Friday, May 31, 2013

High Temperatures Cooking Roosevelt Island Tram Passengers Says Rider - Another Year Goes By And Nothing Is Done By RIOC To Cool Down Hot Tram In High Temps

Image Of Heat Exhaustion From AltaVista For Illustrative Purposes Only

Summer is coming and it's starting to get really hot and muggy in New York City particularly on the Roosevelt Island Tram which has no air conditioning or cooling system of any type. Today temperatures are expected to reach 90 degrees.

Residents of Roosevelt Island have taken to RI 311 See Click Fix to beg, plead and cry for some type of cooling relief when riding on the Tram.

Here are two RI 311 See Click Fix reports from residents yesterday:

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! When its hot can you PLEASE have the tram operators leave the doors open when docked? We really need the cross ventilation. Some operators do this - and say it's common sense. Others refuse. PLEASE make it a policy! Thank you.

Another winter has gone by and the tram still has no cooling controls, nor do the tram stations, which now with the new imprisoning glass sarcophagus cook waiting passengers in the noon day sun.
This is not a new problem and it is an issue which was discussed last summer by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board Of Directors and Staff. As previously reported last July 12:
... During the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) June 25 Operations Committee meeting (full audio webcast of meeting here), RIOC Director David Kraut asked RIOC VP of Operations Fernando Martinez what can be done to prevent passengers, particularly children and older people, from passing out from heat exhaustion on the Tram.

Mr. Martinez explained that when the Tram was redesigned, it was decided not to include air conditioning in the Cabins because of the added weight which would reduce the number of passengers permitted to ride in the Cabins and the time needed to charge the batteries.

Mr. Kraut said that now that we have a greater experience of the Tram Cabin heat problem, let's look for a solution to the problem. It might be some sort of fan or air conditioning system that RIOC was not aware of but perhaps other people might have the solution.

Mr. Martinez said the matter will be discussed with Tram Operator Poma.

Here's the discussion.

Yesterday, I sent the following question to Mr. Martinez:
...during recent Operations Committee meeting, subject of cooling the Tram Cabins during very hot weather was discussed. Have any plans been made for fans, air conditioning or any other method of cooling down the Tram Cabins during hot weather?
Will update when an answer is received.
An answer was never received. Maybe this year?

More on Roosevelt Island Tram air conditioning from previous posts here and here.

UPDATE 10:40 AM: Readers respond:
  • A-C, pleas!!
  • or fan at least...
  • Anything!
  • I would not ride the tram in this weather it is to dam HOT


Ratso123 said...

Yesterday was very hot. However after years of riding the subways in this city, I would rather be on the Tram for 4 minutes than take the subway. The level of complaints about everything has reached the level of the boy that cried wolf-and the result is that no one is really listening to the valid complaints.

Mark Lyon said...

I still don't see how one could not engineer a battery system for AC on the tram. Seems like it would be easy to have two batteries on the RI side, and let it automatically swap between them at each landing (as the cabin lands, one the fresh battery is released onto the roof or under the bottom and the other one held back for charging).

As for reducing capacity, I've been on numerous times when there was no possible chance of putting more people on, but the weight limit was nowhere near close to max.

Bill Blass said...

the tram has always been Hot now that the hipsters are here paying big rents.its a issue. Really

Mark Lyon said...

You keep using words like Yuppie and Hipster, but I don't think you know what they mean.

Regardless, the Tram upgrade bid included Air Conditioning. RIOC sought out proposals that included it and it was part of the winning bid. Then, once it was "too hard to do", it seems they dropped it without so much as a second thought.

It's not about complaining, it's about expecting a newly renovated and modernized transportation option to have something that should and could be present. Even the old subway cars had fans in them.

The Tram is - like it or not - one of the more unique things about our island. It attracts visitors and also serves all residents. Asking for it to be comfortable and convenient doesn't seem like a silly request.

Ratso123 said...

The tram upgrade was not completed according to the contract. There was also a daily monetary penalty for not finishing on time, which I don't think was ever collected or deducted from the cost. In the real world they would have been sued by the other bidder or bidders and probably RIOC. I would suspect that the former management of RIOC thought that they could do whatever they wanted, tell people anything and then duck the problem.

Bill Blass said...

I hope its a long hot summer

Bill Blass said...

I bet there were some hot days at stop crying

Westviewer said...

It's a four-minute ride, people.

Mark Lyon said...

True, it's not the longest ride in the world, but it can still give a negative impression and could be more comfortable.

Also, keep in mind, the operator is stuck in there for a non-trivial amount of time each day. We owe an obligation to make certain the people keep our island functioning are provided with an appropriate work environment.

Westviewer said...

I agree that the operators do deserve consideration. Do they have a fan, at least? Maybe if AC really isn't feasible, they could receive a hardship bonus for days when the temperature/humidity index is above a certain number.

