Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Where Should The Roosevelt Island Red Bus Stop To Pick Up And Drop Off Passengers At The New Tram - Here's The Latest Proposal From RIOC

Now that the fun and excitement over the Roosevelt Island/Park Slope first round battle for the Curbed Neighborhood Of The Year is over, it's back to daily life on Roosevelt Island and issues such as the Red Bus and Tram Operations.

A reader of Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Leslie Torres recent Report To The Community wrote:
Hey Leslie -- It is not all lollipops and roses.

Please get the Red bus to pick up and discharge passengers at the Tram ON THE SAME SIDE OF THE STREET AS THE TRAM after 7 am. Anything less is an accident waiting to happen, and it is cruel to our elderly and disabled neighborsn not to mention many of our youngsters who go to school in Manhattan and do not excercise any precaution when crossing the street.

And then get a bus shelter up there too. And move the bench from the outer edge of the station to the more protected area where it used to be.

Common sense seems to have gone out the window with the re-opening of the Tram. Running one cabin during the day ? Pretending no one will notice ?

And please remind the Red bus drivers to use their radios and talk to each other so we can prevent a repeat of the 25-minute wait this past Friday at the Across-the-street from the Tram bus stop in 20 degree weather...
Another suggested:
The easiest way to make the crossing of the street safer would be to make it a one-way, bus-only lane. Paint a crosswalk sign on the street and we are done. Any other complains are just because of laziness or rain-allergies.
And comments from other posts:
 Most of the passengers would prefer "it (the bus) goes a bit around the round-about and backs up into the spot on the south side" . It would be preferable to the haul from the north end of the road most of the time and winter is coming
 Crossing a street is now a "haul"? I am speechless. What is wrong with us if we don't even want to walk a few steps anymore? I agree that the crossing should be made safer: buses only, a cross walk, or even maybe make the street narrower or build a passenger loading bay. But complaining that walking 10 more steps is unacceptable is just silly.

Oh, maybe the bus fare should be bumped up to a dollar. Maybe that will refocus the complains.
One more:
The majority of RIers don't care much if the bus stops on the north or the south side of the street. They all understand that walking a couple more steps is not going to kill them.

I have talked to many people who take the bus and the only thing that pisses everybody off is the bus not being in sync with the tram right now.
 This issue was raised and discussed during the RIOC Board of Directors December 9 Operations Committee meeting. The discussion was very interesting and sometimes quite heated. In the past, I would recommend that you listen to the discussion yourselves on the audio web cast but it appears that only the first 27 minutes of the more that 2 1/2 hour meeting is available. The Red Bus and Tram Operations discussion took place later in the meeting and is not included in the audio web cast.

This is what happened. RIOC's VP of Operations Fernando Martinez presented a review of the first week of Red Bus and Tram operations following the return to service of the new Tram System.

The RIOC Directors present as well as RIRA President Matt Katz made many of the point referred to by the readers above.  In response, Mr. Martinez proposed the following Red Bus route change which will enable the Red Bus to drop off and pick up passengers at the Tram on the south side of the street so that Red Bus passengers will not have to cross into traffic. (Click On The Image To Enlarge)

Here's the Roosevelt Island Tram Station Plaza East/West Cross Street from above.

The proposed plan is that the Red Bus, instead of turning right as it currently does to drop off riders on the north side of the East/West Road (pictured at top), will go around the turnaround heading left

and drop off/pick up riders on the Tram Station Side of the street

in the spot where the Tram workers now park their cars near the construction trailers.

The Red Bus will then make a right on East Channel Road (facing Queens) heading towards Sportspark,

make another right at the South Side of Sportspark to the West Channel Road (facing Manhattan) and head north to resume it's route on Main Street towards the subway station. Before it gets to the Subway Station, the Red Bus will also stop next to the Visitors Center Kiosk.

Several RIOC Board Directors raised concerns to this new Tram Station Red Bus Stop proposal citing the inaccessibility of these nearby steps to the Tram Station

and the distance to the existing ramp for elderly and disabled

One Board Director asked if a canopy similar to the one that leads from the South Side of the Tram Station to the Tennis Club could be placed at the proposed bus stop to protect riders from bad weather.

Another Director asked if the Red Bus could just back up a bit from the new stop and then go around the turnaround as it did before the old Tram went out of service. The Director added that if necessary, a curb cut in the sidewalk adjacent to Firefighter's Field could be done.

Mr. Martinez responded that he did not think it was possible for the Red Bus to safely make the Tram Turnaround from the proposed new Red Bus Stop. Mr. Martinez did say that an additional ramp could be installed by the Tram Station Staircase but that would have to wait until spring when the weather get's warmer to mix concrete. In the meantime, Mr. Martinez promised that a new temporary bus shelter will be installed at the current Tram Station Stop.

Guess what? A reader sent in this comment earlier today:
FYI: RIOC has just installed a passenger shelter for the bus stop across the street from the tram.
And here it is.
New Temporary Bus Shelter

Remember this is just a proposal right now and not the definite new route. So, what do you think of the new proposed Tram Bus Stop and Route?

Another issue with the Red Bus Stop occurs at the Subway Station. Will have more on that later.


