Monday, June 6, 2011

RIRA Public Safety Committee Reports on Roosevelt Island Traffic Enforcement, Parking, Vertical Patrols, Motorgate, NYPD, Dogs, Resident Complaints & More

Image of June RIRA Common Council Meeting

Below is the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Public Safety Committee Report submitted to the June Meeting of the RIRA Common Council. The report consists of the May 2 and 23 Public Safety Committee meeting minutes as well as a letter from RIRA Public Safety Committee Chair Erin Feely-Nahem to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Director Keith Guerra thanking the offices of the Public Safety Department for their assistance during the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Issues addressed by RIRA's Public Safety Committee include
  • Traffic Enforcement
  • Parking
  • Vertical Building Patrols
  • Motorgate enforcement
  • NYPD Presence
  • Bicycles
  • Resident Complaints
  • Dogs and 
  • More
Here are the minutes from May 2, 2011 RIRA Public Safety Committee Meeting:
Traffic Enforcement:

Lynne reported on the Annual Cherry Blossom festival. She praised the collaboration with Public Safety Officers who provided traffic control. Committee agreed to write a thank you letter to Director Guerra. Member reported that vehicles were ignoring the Stop signs down by South Town as well as the Yield signs throughout Main Street, Christedes, and at the far end by 40 River Road. Some members feel that the Yield signs should be replaced by Stop signs, Members would like to see better enforcement of cars stopping at the Stop signs that presently exist. Residents need to be mindful as well of not crossing in front of a stopped bus, if they do not walk to the cross walk. Pedestrian awareness signs suggested such as “Use caution while crossing”, “cross at the cross walk”. Suggested these might be useful if placed in the buses as well.

Several committee members stated that they were seeing an effort being made to cover the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays. Coverage was also being provided during the week, but many of those on duty were still not directing traffic. Officers were seen trying to direct traffic positioned outside their cars, but appeared to have limited success. Precarious situations continued to present themselves regardless of the Officers presence.


Officers are seen giving out tickets more often throughout the Island. Officers are seen by some residents as not being visual enough, rarely leaving their car around South Town. Member stated that the same culprits, as have been discussed in the past, who live/work around South Town and whose cars are left illegally, are still not getting ticketed. Restrictions on O/N parking near South town are not being closely monitored, and cars remain there all night without tickets, although the machines are up and operating.

Vertical Patrols:

Officers are seen less frequently this month in hall ways or at door station in Westview and Island House. Officers still visible in Roosevelt Landings on 4th and 7th floor, as well as in the senior are building. Members attempted to define what constitutes trespassing. Several residents that live in Roosevelt landings expressed concern that they were unable to walk through the buildings, as they were designed to be. Complaints that this rule perpetuates unfair treatment of teens , who live in one of the buildings, but may be seen walking in another on their way home, and who are then stopped and issued tickets for being in a different building.


Resident complaints about illegally parked vehicles in Motorgate. RIOC Public Safety has claimed they cannot enforce parking rules in Motorgate. Matthew will explore. Patrols have not been as visible recently as last month. PSO have not been seen in stair wells. Members feel that PSO need to be walking through the stair wells, and conducting vertical patrols on foot as well as in cars.

NYPD Police Meeting:

Police coverage for a 40 hour shift has been provided by the 114th to Roosevelt Island. Presently there are several officers who rotate. A community officer has not been assigned yet. Committee welcomed officer and once an officer is assigned will request a meet and greet where building representatives might voice concerns.


A resident expressed concern that although she has a law suit against a Public Safety Officer for his treatment of her son during an arrest, the same officer is still working a shift where he has regular contact with her child. The resident stated that since she filed the report he continues to harass her child. She states that she has documented these contacts. She expressed feeling uncomfortable with this officer working where he has contact with her son on a regular basis. Committee heard resident’s complaint and discussed problem. The Civilian Complaint Review Board bill that would address State Peace Officers, drafted by Kellner last term was discussed and will be followed up on. Chair had sent an email to Director Guerra and Martinez when first brought to her attention, which was never responded to. Discussion focused on procedures for filing a complaint. Members felt that procedure alone was a deterrent, and the fact that the complainer did not get a carbon copy or receipt was a problem. The committee referred the resident to her lawyer, and suggested that she show documentation of the continued harassment. Committee will explore possibility of a change in the procedures for filing a complaint against Public Safety.

