Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Roosevelt Island Bridge Closings Scheduled For Month of May But No Word Yet From DOT On Pedestrian Safety Barrier - Council Member Lappin and Assembly Member Kellner Ask Why?

Click on Image to Enlarge
According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC):
RIOC Advisories

Please be advised the DOT will be performing test openings on the Roosevelt Island Bridge which will begin Tuesday, May 3rd until Friday, May 20th. These openings will be conducted Monday through Friday from the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Each test opening will take anywhere from 8 to 10 minutes to be completed and will be appropriately spaced to prevent the least amount of disturbance to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
No word yet on whether the Department of Transportation (DOT) will be installing the pedestrian safety barrier on the Queens side of the Roosevelt Island Bridge that was reported on in previous posts as part of the Bridge's $86.5 million rehabilitation project.

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

Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA) President Jim Bates explains why he thinks a pedestrian safety barrier is needed for the entire length of the Roosevelt Island Bridge:
As a enabled wheelchair scooter riding person I challenge any of you who feel a barrier is not necessary to hop on a wheelchair or motorized scooter and go on the walkway and see what happens when your wheelchair is about 1 inch from the on coming traffic.
It is nearly impossible for 2 wheelchairs traveling in opposite direction to pass each other on the walkway or a wheelchair and a baby carriage or a wheelchair and a shopping cart.
What about the danger of a slippery surface and children on the walkway or a bicycle coming towards you, (yes I know it's illegal to ride a bike on the walkway, you tell that to the cyclist). I could go on.
Safety first for all Islanders should be what you should be thinking and saying.
Just do it !
Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin and NY State Assembly Member Micah Kellner wrote the following letter to the DOT's Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione urging that a pedestrian safety barrier be installed along the entire Roosevelt Island Bridge and that the Roosevelt Island community be apprised of any progress in the construction of such a safety barrier. From Ms. Lappin and Mr. Kellner:
Dear Commissioner Forgione,

We are writing in regards to the status of a pedestrian barrier on the Roosevelt Island Bridge. Currently, pedestrians on the eastern side of the bridge do not have a physical barrier to protect them from traffic. Such a barrier was unfortunately and incomprehensibly not included in the original design of the bridge.

The absence of a barrier on the eastern side has created hazardous conditions for the large disabled community on Roosevelt Island, pedestrians with children, and the many others who understandably feel unsafe crossing the bridge while unprotected from traffic. As the only thoroughfare to and from Roosevelt Island, the bridge is extremely busy at all hours of the day. Wheelchair users who cross the bridge risk falling off the curb’s edge. On the extremely narrow path, this can easily occur when individuals attempt to pass one another

Members of the community, including the Roosevelt Island Residents Association and the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association, have contacted us for assistance in meeting with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to determine the best way to incorporate a barrier into the existing structure. We understand that this problem has been acknowledged by the DOT, and that you have been examining the issue. However, the community has not been kept apprised of any progress that has been made towards the construction of a barrier.

The absence of this barrier is a tragic accident waiting to happen. We ask that you meet with local community leaders to discuss the future plans for the bridge. Thank you for your attention in this matter.
Below is the full letter from Ms. Lappin and Mr. Kellner:
RI Bridge Letter

The DOT may not be concerned about a pedestrian safety barrier for the Roosevelt Island Bridge pathway but Streetsblog reports that DOT is trying to make crossing 36th Avenue at the Roosevelt Island Bridge safer:
At the foot of the Roosevelt Island Bridge, DOT is showing off how a few simple improvements can turn a dangerous intersection into a safer one. It’s not a flashy redesign — just a pair of pedestrian refuges and improved crosswalks — but it’s a good example of the street safety improvements that are becoming increasingly common.

Right now, pedestrians crossing 36th Avenue where it becomes the entrance to the bridge must walk 107 feet from sidewalk to sidewalk: six lanes of traffic with no safe place for pedestrians to pause...
The DOT plan for making 36th Avenue by the Roosevelt Island Bridge safer is here. Why can't DOT make the Roosevelt Island Bridge pathway safer as well?


Anonymous said...

Last Friday I saw an NYPD car issuing a ticket to a cyclist who was riding on the walkway of the bridge. After observing, I gently walked over and asked the officers about the ticket and was politely told that the bridge is their jurisdiction, as the property of NYC DOT.

Our Public Safety Officers don't assume jurisdiction until you are on the Roosevelt Island side of the bridge.

All this time I thought our PSD could ticket those bike riders not obeying the law or being considerate of pedestrians. I stand corrected.

