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Thursday, February 14, 2013

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.

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....
Some residents do not think parents with strollers should be offered added assistance. According to this comment from previous post:
Give me a break. Here we go with the stroller mafia, angling to take over yet another crowded conveyance.

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....
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
  • 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
 would have to receive the permission of the MTA.

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:
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!

11 comments :

Janet Falk said...

Bicyclists must also wait for the attendant to open the door, as do people in wheelchairs. Will Public Safety help them also?

Katrina Mahlon said...

Improvement for everyone should be the mission. These new walls and barriers add nothing to the space but make them crowded and difficult to move for everyone. It looks like a jail not the open air space we deserve.

susy said...

I think that as long as we have RIRA reps whom think that having a baby/toddler is a problem (like Ilonka from 40 River Road said to my face in front of my family) we will not have enough support.
I approached Ilonka because she's the RIRA for MP and I live 4 floors above her (literally)
I show her the email about this subject, and she said "that is your problem and Eva's problem for having a baby"

Having a baby is not a problem, having a disease is a problem, being homeless is a problem. Babies are human beings that aren't able to move around by themselves so they need help: stroller. That's it. So if the Island is going to make concessions for the seniors and handicaps, they have to do it as well for babies/toddlers. This Island was created FOR FAMILIES, not for seniors. So families have children.

And what we are discussing here is not PEAK hrs boarding in the tram, is NOT PEAK hours the problems for us. There's no one there to give us access to the boarding platform in the RI's side (on Manhattan's there's always someone in the boot).

So let's review the issue. Getting inside the platform with out a stroller and a wheelchair is easy. Even if they come with a large Shopping cart, luggage, bycicle, hockey equipment (they just pass the things under and over the turnstile). If YOU ARE MOVING A PERSON ON A TOOL THAT HAS WHEELS (wheelchair, scooter, walker, stroller) then you have to wait for the operator of the tram cabin to open the door for you. You could be freezing, getting wet, trying to cover from the strong wind, and NO ONE cares.

And if you dare to arrive to the tram just after the cabin operator checked for someone that needs assistance to enter, Bad Luck you could jump, yell, stand on your head, but they won't open the door willingly.

The other thing is that some tram operators (only D.J and the only 2 women) will accused you to STEAL from the MTA one ride and will FORCE you TO HANDLE THEM YOUR CHILD while you SWIPE your metrocard. I am not giving someone my baby girl (not even for 1 second) just so I can board public transport.

I just google on the internet the term CHILD ENDANGERMENT (http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/child-endangerment-laws.html) at it says (among other things): Leaving a young child unsupervised in an unsafe area. The penalties for endangering a child vary from state to state but can be very severe:
New York: Imprisonment for up to 1 year.

From: http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/cps/critical.asp

Indicators of Maltreatment can include:
Child inappropriately left unattended or without supervision

Leaving the stroller ALONE by the door of the tram access, where anyone can come and do something to my baby, or knock over the stroller by accident or hand out my baby to an operator that could not be as careful to her (just because the job says they have to) for me is an unsafe situation. Waiting without any safe place to keep a baby safe for the tram operator to come is an unsafe situation.

C'mon, if Roosevelt Island is proud enough to have an Island accessible almost 100% for handicaps, why not having the same treatment for human beings that are just a few months old BABIES. A RIOC personnel station on no peak hours on RI's tram side to open the door for us and board safely and calm as any other person.

Why do person aver 3 years old have to be priviledge ones and EXCLUDE babies??

So if you want to comment Ilonka's answer with Rira it's OK by me. And if you want me to tell DJ (tram operator) the same as I am writting here, it's oOK by me.

Thanks for everything,
Susy

susy said...