Anonymous said...

This is so ridiculous it is hilarious! Why are there any discussions about this in the first place? Were there senior citizens and disabled RIers present to voice THEIR opinions about the bus stop? It seems all discussions fall back to their needs.

I guess if the perception of crossing the street is that bad when it comes to safety I'd hope that the lengthening of the route (which we had before when RIOC made the Main Street loop one way the other way than today) is a non-issue. But what about the weather? We cannot expect old people and children to walk through the rain to the bus stop! And wheel chair bound people and parents with strollers have to walk an additional 15 seconds, forfeiting their right to be on the bus first. Wait, we'll have an additional ramp for that.

I am really enjoying this. Local politics on RI is a treasure for stand-up comedy.

Anonymous said...

Unless RIOC continue to allow for at least 2 buses at a bus stop at any given time (with the first and frequently only bus parking farthest from the station)the buses should be able to stop next to the ramp and continue around the circle - thereby saving both money (gasoline)and time - if they go back on the West Road.
The driver of a second bus,if any,can see the bus stop from East Road bedore entering the circle and,if it is occupied, wait a few minutes on the other side.

Anonymous said...

It's going to be a really tight turn to get the bus closer to the exit of the tram station.

Talking about bus stops. I realized tonight that moving the stop for the red bus further up the street is necessary to give enough legal loading and unloading room for the Q102 if it happens to be coming right behind the red bus (or vice versa). I think this is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

The most logical place for a bus stop is directly opposite the tram entrance, across the street at the corner of the circle before the bus makes the right. The fountain should be done away with so that there would be additional room for cars to go around buses waiting to pick up passengers or discharging passengers. It's the shortest distance from that spot to the tram entrance. I'm sure no one will miss the fountain. The intersection will then be a 3 way intersection - not a circle. Removing the fountain creates a bay for the bus, traffic can still flow around it. Having the bus go around Sportspark makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

"not to mention many of our youngsters who go to school in Manhattan and do not exercise any precaution when crossing the street."

~Sounds like Darwinism at it's finest to me!

Anonymous said...

The location is fine. They just need to make the street one way. If you are crossing the street, you will be doing it from behind the bus, and its impossible to see a car coming from the other way.

The real issue is syncing the bus with the Tram. I don't think it should be hard to have the bus always waiting when the Tram comes by.

Another major issue that is not being talked about are the Tram times on the screens. Those are all arrival times. That makes absolutely no sense. It doesn't help me if the tram will arrive in 2 minutes if its going to sit there for another 15. Besides, I can SEE the tram arriving. I don't need a screen with nubers to tell me when its gonna get there.

What they should be showing are departure times.

Anonymous said...

That first picture, of folks running across the street from the Tram station to catch the bus really says it all about RIOC & Mr. Martinez. They are clueless

It is far better to have the Red bus make the wide left turn to the Tram Station and have folks board the bus on the same side of the station, where they have a chance to be protected from the elements and endure long waits like last Friday's, when it turns out, RIOC staff may have been having its holiday party while the rest of us waited a half hour in subfreezing temps for the bus whose driver then complained about being summoned on the radio...

And BTW -- this is why the drivers have radios and are constantly reminded to use them so there are fewer back ups and delays at the Tram and subway during morning and especially afternoon and evening rush hours. But using their radios will not help the few drivers who cannot excercise common sense or use their mirrors to see people running to catch sometimes empty buses or use their ears to hear folks shouting, 'wait, please wait'...

Red bus service is well done by a tiny number of experienced drivers and badly handled by most. The return of Tram service and increased subway ridership has not been used by RIOC as an opportunity to improve -- only an excercise in incompetence.

And lets see an afternoon/evening rush hour 40 River Road/Octogon express bus, which would let the rest of us actually be able to get on a red bus...

JPH said...

I'm no transportation engineer, but that proposed route seems awfully convoluted. Personally I haven't had any issues with crossing the street to the bus stop, with a toddler in tow. It just doesn't seem that critical to me that the bus arrive on the same side of the street as the tram. Like others have said, syncing the bus to tram arrival seems like far the bigger issue.

Anonymous said...

I am with JPH. Current bus stop is fine. Don't make the route longer with some weird turns just for people like anonymous from 10:34pm who just like to complain (and definitely have some kind of anti-RIOC agenda).

I have three kids and crossing the street is nothing compared to getting the bus back in sync with the tram. Let's focus on that. If the RIOC decides to leave the stop where it is I'd suggest to install STOP signs and a crosswalk to make the crossing official. Maybe making that street one-way and/or buses-only should help a lot.

Anonymous said...


What do you do when you get to the Manhattan side?

YOU WALK !!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am more interested in your follow up on the bus stop in from of the subway. Please tell me why one evening rush hour driver pulls forward father than everyone else and thereby making people walk. This same driver then waits until the bus is completely full not just a reasonable time and then drives slower than any other driver. Yesterday like usual this caused one bus to be completely full and a second right behind it nearly empty. They need to have all drivers follow the same procedures for wait times stop points and all run at roughly the same speed. My commute time should not be based on which driver is next in the rotation.