FactFinder said...

You are sadly misinformed.

You are asking an outside agency about Public Safety, and obviously they are giving you wrong/vague information.

How do you expect to get a correct answer from an outsider?

Let me clear this up for you.

According to the Criminal Procedure Law and Peace Officer and a Police Officer hold the same enforcement powers in regards to summonses, arrests, desk appearance tickets and any other infractions that may happen in front of the officers.

Now, the bridge has no effect on "well their powers stop here".

The bridge does not go into Mexico or Canada.

Hence, the proper jurisdiction answer to you is that our public safety officers are NEW YORK STATE PEACE OFFICERS. Meaning their geographic area of employment is New York State. Their scope of employment is all law enforcement duties.

So, does this mean Public Safety can drive up and down vernon boulevard and run radar or issue summonses? Technically, they CAN issue a summons, but their employment area is not specifically vernon blvd, its Roosevelt Island.

For example:

A public safety officer goes off the island to pick up something for the PSD, as they drive on 21st street, they observe a reckless driver. Can they pull over said reckless driver and issue a summons and/or arrest? ABSOLUTELY.

Can they just free-roam on 21st street to look for summonses and other illegal activity? No.

But in the scope of their lawful duties, they are perfectly allowed to enforce a crime/infraction while working and in good faith.

Can they run radar for cars coming on board of the RI bridge? YES.

Can they drive up and down the RI bridge and issue summonses or arrest violators? YES.

So in conclusion to this, you were merely misinformed.

It is printed in black and white in the criminal procedure law, section 2.10.

Anonymous said...

Until PSD and/or NYPD start giving summonses the numerous bicyclists on the walkway will continue driving there instead of driving on the roadway.
This is another case of lack of enforcement of rules. The restriction on bicycles is clearly stated on signs on both sides of the bridge but PSD told me that enforcement is up to NYPD.

Anonymous said...

The bridge is where you have to take the law into your own hands as a pedestrian. If I walk over the bridge and I hear a bicycle ringing the bell or shouting to make room I happily ignore them and make myself even bigger so they cannot pass. I also do not go out of my way and make room when I see a bicycle coming my way. They either have to stop or they have to squeeze by somehow.

Anonymous said...

As per law, a cyclist must go with the flow of traffic. If you are going island bound on the correct side, and a person coming your way strikes you, he/she is at fault 100percent.

Trevre said...

I think a lot of this could be solved if someone would just paint bike lanes on the bridge, remove all the unnecessary cones/signs squeezing traffic into narrow spaces, and apply some type of solid surface over the grated bridge deck (e.g., plywood, textured steel plate, or Rubber matting). This would be a pretty simple fix.

People ride on the sidewalk because they think the bridge deck is dangerous. Most bikers are going pretty slow across the bridge if they are on the sidewalk anyways and it doesn't hurt anybody to just move over for them.

Anonymous said...

If they are scared of the grate they can use the sidewalk, of course. I just want them to be considerate and not insist that I make way so they can pass by. Yes, most go very slowly and stop when needed. I am not talking about those. I am talking about mostly delivery folks from LIC who even take their motorized bikes to the sidewalk.

PS: I am an avid bicyclist myself and I *always* use the street. If I cannot I get off and push my bike. I also never bring my bike into a bus, tram, or the subway. It's just being considerate to others.

jr said...

no more bike lanes .we have too many now in this city , i hate these bike riders. bike lanes have made a mess of this city , to all bike riders ,take the bus or ride the subway.to the people who live on the island,and ride a bike , i say to you move to the upper east side please .

Anonymous said...

hey jr - watchout! bikers now hate you too.

and for all the other haters of: dogs, cars, parking, psd, f train, new tram, southtown etc ... there is a place for you in the middle of the east river - just not here on RI. Get at life or leave.

Anonymous said...

Poster at 6:35pm, you seem to know a lot about the law and who has law enforcement powers where. So, I'll agree that NYPD and PSD can enforce rules on the bridge, but I do know that the PSD does not patrol the bridge. Their area of particular coverage technically begins on the Roosevelt Island side of the bridge. So, what I'm saying is we shouldn't call PSD for complaints on the bridge; we should call NYPD (911 or the 114th Precinct). That's all I'm saying.

Anonymous said...

Well that is a bad way of thinking. PSD can handle calls on the bridge without an issue. As stated before, the bridge does not lead to mexico or canada or into the atlantic ocean. It can still be handled without any constraints of the law or to the PSD.

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