I think that as long as we have RIRA reps whom think that having a baby/toddler is a problem (like Ilonka from 40 River Road said to my face in front of my family) we will not have enough support.
I approached Ilonka because she's the RIRA for MP and I live 4 floors above her (literally)
I show her the email about this subject, and she said "that is your problem and Eva's problem for having a baby"

Having a baby is not a problem, having a disease is a problem, being homeless is a problem. Babies are human beings that aren't able to move around by themselves so they need help: stroller. That's it. So if the Island is going to make concessions for the seniors and handicaps, they have to do it as well for babies/toddlers. This Island was created FOR FAMILIES, not for seniors. So families have children.

And what we are discussing here is not PEAK hrs boarding in the tram, is NOT PEAK hours the problems for us. There's no one there to give us access to the boarding platform in the RI's side (on Manhattan's there's always someone in the boot).

So let's review the issue. Getting inside the platform with out a stroller and a wheelchair is easy. Even if they come with a large Shopping cart, luggage, bycicle, hockey equipment (they just pass the things under and over the turnstile). If YOU ARE MOVING A PERSON ON A TOOL THAT HAS WHEELS (wheelchair, scooter, walker, stroller) then you have to wait for the operator of the tram cabin to open the door for you. You could be freezing, getting wet, trying to cover from the strong wind, and NO ONE cares.

And if you dare to arrive to the tram just after the cabin operator checked for someone that needs assistance to enter, Bad Luck you could jump, yell, stand on your head, but they won't open the door willingly.

The other thing is that some tram operators (only D.J and the only 2 women) will accused you to STEAL from the MTA one ride and will FORCE you TO HANDLE THEM YOUR CHILD while you SWIPE your metrocard. I am not giving someone my baby girl (not even for 1 second) just so I can board public transport.

I just google on the internet the term CHILD ENDANGERMENT (http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/child-endangerment-laws.html) at it says (among other things): Leaving a young child unsupervised in an unsafe area. The penalties for endangering a child vary from state to state but can be very severe:
New York: Imprisonment for up to 1 year.

From: http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/cps/critical.asp

Indicators of Maltreatment can include:
Child inappropriately left unattended or without supervision

Leaving the stroller ALONE by the door of the tram access, where anyone can come and do something to my baby, or knock over the stroller by accident or hand out my baby to an operator that could not be as careful to her (just because the job says they have to) for me is an unsafe situation. Waiting without any safe place to keep a baby safe for the tram operator to come is an unsafe situation.

C'mon, if Roosevelt Island is proud enough to have an Island accessible almost 100% for handicaps, why not having the same treatment for human beings that are just a few months old BABIES. A RIOC personnel station on no peak hours on RI's tram side to open the door for us and board safely and calm as any other person.

Why do person aver 3 years old have to be priviledge ones and EXCLUDE babies??

So if you want to comment Ilonka's answer with Rira it's OK by me. And if you want me to tell DJ (tram operator) the same as I am writting here, it's oOK by me.

Thanks for everything,
Susy

susy said...

Babies are human beings that aren't able to move around by themselves so they need help: stroller. That's it. So if the Island is going to make concessions for the seniors and handicaps, they have to do it as well for babies/toddlers. This Island was created FOR FAMILIES, not for seniors. So families have children.

And what we are discussing here is not PEAK hrs boarding in the tram, is NOT PEAK hours the problems for us. There's no one there to give us access to the boarding platform in the RI's side (on Manhattan's there's always someone in the boot).

So let's review the issue. Getting inside the platform with out a stroller and a wheelchair is easy. Even if they come with a large Shopping cart, luggage, bycicle, hockey equipment (they just pass the things under and over the turnstile). If YOU ARE MOVING A PERSON ON A TOOL THAT HAS WHEELS (wheelchair, scooter, walker, stroller) then you have to wait for the operator of the tram cabin to open the door for you. You could be freezing, getting wet, trying to cover from the strong wind, and NO ONE cares.

And if you dare to arrive to the tram just after the cabin operator checked for someone that needs assistance to enter, Bad Luck you could jump, yell, stand on your head, but they won't open the door willingly.