Bill Blass said...

Here is something interesting i am at the baseball game at blackwell and People from eastwood are siting at around home plate the hipsters are sitting in the out field.i wonder why

Mark Lyon said...


Frank Farance said...

Mr. Blass, not true. The RI Youth Program has 4 sets of Little League majors/minors games on Saturdays 9:30 AM to 6 PM. The people around the backstop are the friends/families of the *current* game's players, the people in the outfield are the players/families for the next/previous game. Has nothing to do with hipsters or Eastwood, it's just about enjoying our community and socializing in a relaxed way.

Frank Farance said...

What's all this hipster talk? With apologies to YetAnotherRIer (read: this is tongue-in-cheek), I haven't given much though to who is/isn't a hipster, and classifying things/people according to those imprecise concepts helps as much as assigning stereotypes to people.

So I googled a little bit and went to Wikipedia (see "") to better understand what this "hipster" stuff is all about (i.e., living the life YetAnotherRIer imagines) and found some entertaining tidbits:

- According to Time magazine, July 2009: "Hipsters are the friends who sneer when you cop to liking Coldplay. They're the people who wear t-shirts silk-screened with quotes from movies you've never heard of and the only ones in America who still think Pabst Blue Ribbon is a good beer. They sport cowboy hats and berets and think Kanye West stole their sunglasses. Everything about them is exactingly constructed to give off the vibe that they just don't care."

- Hipster culture has been described as a "mutating, trans-Atlantic melting pot of styles, tastes and behavior[s]". Christian Lorentzen of Time Out New York argues that "hipsterism fetishizes the authentic" elements of all of the "fringe movements of the postwar era—beat, hippie, punk, even grunge", and draws on the "cultural stores of every unmelted ethnicity", and "regurgitates it with a winking inauthenticity".

- By 2003, when The Hipster Handbook was published by Williamsburg resident Robert Lanham, the term had come into widespread use in
relation to Williamsburg and similar neighborhoods. The Hipster Handbook described hipsters as young people with "mop-top haircuts, swinging retro pocketbooks, talking on cell phones, smoking European cigarettes... strutting in platform shoes with a biography of Che Guevara sticking out of their bags". Lanham further describes hipsters thus: "You graduated from a liberal arts school whose football team hasn't won a game since the Reagan administration" and "you have one Republican friend who you always describe as being your 'one Republican friend."

Sounds like they graduated from Columbia. :-)

CheshireKitty said...

It's just one of those unpleasant things - the slightly opened windows on the side, and the roof vent (at least when they had the old tram) hardly give any ventilation. Since it's only a 4 minute ride and the doors are open when the tram is in the station, I guess the idea is it's not worth it to a/c the tram. Yet trains are a/c and they are constantly pulling into stations and the doors opening. Imagine if the tram was a ride at an amusement park, though - even just a 4 minute ride. Does anyone really think the owner would not a/c the ride if at all possible?

CheshireKitty said...

It's RIOC: They cut corners and they don't think. Now summer has started, more and more people live on RI, and still the tram has no a/c. What are they going to do when Cornell is built? A tech school for Pete's sake, and the tram will still have no a/c? Anyway - couldn't the current that is used to power the lights/systems on the tram also be used to power a/c? The battery idea sounds great, but is it even necessary?

CheshireKitty said...

Let's be precise Ratso: The platforms and mezzanines of the subway are broiling. The subway cars are a/c. This is the way it has always been and it is bad, I agree. The sidewalks and streets are also bad. New York in the summer in a heat wave is no joke.

Mark Lyon said...

I think the lights and computer on the tram are powered by batteries under the operator's station. I don't think there's power on the cables.

CheshireKitty said...

OK, OK - Mark! Still, if they have electric cars including a/c, they should be able to figure out having a/c on the tram, even if it isn't connected to electricity. Probably your idea of swapping batteries - having the tram plugged in when it's docked - makes sense. The battery can charge when the doors are open - when the doors are closed the a/c would go on: Makes a lot of sense.

Ratso123 said...

1 couldn't agree more. However, I was thinking even farther back than you were. I remember when there was no a/c on the trains, and some of them had the fans with the straw type seats. I guess I'm showing my age.

CheshireKitty said...

Sure, I remember those days too - albeit somewhat hazily. The train windows could be opened, the fans would slowly rotate - but, at least the rattan-covered seats weren't hard benches. Remember the manually operated roller type destination signs?

Trevre Andrews said...

Its not about not being able to deal with the heat. Its the fact that RIOC isn't solving simple problems, and in the case of the tram station remodel making things hotter, more cramped, and less enjoyable. How much did they spend on "updating" the perfectly good tram station so now that place sizzles like a green house? This problem is so easily solved it is laughable that it hasn't been yet.