Follow Roosevelt Islander On:

Facebook

And

Twitter

Thursday, February 17, 2011

After Spending $86.5 Million On Reconstruction Of Roosevelt Island Bridge, Why Is There No Pedestrian Safety Barrier On Queens Side Of Bridge? Please Explain New York City Department Of Transportation

Image Of Queens Side Of Roosevelt Island Bridge With No Safety Barrier Today

Why is there no pedestrian safety barrier on the Queens side of the Roosevelt Island Bridge? As anyone can clearly see from the picture above, this is a hazardous area because there's not a lot of room on the sidewalk, particularly for wheelchairs and strollers which are very common on Roosevelt Island.  Why can't a safety barrier be installed on the street side of the sidewalk?

It's not as though a pedestrian barrier for this part of the Roosevelt Island Bridge is a new idea. The Roosevelt Island Disabled Association has been asking for one for a long time.  Roosevelt Island 360 wrote about the need for a pedestrian safety barrier for the Roosevelt Island Bridge in August of 2007.
... When I first read the pamphlets and DOT webpage about the Roosevelt Island Bridge reconstruction I took the phrase new “pedestrian safety fencing” to refer to the railing of the bridge. I have always been concerned about my kids walking alongside the rail and either dropping toys down to the water or falling through themselves.

It was only after reading the phrase again that I realized it refers to a fence separating pedestrians from passing cars and trucks. OK, I should have realized that from the get go. It never made sense how the original designers (Knappen Tippetts Abbott Engineering Company of NYC) of a bridge projected to expect 640 vehicle crossings a day felt that a pedestrian safety fence was not necessary in the first place....
Well, a pedestrian safety barrier is necessary for the whole Roosevelt Island Bridge, not just on the Roosevelt Island side

Image Of Pedestrian Barrier On Roosevelt Island Side Of Roosevelt Island Bridge

Image Of Pedestrian Barrier On Roosevelt Island Side Of Roosevelt Island Bridge

but all the way to the Queens side of the Bridge as well.

Image Of Roosevelt Island Bridge Pathway From Ben Kravitz

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Island Services Committee is making the installation of such a safety barrier one of it's priorities for the coming year, From the February RIRA Island Services Report:
o Pedestrian safety barrier on Queens side of RI bridge – Goal is to have the Department of Transportation install a pedestrian safety barrier similar to the barrier on the RI side of the bridge. (Jim Bates is lead person.)
After spending at least $86.5 million on the Roosevelt Island Bridge Reconstruction Project, you would think that the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) would include a safety barrier protecting pedestrians from the cars and trucks using the Bridge ON THE WHOLE BRIDGE and not just a portion of it.

The work on the reconstruction of the Roosevelt Island Bridge is expected to be completed by March 2011, which is next month. According to the DOT:
... The project will include the complete rehabilitation of the Roosevelt Island Bridge. Reconstruction will take place in three stages over three years. Currently, the lift span is non-operational and marine traffic must pass using the West Channel of the East River. The project cost is $86.5 million.
This project is expected to be completed by March 2011.

Work Completed (as of February 2010)
  • Replace the entire roadway deck and approaches – completed ahead of schedule
  • Construct a new turning lane from the bridge onto Vernon Boulevard southbound – completed ahead of schedule
  • Replace bearings to current seismic codes
  • Remove existing paint and repainting the entire bridge – 98% complete
  • Install new sidewalks and pedestrian safety fencing – 98% complete
  • Repair all deteriorated structural elements, river piers and the timber fender system – 95% complete...
It is interesting to note that as of February 2010 the DOT considered 98% of the work completed to install new sidewalks and pedestrian safety fencing yet no safety barriers were installed on the Queens side of the bridge nor have they been since. Is the remaining 2% considered to be the pedestrian safety barrier on the Queens side? If so, will it be completed by March 2011? We shall soon see.

In other Roosevelt Island Bridge news, the DOT will be conducting period test openings of the Roosevelt Island Bridge over the next two weeks.  According to the following advisory from RIOC:
Please be advised the DOT will be performing test openings on the Roosevelt Island Bridge on Thursday, February 17th and Friday, February 18th from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Sincerely,

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
and
Please be advised the DOT will be performing test openings on the Roosevelt Island Bridge on Tuesday, February 22nd, Wednesday, February 23rd and Thursday, February 24th from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Sincerely,

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
More information available on the Roosevelt Island Bridge and it's Reconstruction Project from earlier posts.

UPDATE 1/18 - The Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA) explains the importance of a pedestrian safety barrier for the entire Roosevelt Island Bridge.

10 comments :

Lore said...

Thank you for this post. Maybe the DOT will finally hear us and do something about this issue.

Anonymous said...

I've been using this bridge for so long with my children and I've never had the need for extra barriers. Maybe I am not paranoid enough or maybe because I believe that we are already bubble-wrapping out lives way too much. Watch your kids and all will be fine.

That said, what I do miss about the new bridge are bicycle lanes. The grate makes it nearly impossible for bikes to use the bridge and most end up riding on the sidewalk. That, IMHO, is way more dangerous than a missing fence.

Anonymous said...

i agree with the first comment, no need for the safety barrier. I lived here over twenty years and never was this a problem. As you can see from the pick, they did put down a white line.
How bout Rioc put some money in to the run down youth center?

Anonymous said...

The safety barrier keeps people from jumping. There is no need for a second walkway. The triboro and queensboro both have one walkway each. If you look at the structure, the roadway and walkway are within the bridge lines. Adding a second walkway means you would have to add a suspended structure and more weight to a bridge that has to go up and down.

Trevre said...

It is a long drop from the sidewalk to the roadway on the queens side. IMHO they could cut down/unbolt the upper half of the ugly, Darwin defying, imprisoning, view wrecking, visitor repelling, claustrophobia inducing, useless, soviet era fence on the north side of the sidewalk and bolt it to the south side.

Anonymous said...

What the Hey, A bridge with no barriers, A Tram that never runs?

Anonymous said...

The Tram is always running. Stop the crap. There are always going to be kinks to work out with a new project. Nothing in this world is perfect. Stay on the bridge topic buster.

Anonymous said...

Kinks ... Good word. Now on days like today is there anyway to shut off those obnoxious heaters on the tram platforms - I feel like a rotisserie chicken. I guess RIOC and the MTA have plenty of money to burn

Anonymous said...

Poster above must have nothing better to do than complain all the time. Now the heaters are obnoxious. RIOC is dammed if they do and damned if they don't.

As for the bridge, it's DOT's responsibility - not RIOC. Call them to complain and see if they listen.

Anonymous said...

You can go right to their trailer at the top of the helix. Voice your opinions to them. The more, the better.