Safety in Breeze ways/ fire lane / service road:

Member brought up resident’s concern over the traffic in the breeze ways and behind the building of Roosevelt Landings. The concern is the speed which cars drive in this area. Members discussed if this was a traffic enforcement issue, or a need for signage. Suggestions ranged from slow down signs, speed bumps, and ticket enforcement of unauthorized cars in back area etc.

Bicycle complaints:

Resident shared concern over the delivery men riding their bicycle in the hall ways of Roosevelt Landing. It was suggested that resident inform building management and restaurant directly. F/U next meeting.

Bicycles on the bridge, riding, instead of dismounting as directed by signage was discussed. Member informed committee about the dangerous conditions of the bridge’s surface for bicycle riding, advocating for riders to be allowed to ride on the walk area, and most felt an educational campaign about sharing the walk way might be a possible solution to reckless riding. Not all members felt that bicycles should have to dismount when crossing and felt that if the bicycles stopped and made way for pedestrians the problems would be solved. Who has legal responsibility for patrolling the bridge, if tickets were to be issued was discussed.

New Business:

Member brought resident complaints about the amount of dog feces that is not being picked up by walkers, as well as individuals who are walking dogs off the lease. One member mentioned the possibility of a dog run area specifically for smaller dogs that is in discussion. Public awareness signs suggested, as well as ticket enforcement.

Next Meeting: 5/23/11@ 7:30pm at the Senior Center
Here are the minutes from May 23, 2011 RIRA Public Safety Committee Meeting:
Traffic Enforcement:

All members stated that they have seen improvement this past month on the traffic enforcement at the bottom of the ramp. Officers are out during the Famer’s Market and during the week as agreed. Officers are no longer standing in front of their car but positioned beneath the ramp, or in the middle of the intersection where they can see and be seen by the traffic in all directions. Complaints by residents down at South Town are focused on cars not stopping at the stop signs.

Vertical Patrols:

Patrols have been seen in Roosevelt Landings. They have not been seen in Westview, and are rarely even seen at the door station signing in and out. Chair will request the statistics to see if there has been a decrease in number.


Members report that cars are being ticketed. There still exists the same problem with the “regular” illegally parked vehicles at South Town. Most spaces in front of Westview are being taken up by cars with the handicap placards, and do not have meter slips.


A resident did receive a message taped to window stating that they would be towed for being inches outside the line in a reserved parking space at Motorgate. The note appeared to be from Central Parking. The dispute over who is responsible for ticketing illegally parked car is in discussion with RIOC and Matthew Katz, RIRA President. Signage in Motorgate informs patrons that illegally parked cars are subject to being towed by Public Safety, who owns 71% of the building. Erica will meet with Fernando Martinez and review the contract. Director Guerra and RIOC have stated in the past that Public Safety is not authorized to ticket in Motorgate.
Member noted that the stairways stink of urine indicating that trespassing is occurring, and it is becoming a quality of life issue again. No one has seen PSO outside of cars patrolling Motorgate, or in the stairwells. Chair will follow up with Chief Guerra concerning patrols.

Safety issues in the Fire lanes / Service Road:

Discussed breezeways / service roads and what can be done to ensure safety of children. Committee members were unclear if cars were even supposed to be this area, unless they were loading / unloading the car. Some members believe that the back road is for emergency vehicles only and regular traffic should exit onto the street from the breezeway. One member stated that a Yahoo map of R. I. listed the road behind Roosevelt Landings as Main Street. Other members felt that the promenade area behind the buildings that encircled the entire Island was designated for pedestrians or emergency vehicles. If it was for emergency vehicles it was determined that speed bumps would not be a solution. Committee felt it necessary to get clarification on the legalities of vehicles in this area. If determined to be legal then speed signs might be necessary, and if not, placing this type of sign would indicate it was legal to utilize this road and members favored signage such as “Slow, children at play” and enforcement of a speed limit.

