Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Update On Frequently Broken Roosevelt Island Tram Station Elevators - New Service Contract, New RFP Elevator Design Contract And Red Bus Shuttle If Both Elevators Out Of Service Says RIOC - Residents Say Thank You

Reported July 17 that:

The frequently out of service Roosevelt Island Tram Station elevators have been a constant headache for Roosevelt Island parents with strollers, disabled residents and others who need the elevators to use the Manhattan Tram Station.

The Roosevelt Island Parents' Network (RIPN) and Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Island Services Committee have been meeting with the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) to try and alleviate the problems caused by the frequently out of service Manhattan Tram Station elevator.

RIOC Director of Engineering Jim Mortimer provided this update on the Tram Elevator Status to Island Services Committee Chair Aaron Hamburger:
Since the replacement of the elevator door and repair of the red lift in early August, both the elevator and the lift have been functioning well. In the event both units simultaneously go out of service in the future, a RIOC red bus will immediately begin to provide service to and from Manhattan until the units are repaired.

Because our efforts to solicit design/build contractors for the new elevators were unsuccessful, an RFP for the design of two new elevators has been issued. Proposals are due on 10/3/14. After the design is complete in early 2015, we will procure a contractor and construct the new elevators which will be completed in 2015.

In the interim, we have issued a new service contract wherein the elevators will be brought to a state of good repair and the service contractor will be responsible for maintaining them at a set monthly fee from then on.

We believe this will eliminate the emergency situations in relation to the elevator and the lift until the new elevators are completed.
More on the Tram elevator service contract and RFP for new elevator at this previous post.

The Roosevelt Island residents below thanked RIOC for its efforts.
We would like to thank RIOC for offering rapid response by providing Red bus service to and from Manhattan on August 1st and 2nd when both the Tram elevator and the lift have been out of service. We also thank RIOC for the commitment to provide the Red bus shuttle in the future, should both units go out of service simultaneously again. The shuttle is very valuable to certain parts of the island population, i.e. seniors, the Disabled or care givers with children in strollers, in order to be able to leave the island or come home easily, especially now that the elevator at the 63rd St/Lex Ave Subway station is out of service until February 2015. Thank you, RIOC!

Eva Bosbach, Aaron Hamburger, Susana del Campo Perea and Kaja Maede (RI Parents' Network, RIRA Island Services Committee and the Tram Advocacy Group)
More on the Red Bus shuttle to and from Manhattan when both Tram Station elevators are out of service.

The problems with the Tram station elevators have been going on for a long time. Last winter, Eva Bosbach wrote:
This winter, the elevators on the Manhattan side of the Tram kept breaking more and more frequently, often both at the same time. With the weather staying cold and the stairs being slippery, no assistance available to get down the stairs from the Tram platform on the Manhattan side, no help in the afternoons with opening the gate to get to the Tram pre-loading area on the island side and no heaters outside the gate, the whole Tram travel experience often became a nightmare for families, bikers and wheelchair-users. In addition, as the F-Train is not servicing Roosevelt Island on many weekends, except for taking the long commute to Manhattan via the Q102 bus to Queens Plaza (the closest non F-Train subway station on the Q102 route which has a – hopefully working – elevator), if the Tram elevators are out of service during those quite regular subway suspensions, parts of the population cannot leave the island easily. For our community, this is both a quality of life and a safety issue.

On behalf of the RI Parents' Network and the RIRA Island Services Committee, I suggested that RIOC:

1. Expedites the replacement of the elevators approved in RIOC's 2014/2015 budget as much as possible (also see January 13 2014 letter to RIOC by NY State Senator Jose Serrano requesting the elevator to be promptly fixed). The estimated completion date is now February 2015.

2. Provides Red Bus service to and from Manhattan in cases when both elevators are out of service AND the subway is not running, so that residents needing assistance are able to leave the island easily. We fully understand that this might be difficult to do "on call" as this combination usually occurs suddenly and during the weekend, but possibly a Red Bus service could be scheduled in advance for the weekends for which it is known in advance that the F-Train will not be running, until the elevators are replaced. Alternatively, a phone number could be provided which those residents with needs could call for an on-demand car service in such cases.

 3. Provides additional personnel on the Manhattan side of the Tram to assist residents with needs to get up and down the stairs when both elevators are out of service. We fully understand that RIOC and POMA employees might not be able to assist residents because of liability coverage for their assignments, but ask that a stationing of a Public Safety officer on the Manhattan side be considered.

4. - At bare minimum – immediately posts signs when both elevators are out of service. This is especially important on the island side of the Tram, so that residents are able to change their travel plans accordingly, i.e., take the subway instead.

5. Considers using the funds from Cornell and the NY State for these solutions – the Tram will be one of the services on the island which will definitely be used by Cornell staff and students.

After many interactions with RIOC and POMA/Leitner, we are glad that this topic got on the agenda of RIOC's meetings and is being worked on more intensely. We are also glad that the signs to inform residents about the situation have been produced and that the replacement has been approved, at least as part of RIOC next year's budget. The RI parents’ community is very thankful for any progress made in this matter. Thank you, RIOC!

Eva Bosbach
RI Parents' Network, RIRA Island Services Committee
RIOC President Charlene Indelicato discussed the Tram elevator problem during April 2014 RIOC Board Of Directors meeting.