The other thing is that some tram operators (only D.J and the only 2 women) will accused you to STEAL from the MTA one ride and will FORCE you TO HANDLE THEM YOUR CHILD while you SWIPE your metrocard. I am not giving someone my baby girl (not even for 1 second) just so I can board public transport.

I just google on the internet the term CHILD ENDANGERMENT (http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/child-endangerment-laws.html) at it says (among other things): Leaving a young child unsupervised in an unsafe area. The penalties for endangering a child vary from state to state but can be very severe:
New York: Imprisonment for up to 1 year.

From: http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/cps/critical.asp

Indicators of Maltreatment can include:
Child inappropriately left unattended or without supervision

Leaving the stroller ALONE by the door of the tram access, where anyone can come and do something to my baby, or knock over the stroller by accident or hand out my baby to an operator that could not be as careful to her (just because the job says they have to) for me is an unsafe situation. Waiting without any safe place to keep a baby safe for the tram operator to come is an unsafe situation.

C'mon, if Roosevelt Island is proud enough to have an Island accessible almost 100% for handicaps, why not having the same treatment for human beings that are just a few months old BABIES. A RIOC personnel station on no peak hours on RI's tram side to open the door for us and board safely and calm as any other person.

Why do person aver 3 years old have to be priviledge ones and EXCLUDE babies??

Mini.Mama said...

Come ON! The secret is out. The Roosevelt Island tram was listed in the Huffington Post as one of the top 13 tram rides in the WORLD, so there's a lot of interest globally! Other tourist sites in NYC have a lot more city support in managing crowds and fair equitable access than our sad little station, and the elevator at the other end. It's so remarkable that we have to make a case about these obvious inefficiencies and inequities.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/01/most-scenic-tram-rides-ar_n_790501.html#s196012&title=Titlis_Tram_Urner
Improving access to the tram for strollers and others needing the door needs to happen more rapidly. Consideration needs to include rapid response and times beyond rush hours. Especially considering the fact that the F line is regularly not running.

During warmer months and tourist season many MANY athletic team members and tourists - including HUGE groups come through – making it very difficult to secure an optimum or fair boarding spot frequently throughout the day. This is something they need to address more quickly and include more attention to congestion throughout the day, not only during rush hours.

Ruijie Zhou said...

I don't understand why these people still need to have meetings on such an easy issue. If there is a door and there is a need to operate the door, then there must be someone overseeing it. That's their duty. Anyone who was assigned the duty and can't do it should be fired. And any supervisor of this station can't assign people to that door will dis-qualify himself and also be fired. The whole thing only shows RIOC is not responsible for their job. There is no leadership in this organization.
They can't see where there are work need to be done, can't get people do it, and can't do it in a timely manner. That's probably the perfect analog for American society right now. That's the beauty of so called democracy, where people just find excuses to have meeting and let other people take the responsibility.

Ruijie Zhou said...

And probably from the beginning the design of such an entrance is not suitable for this place.

Ruijie Zhou said...

If they design the entrance that way, they should consider to assign a person there a long time ago. All things shows RIOC didn't make a good plan for the Tram Station. Either they should make the officers have an easy place to hide while operating the doors, or they should know there should always be a person overseeing the door.

Frank Farance said...

Ruijie Zhou: Yes, exactly, and Donald Norman (a well-known human factors designer) would agree with your hitting the nail on the head. Norman's book The Design of Everyday Things covers a well known problem with doors (as you point out), and also includes an example of faulty design with turnstiles (similar concerns here).


Agree with your other points, too.

Jax Schott said...

I don't have exact dates but I know for certain the week of the 29th, at least once or twice I had to wait for tram conductor to open gate at 4pm going to city. I wasn't sure if the policy was actually put into place? There was no one there. As well as this week (5/13 and 5/15) around 4pm.
I will say I'm thankfully surprised when PS or someone from RIOC does open it for me before the tram arrives. I feel like it's a treat when that happens!:)