Bicycles riding in hallways: Crossing the Bridge:

Only place this issue has been noted is in Roosevelt Landings. Actions taken since last meeting was a letter to restaurant, endorsed by the Chambers of Commerce, and notice to building management. Committee suggested sending a standard letter to all businesses then if it still continues contacting Public Safety to issue tickets. If there is a series of complaints, or a request from the management company Public Safety can be asked for assistance.

On Bicycles riding on the path in order to cross the bridge committee member felt that common sense could solve this problem, but considered asking RIOC to do an educational campaign about sharing the space. Not all members felt that bicycles should have to dismount when crossing and felt that if the bicycles stopped and made way for pedestrians the problems would be solved.

Presently new signs are up indicating that riding of bicycles on the walkway is prohibited. Possible educational signage might say “Yield to pedestrians”. Discussion with RIOC on safety issue is being considered regarding unsafe passage for bicycles, and request for a designated area.

NYPD Officers:

We continue to see Officer Didio on patrol for the 114th on Roosevelt Island. . Matthew will follow up with the Deputy Inspector to find out where we are in the process.

New Business:

Resident came to the committee with a grievance against 2 Public Safety officers. She alleges that on 5/17 at around 3:30pm her 16 year old son was cuffed and paraded down Main Street by Public Safety officers. Initially when approached and asked to come into the office by the PS Officers he asked them for what. At that point he was handcuffed and brought to the Office. He was taken to the 114th for questioning regarding a robbery, put in a line up, and later released. When she spoke to the desk Sergeant about where her son was, he was dismissive and rude. She was never called when they took him in and found out by a third party who witnessed the incident, although she is known by them all, having lived here over 20 years. The resident also questioned the roll of the Youth Officer, and the relationship between Public Safety Officers and the kids. Her complaint has to do with the manner in which young black males are treated by Public Safety Officers. She feels that even the newer officers are disrespectful and aggressive. She also spoke about other incidents which involved her other son as well and revolved around being arrested for trespassing in their own building. She wonders why this new force of Officers, under Guerra’s command, do not behave like Peace Officers, who work with the community to ensure quality of life for all residents, instead more like bullies. Client was advised to put in a complaint concerning the incidents in question and if she did not receive a response to cc her complaint to the RIOC Board members.

Next Meeting 6/20/11@7:30pm
Here is the letter from RIRA Public Safety Committee Chair Erin Feely-Nahem to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Director Keith Guerra thanking the offices of the Public Safety Department for their assistance during the Cherry Blossom Festival.
Director Guerra:

I wanted to express the RIRA Public Safety Committee’s appreciation for the attention your office provided to the safety of the community during the Cherry Blossom Festival. It was because of the collaboration of your department with the organizers of this event that the program could be carried out without any problems.

We would like to acknowledge the attention to detail that your office provided during the planning stages, as well as during the follow through on the day of the event. Attention to your officer’s duties, which included traffic control, crowd control and parking strategies for the musicians and other performers who had traveled long distances, provided the confidence required by all for a totally successful event.

A very special thank you to all the officers who assisted with this event and whose hard work and positive attitudes made our collaboration a success.


Erin Feely-Nahem Chair


Anonymous said...

There was a serious incident on Main Street, just about in front of the Public Safety office, at about midnight Saturday. Looked like about 20 people involved in a fight, at least one taken away in handcuffs, several NYPD cars came screaming down the street. Any news on that?

Anonymous said...

Poster # 1 --
What ever it was, it was loud, big and for a few minutes, very threatening -- I was awakened from sleep by the noise and I am not even on Main Street.
Called RIPSD and phone rang at least 30 times - I figured they already knew. Could see from my apt that many of the folks involved were running away as NYPD approached.
Summer is here and this will not be either the first or last incident that we will need to know more about...

Anonymous said...

We may live on an island but we not immune from all kinds of things that are normal for a big city like New York. As long as the incident was kept under control it's all good.

