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Monday, September 15, 2014

Here We Go Again, Intermittent Roosevelt Island Bridge Closings During Upcoming United Nations General Assembly Session September 22-26 - East River West Channel Closed To Boat Traffic

It's that time of year again for Roosevelt Island - the opening of the 2014 United Nations General Assembly Session

 Image of United Nations Seen From Roosevelt Island via Wired New York

which means the diversion of all East River Traffic adjacent to Roosevelt Island to the East Channel Queens side for security precautions due to our proximity to the United Nations resulting in the intermittent closings of the Roosevelt Island Bridge.

Roosevelt Island Bridge Being Raised To Let Sailboat Pass During 2010 UN Week Causing Ambulance To Wait

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
The NYC Department of Transportation’s Division of Bridges has informed that from Monday, September 22nd until Friday, September 26th, the Roosevelt Island bridge will open on demand from 7 AM- 7 PM to accommodate river traffic during the UN General Assembly. Each opening should take about 8-12 minutes to be completed; expect intermittent traffic delays.
UPDATE 9/17 - Heather Cameron shares her experience dealing with intermittent Roosevelt Island Bridge closing:
Five years ago, on September 23rd, I was in labor and on my way to St. Vincent's where I ended up having an emergency cesarean. I spent an excruciating hour and 25 minutes in a car trying to get from the Octagon to the hospital. The bridge had just gone up and we found ourselves in a line of cars. My husband got out and ran to talk to someone...it felt like an eternity later, but the bridge lowered and we were allowed across. (In my haze, I didn't notice if they only let us across, or allowed all the cars to go.) With all the street closings on the east side, the drive there was impossible. I can't remember why we opted not to call an ambulance, but I have to wonder if that would have made much difference. The sea of cars everywhere we went was astounding. My daughter probably would not have been born in the car, given the fact that I ultimately needed a cesarean, but if I'd encountered any other complications in the course of that birth, I shudder to think what the outcome would have been.

15 comments :

YetAnotherRIer said...

15 minutes? I don't know but it does feel like we are held prisoners on this island for that time just because the UN is in session. Once the boats leave the East Channel they still are close enough to the UN that they could wreck havoc if they wanted to. I don't get this paranoia.

rilander said...

It's all for show, like they are really doing something useful with our tax $$$. They don't count on folks who live here who look at maps and maybe can figure out that their model is dumb and endangers over 12,000 people! Once again, where is RIOC (or even RIRA} to make a stink about this? RIOC says it's the Coast Guard, the Coast Guard says it's NYPD, and we are left hanging. I think it's like getting a traffic light at an intersection: 3 people have to die before they do something, and only after some people on this island die in a fire or of a heart attack because first responders can't get here while the bridge is open will someone in government wake up and do something to protect us instead of just parking RIOC political paybacks here!

CheshireKitty said...

I agree with the heightened security - even if it is an inconvenience for us. The US is now basically at war with ISIL; today we began offensive air operations vs. ISIL. Not too long ago, there was a war in Gaza. The entire region may "explode" in warfare depending on what happens with regard the government of Syria - if the government of Syria does not permit overflights/bombing operations on their territory, then what? Are they going to try to shoot down our planes? If we go after the government of Syria for shooting at our planes, then what will the Russians do? Will Moscow come to the defense of their client, the government of Syria? That means we may face Russia in a conflict - not something that the world wants to see, considering the level of potential destruction each side could unleash. So, the possibilities of a larger/wider war are right there in the misery and atrocities occurring day and night in ISIL-held territory in the Syrian & Iraqi desert.


The UN, like NYC in general, unfortunately will always be a "target" of terrorists - we saw that tragically enough with the WTC truck bomb and later the horror of 911. Precautions need to be taken, even if they superficially appear "silly." So I agree with the diversion of marine traffic to the E. Channel of the East River - because the NYPD can't be careful enough when it comes to protecting the UN.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Yup. Paranoia.

YetAnotherRIer said...

"3 people have to die before they do something"


Isn't this how everything works here and pretty much everywhere in the world?

OldRossie said...

All good points. If I were concerned about my safety due to the potential for long emergency response times, I may not live on an island in the middle of the east river.... just saying....

CheshireKitty said...

No, it's not paranoia. Please carefully study the following sentence: "French national Mehdi Nemmouche is suspected of having carried out the [May 24, 2014 on the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium] attack after spending most of 2013 fighting in Syria with Islamist rebels, French prosecutors have said."


The sentence is found in the following article http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Brussels-Jewish-Museum-reopens-four-months-after-shooting-that-killed-four-375296 about the museum re-opening 4 months after the terrorist attack that cost 4 their lives.


The attack highlights why, as the article says "...Western governments are increasingly worried about the flow of European citizens to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside Islamist militants, returning home radicalized."


And, Yet, there are probably also scores of U.S. citizens fighting with ISIL in Syria - they would be in the same category as "...French national Mehdi Nemmouche..." in terms of being allowed back into the West/US after radicalization/terrorist training in the Mid-East. After all, they are U.S. citizens, just as Nemmouche was a French citizen; as such he could travel freely in the EU & so forth on his return from Syria.


It's not so far-fetched to think that a returning U.S. citizen/ISIL fighter might launch an attack on the UN - even if such an attack were virtually assured of being a suicide attack - from a craft in the E. River. Keeping all craft as far as possible away from the W. shore of the E. River, as ridiculous as it might sound, might make a difference should there be such an attack.


Although it is true that the folks in W. Queens/RI would then bear the brunt of the attack - if the boat sailed close to the W. shore of Queens/Brooklyn - the security objective of protecting the UN might be a matter of the extra distance between the boat and the UN.

