay for the project so is someone suggesting they pay damages to themselves? It was clarified that any money deducted from the contractor by way of liquidated damages remain in ROIC funds and spent on other projects on the island. So I applaud the silent majority who take the reasonable view.

Anonymous said...

Please no dogs on the tram. Plenty of people are allergic to dogs and many children are scared of large dogs. Since the tram is a small enclosed space (which means you won;t be able to escape the dog if needed) I don't think having large dogs on the tram is a good idea.

Anonymous said...

to poster above: "No Dogs on Tram"

Get over it ... Dogs on RI are here to stay. Dogs and other animals on the Planet Earth are here to stay.

Kids are afraid because an adult - usually a parent- told them -"ooooh, stay away, scary hairy beast." If you are raising your kids to be afraid -of anything- you need some serious help.

Whats this about "escape the dog if needed." What happens if I stand next to someone that hasnt showered in a few weeks in an enclosed area (subway/tram/bus)- Please dont tell me this hasnt happened to you. cheez, Ive been on the tram with some pretty scary individuals - without being able to escape while the conductor and i just shrug at each other.

Nevertheless dogs should be allowed on the tram and all public transportation -as they currently are- as long as they are crated or transported in an appropriate case.

lets end the dog hatred already - grow-up!

Anonymous said...

There is no reason that the tram should have any different rules of conduct from the MTA.

Section 1050.9
1. Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2) of this subdivision, no person may bring any animal on or into any conveyance or facility unless enclosed in a container and carried in a manner which would not annoy other passengers.
2. Paragraph (1) of this subdivision does not apply to working dogs for law enforcement agencies, to service animals, or to animals which are being trained as service animals and are accompanying persons with disabilities, or to animals which are being trained as service animals by a professional trainer. All service animals and animals being trained as service animals must be harnessed or leashed.

Jay said...

I had to look it up and was surprised to read that the Empire State Building was in fact built in 1 year 45 days. Amazing.

Not sure what that has to do with the tram, but interesting fact.

Anonymous said...

TO the poster from 9:42pm: "Kids are afraid because an adult [...] told them [...]"?" Are you kidding me? Kids get afraid of dogs because dogs lick faces and jump on people and large dogs are usually just as big or bigger than small children. Now imagine a child who did not grow up with a dog at home and has to deal with one on the streets or at somebody else's place? While the dog just wants to play with the child or is just curious it causes fear and panic. It is mostly the dog owners who are responsible for fear of dogs.

Nobody made an argument that dogs don't belong here or on earth. Wait, let me rephrase that. *I* never made an argument that dogs don't belong. All I said is that if you bring a dog into a tram it should be contained just like it is being done almost everywhere else in the world when it comes to mass transit.

Oh, and the stinky bum on the train? I just walk over to the next car if needed. A bum just stinks. A dog can do more harm to people. It's a fact that people are more important than dogs for obvious reasons. Dogs don't have the same rights as human beings.

Anonymous said...

Ok, with the dogs already....

Now back to the presentation given by Mr. Martinez of RIOC. It was a great presentation and I don't live in Southtown, but attended when I heard Matt Katz had cancelled the presentation at the RIRA meeting.

People may attend any meeting here on the island. It's just not for one group or another. If you want to be informed, you can be. Maybe the poster above (November 10, 2010 at 4:13PM) should ask Matt Katz why he cancelled the presntation.

Oh, I know, because he wanted his first meeting as President to be about him.

skipper said...

I agree with the comment that
"Nevertheless dogs should be allowed on the tram and all public transportation -as they currently are- as long as they are crated or transported in an appropriate case"

Asking for more is ridiculous.The writer cannot be serious and should not keep a dog if he/she lives in an apartment