Anonymous said...

i thought we didnt need an island officer. I witnessed an incident a few weeks ago on a friday. someone was being beat in the middle of main street road with a baseball bat. Saturday night I saw the above mentioned incident from my apartment window, someone was hit with what looked like a 2 by 4. your right this is not going to be the last incident. We need nypd on site, not in random drive bys.

Anonymous said...

DHCR, RIOC and RI PSD are nuts if they do not believe that we need a more visible NY PD presence here - especially now that it is summer, it is warm, many folks are just "hanging out" and PREVENTION and / or a visible deterrent to any type of trouble or disturbance or actual act of ____________ - fill in the blank -- is needed here.
In 28 years of living here on RI we have been fortunate that we have had little violence or big problems -- but the absence of community policing or some other efforts cannot be ignored.

Leslie ? What are YOU and Mr. Guerra going to do about this ?

Anonymous said...

In my many years of living on RI I still have to witness any of these incidents you guys are talking about.

Anonymous said...

For your information Poster from 1:00pm, RIOC fully supported the NYPD having a presence here on the island. Heck, they were the ones that got the one assigned here. Problem is, the officer is not here as much as Fernandez was. And, it's not the same officer all the time. Anyway, PSD is doing more with less all the time, and because of that - this is still a safe neighborhood. Just remember it's not Wonderland - it's NYC.

Anonymous said...

"Officers are seen less frequently this month in hall ways or at door station in Westview and Island House."
Of course not...they can't enforce laws on private property! At least that's what Fernando Martinez says about enforcing illegal parking in Motorgate, so how is that different from enforcing laws in Westview, Island House or any other privately owned building on Roosevelt Island?

Anonymous said...

Erin you are a joke

Anonymous said...

Thats rediculous. Its almost like nyc housing that authorizes nypd to patrol the projects. Its a mutual agreement to enforce criminal laws upon their property without always asking to enter. The motorgate might be unconstitutional in itself due to summonsing a vehicle is not a crime upon itself. How do we expect to get a handle on things on this island with unarmed peace officers and with only about 40 of them split by 3 shifts?

Thats just plain old fashioned stupidity.

I dont understand how nypd gets the glory for this island, they are never here and when they cone, they come to help psd in NUMBERS! The more uniforms the merrier.

I dount they ran for the sole purpose of nypd, they were getting outnumbered.

Anonymous said...

the owner of the bar and grill and he also owns the pizza shop, parks his car on main street and never pays . and never gets a ticket .can you please tell me why / o because he is a retired police officer . well that means nothing .i will call iab of the nypd and get that parking permit taken away.he should not have one he is no longer a member of nypd he must be using a old permitfrom when he was on the job . and psd is letting him do it .

Anonymous said...

He owns two-plus businesses on the island that actually make the island hospitable. Let's cut him some slack. No matter how much you complain, PSD is not going to enforce code on people who make the island a better place to live and they're definitely not going to summons cops and firefighers, retired or not. Get over it.

Anonymous said...

"There are less patrols in westview and island house than usual."

There's no crime in those buildings. They're not connected and they aren't projects like Eastview. When humans start taking craps in the stairwells on the west side of the street like the animals in Roosevelt Landings do THEN there will be more patrols.

Anonymous said...

well the rents in roosevelt landings are very high a one bed room goes for 2300 a 2 bedroom 2700 and
a 3 bedroom go for 3400 a 4 bedroom is 4100 . so how can people paying that kind of rent be animals.they must have very good high income payinging jobs .

Anonymous said...

RIRA still doesn't get how they screwed up with regard to the NYPD Officer. The alleged newly assigned officer is a "No Show".

Thanks Erin, Romano & Matt.

Anonymous said...

Romano was all about nypd so he can shmooze them with "power", so he can get a pass at crimes he may commit.

Heres a hint to RIRA, the new cop is pretty pissed off to be placed on this rock, keep the power hint away as he will probably summons and arrest you all.

Its ok though, Pubkic Safety can care less about your pitiful status and continue to arrest you

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