RIOC Directors Discuss Improving Baby Stroller Access To Roosevelt Island Tram Station - Will Ask MTA For Help And Instruct Public Safety Officers To Provide Assistance
Reported previously on Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council Member and Mom Eva Bosbach's efforts to make it easier for parents with strollers
to enter the Roosevelt Island Tram Station. According to Ms. Bosbach:
...Since the large reconstruction of the Tram, I keep receiving complaints from parents with strollers about the Tram access specifically for this group of residents. Because the strollers do not fit through the regular turnstiles and there is no other possibility to swipe the card and pre-board for the Tram, parents with strollers have to wait until someone from the Tram personnel comes to open the gate for them. All other residents and passengers who pay can go through and pre-load. This situation is unfair, affects timing (sometimes a parent misses the Tram even though she or he was the first one at the station but had to wait for someone to open the gate and in the mean-time everybody else pre-loaded and filled the Tram once it came so that there was no space left for the parent with stroller). But more importantly, it also affects the health of the residents and their babies, as for example new moms who just gave birth or newborns in strollers have to wait in the cold in front of the gate and cannot get to the heaters.Some residents do not think parents with strollers should be offered added assistance. According to this comment from previous post:
Ideas for a solution include:
- add heaters and a bench outside (area where a weather-protected waiting room existed in the past)
- provide the gate with a buzzer and a camera, so that the personnel upstairs controlling the system can see who wants to use the gate and can buzz the parent with the stroller through
- assign a staff person to be on site permanently to open the gate (like on the Manhattan side of the Tram), at least during rush hours
- work with Public safety on making it a part of the job description of the PS person in the booth to open the door if there is a parent with stroller waiting (since they sit there anyway and 8 of 10 of the PS officers are helpful and open the gate, but some do not, so obviously they currently don't have to)
- install a special circulating door (like in zoos) which can be used for a stroller - has enough room to turn a stroller plus a person through to the other side after you swiped your Metro Card - since the Tram will be shut down during non-rush hours in the following weeks anyway, perhaps this could be added to the planned renovations of the station
- work with MTA on a special Metrocard for parents with strollers, similar to the one for wheel chair users, which can open the gate automatically after the card has been swiped
- work with MTA on an receipt issuing machine for the gate which could be used if a person does not fit through the regular door and needs to use the gate - similar like for a Manhattan express bus, the machine would handle out a receipt and open the gate for the person to access the waiting area, but only after payment took place plus the receipt would provide a proof of payment.
This issue is an ongoing source of complaints in the large community of parents on Roosevelt Island....
On behalf of all parents, especially the ones with young babies, I ask you to act toward a solution of this issue as soon as possible, as the progressing winter continues and worsens the problem....
Give me a break. Here we go with the stroller mafia, angling to take over yet another crowded conveyance.The issue was discussed at the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors Operations committee meeting yesterday (audio webcast of entire meeting is here). The RIOC Directors were told by RIOC Director of Engineering Alex Snedkov that any change to the Tram Station Access Gate such as
Open strollers have no place on public transit, particularly at peak times.
During rush hours and subway outages, when the crowd waiting to "pre-board" is dense, a considerate parent should choose an alternate means to carry their child on the tram, one that doesn't take up as much space as an open stroller.
Outside of rush hours and subway outages, the "pre-board" crowd is not likely to be dense enough to cause a parent to be left behind, and we all have the luxury of minimizing our wait by timing our arrival at the station to coincide with the tram schedule....
- a buzzer for worker above to allow parent with stroller to enter through the gate after paying at turnstile or
- a special card for parents with strollers
RIOC Director Michael Shinozaki asked Mr. Snedkow to contact the MTA and try to work out a solution. Mr. Shinozaki also said that all Public Safety Officers should be instructed to assist parents, when feasible, with opening the Tram Station Entrance Gate door when the Public Safety Officer is stationed in the area.
Here's video of the discussion.
UPDATE 4/28 - Ms. Bosbach shares this message she sent to RIOC:
A few months ago on behalf of the Roosevelt Island Parents Network and the RIRA Island Services Committee I brought up the problem of the access to the Tram boarding area for parents with strollers, which also affects people in wheelchairs and bikers.
Parents with strollers have to wait until someone from the Tram personnel, usually the Tram conductor, comes to open the gate for them. While the cabins are not in the station, all other passengers can go through the turnstiles and pre-load. Especially during long winter months like this year, this can affect the health of the residents and their babies. For example, mothers who just gave birth and their newborns have to wait in the cold in front of the gate and cannot get to the heaters of the pre-boarding area. But even in warmer times, the current situation is unfair and affects timing: Especially in rush hour a parent or another care-giver can miss the Tram even though she or he was the first one at the station – but had to wait for the gate to be opened while everybody else pre-loaded – causing the parent to be late for work or another appointment.
We suggested a number of solutions to RIOC and we are very pleased to have received a positive progress report last week by RIOCʼs Community Relations Specialist Erica Spencer-El. As a short-term solution, an additional staffer has been assigned who should now assist with opening the gate during rush hours. Unfortunately there is still feed-back from parents that this is not always the case. In the long run the plan is to hire an extra person designated to opening the gate and supervising the whole area permanently. We hope this can happen as soon as possible. On behalf of the many parents who live on Roosevelt Island or visit it, as well as the wheelchair- users and bikers we would like to thank RIOC for the progress already made and for further acting on this issue!