CheshireKitty said...

Streets in Manhattan are also closed to traffic in connection with the President traveling from point to point. I know this is a fact as I've seen the motorcade pass by and the streets are closed off in advance, sometimes for longer than 8-12 minutes.


If an ambulance needed to get to that block during that time period, it's a good question if the NYPD or the Secret Service would let them in - maybe they would, or maybe not.


In any case, when these blocks are temporarily closed to traffic for security reasons, I haven't heard of residents/businesses complaining.


Our bridge closures seem more critical because of our unique situation on an island. But the security concern is exactly the same.


If there was either a fire or a medical emergency on the island and first responders arrived at the bridge just as a boat were going by, would there be a way to let the ambulance or fire truck through and direct the boat to stop? No doubt.


It would be the same thing if such an emergency were to occur on a closed-off block in Midtown - of course the route of the motorcade could be changed (whereas there is no alternative but to close the bridge to traffic) - but, if not, would the police let an ambulance or fire truck through? No doubt.


I would think that in each instance, if EMS or the FDNY were, God forbid, responding to a dire emergency such as cardiac arrest or fire either here on RI or in Midtown, the street or bridge could be kept open for the brief time it would take for an emergency vehicle to travel to it, etc.

YetAnotherRIer said...

You have the choice to live the rest of your life in fear. Have fun.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Not sure if you ever saw the bridge in action but it takes a long time for it to close once it is open. So, yes, it would delay the arrival of an ambulance by many minutes.

CheshireKitty said...

No so. ISIL is very successful in winning territory/cities in Syria and Iraq, and its success is "inspiring" scores of recruits to stream into the area from around the world; even women with their children who wish to live under the brand of extreme fundamentalism ISIL espouses are specifically travelling from all over to the ISIL-held areas. There may be 80,00 adherents in ISIL. All ISIL needs to do is train/radicalize the recruits from overseas and then send them back to their countries of origin to unleash terror.


ISIL is a threat because it's rolled up territory and towns in Syria and Iraq - it's unlike the numerically much smaller group that orchestrated 911, although that group was tacitly supported, i.e. allowed to function in Afghanistan, by the Taliban.


Western, and all law-abiding, nations are therefore quite correct in confronting on many fronts the threat posed by ISIL.


I am just pointing out that should a US citizen clandestinely travel to Syria and receive training as an ISIL fighter/terrorist and then return to the US to unleash terror, despite all our precautions since 911 with no-fly lists and searches at airports etc., these people would probably get through just as the Frenchman who shot up the Jewish Museum in Brussels got through. That's why security needs to be taken very seriously given the existence and success of ISIL in winning territory/towns in the Mid-East.

CheshireKitty said...

And today, just two days after the Jewish Museum in Brussels reopened, there was an arson attack on a synagogue, quite possibly as a result of anti-Semitism, in Brussels, in which three were injured.


Here is the story on that arson attack which occurred today 9/16/14: http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/3-injured-in-suspected-arson-attack-on-Brussels-Synagogue-375502


So it's definitely not paranoid to try to maintain security next week during the 2014 UN General Assembly Session.

Heather Cameron said...

Five years ago, on September 23rd, I was in labor and on my way to St. Vincent's where I ended up having an emergency cesarean. I spent an excruciating hour and 25 minutes in a car trying to get from the Octagon to the hospital. The bridge had just gone up and we found ourselves in a line of cars. My husband got out and ran to talk to someone...it felt like an eternity later, but the bridge lowered and we were allowed across. (In my haze, I didn't notice if they only let us across, or allowed all the cars to go.) With all the street closings on the east side, the drive there was impossible. I can't remember why we opted not to call an ambulance, but I have to wonder if that would have made much difference. The sea of cars everywhere we went was astounding. My daughter probably would not have been born in the car, given the fact that I ultimately needed a cesarean, but if I'd encountered any other complications in the course of that birth, I shudder to think what the outcome would have been.

CheshireKitty said...

I agree that this is potentially a problem for the 14 or 15,000 residents of RI.


The potential problems for the residents - including Coler patients who may need to be transferred to other hospitals in case of an emergency that cannot be handled at Coler - nevertheless need to be weighed against the need for security.


Consider what happened on 911. Prior to the attack, even though the WTC was clearly in the cross-hairs of Al Quaida, and the complex had already been the target of a truck bombing by terrorists, no-body could have even imagined a scenario of planes used as missiles and deliberately crashing into buildings. Yet the unimaginable happened, here and in Washington, as well as the crash in Penna.


Now, the threat from ISIL may potentially be multiplied, given the numerically greater numbers of adherents in ISIL. If the security objective is to keep traffic away from the UN, including boat traffic, then the actions of the police/Coast Guard in keeping boats away from the E. shore of Manhattan and thus requiring boats transit the E. River via the E. Channel of the E. River, makes sense.

CheshireKitty said...

Thank goodness despite the delays caused by the bridge closure and traffic throughout the City, you and your child were OK.


The story highlights the problem of what can and does happen when bridges/streets are closed/congested.


I think there should be a protocol in place such that in case of medical emergencies like the one Heather described, security at the bridge can interface with the Coast Guard/police boats in the river, and request permission to allow the bridge to remain open.


I don't see how this could not be implemented as PSD and the Coast undoubtedly communicate via radio.


Once the vehicle has crossed the bridge, river traffic can then resume once the bridge is raised. It's a matter of boats needing to wait momentarily, so that emergency vehicles etc., can cross the bridge, because the boats are not en route to a hospital on an emergency basis although the vehicles are.