Thursday, October 23, 2014

NYC Planning Department Presents Western Queens Transportation Study To Roosevelt Island Community Last Night - Recommends New Bus Routes, Ferry Service, Bike Lanes & Motorgate Improvements

Reported October 16 on the NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) Western Queens Transportation study

Image Of Western Queens Transportation Study Area Of Interest from NYC Planning Dept (Page 4)

and its recommendations for Roosevelt Island.

Among the DCP's Western Queens Transportation Study recommendations for Roosevelt Island are:
  • Eliminating the Q 102 bus and extending the Q 19 and Q 39 to Roosevelt Island (Pages 20-21),
  • Extend East River Ferry Service To Roosevelt Island and Hallet's Cove in Astoria (Page 22),
  • Improve Bike Access To Roosevelt Island including a Roosevelt Island Bridge 2 way bike lane (Pages 44-47),
  • Improvements to the Motorgate Garage, Atrium and surrounding areas including new dedicated entrances, a welcoming pedestrian plaza, way finding signage, new multi-purpose escalator, bike share station and attractive pedestrian plaza greenway. (Pages 48 -57)
Images From DCP Western Queens Transportation Study (Pages 44, 54, 57)

Last night, the DCP presented its full Western Queens Transportation Study to Community Board 8's Roosevelt Island/ Transportation joint committee and other members of the Roosevelt Island Community. Here's video of the presentation.

followed by comments, question and answers. During the comments period, I asked the DCP representatives to consider extending the Q104 and Q103 bus routes to Roosevelt Island instead of the Q19 and Q39 because the Q104 and Q103 offer better routes to Astoria and Long Island City. Also, Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Transportation Manager Cy Opperman noted how important the current Q102 service is for transporting residents to and from the subway/tram during rush hours.

I was surprised to learn that the ferry service contemplated for Roosevelt Island in the DCP study would use the Manhattan side of the East River. Previous studies recommended the Queens side.

Other comments included Frank Farance on driving patterns in Astoria/LIC, Sharon Pope on bicycle access to Queensboro bridge and Judy Berdy on the transportation needs of poor people in Astoria/LIC not being addressed until now when luxury housing is starting to be developed in the area.

Here's video of the Q and A.

The DCP Western Queens Transportation Study notes:
... The recommendations made in this PDF Document presentation are predicated upon further study and feasibility analyses prior to implementation...
 A summary of the Western Queens Transportation Study recommendations for Roosevelt Island is at this previous post


AGuyonRI said...

I think it would be great to have the two bike lanes side by side on the bridge as opposed to opposite each other. They feel very narrow (especially returning to the island) and are awful when wet. Pairing them together would give riders a lot of breathing room, except when passing (which is better than the current condition.)

Westviewer said...

Any thoughts on the new

Westviewer said...

Some thoughts on the new wine/liquor store: I find it odd that the store opened before it was fully stocked. I hope that I'm wrong when I speculate that the store is undercapitalized. I was able to buy a very nice, inexpensive red wine from Puglia last week on the spur of the moment -- happy about that. Not so happy that I couldn't buy a chilled white last night. There are no refrigerated wines! What if a dinner guest wants to bring you, say, a cold bottle of Cava? Too bad. There's plenty of room for improvement here in both selection and service. I hope it happens, but, hey, this is Roosevelt Island so I don't get my hopes up too high.

Ratso123 said...

I was going to stop in at 11:30 am on Wednesday on my way to Gristedes, but it was closed.

Westviewer said...

They have already shortened their hours. Many shelves are still empty.

Westviewer said...

Nice Spanish red wine tonight from Island Wines and Spirits. It's still not fully stocked, and I haven't seen many customers. Does Southtown even know the store is open? If Islanders don't patronize it, there is no chance that it will succeed. Maybe they are still pretending this is the soft opening and they will have the usual grand opening, with a wine tasting, soon. I hope business picks up regardless, because I like what I've bought so far.

MadAtMP said...

Manhattan Park removing screens from apartments--permanently!

If you like your window screens, you won't be able to keep them. Under the guise of 'window cleaning' (which never happened for most apts), our window screens were removed 'so that windows can be cleaned'. Then they were put in the junk pile area outside each building. Called office and was told "window screens are NOT IN THE CONTRACT and do not have to be provided." Even if you did keep your screens, building maintenance will not touch them. You're on your own. Another excuse given: "the management does not like the way the building looks with screens." Just like they didn't like the lobby look in 30 River, and after that turned out to be a cheap-looking fiasco, wisely stayed further destruction of the other buildings' lobbies.

Screens have been part of the MP buildings since they went up in the 1980s. They never bothered to maintain or replace them after the early years regularly, so they did become rather ragged looking.

Sounds like MP management don't mind bugs and dirt coming into the building during warmer weather--or that they are encouraging shut windows and use of the AC unit, so they can get their revenue from the marked up electric.

MadAtMP said...

Am I the only one who hopes that the southbound Red Bus will never again use the Gristedes loop and continue stopping by 10RR? I cannot pass that area without thinking of Anna Maria Mostrom, who died in October after being hit by a Red Bus that was making that left turn off the loop. Rightfully the family is suing RIOC for 911 tapes, surveillance video and a witness list which have NOT been forthcoming as RIOC attempts to sweep it under the rug.

CheshireKitty said...

I agree. The loop should be closed and the loop plaza reconfigured as either a park or public plaza and renamed in her honor. I always think of the accident each time I walk by - the lack of traffic makes the tragedy even more senseless.

Frank Farance said...

I'm sorry for her death, there were several contributing factors, including the lack of street lights. I was almost hit by a northbound car on Wednesday going through the 10 RR crosswalk. I've made these suggestions before, and I make them again:

- need to have a traffic light at the base of the helix ramp (at worst case, need to make the intersection an All-Way stop)

- need to have streets lit better (e.g., across from turn-around)

- need to have crosswalks better lit so drivers can see pedestrians and motorists, e.g., overhead/poled lights

In the City's presentation on the Western Queens transportation study, they pointed out the lack of crosswalks on Vernon Blvd, but the City's DOT will not paint crosswalks unless there is some "traffic control device" there. (To be precise, I think they mean a "traffic control device" that stops the flow of traffic, such as a cross-walk stop light, stop sign, or traffic light.)

In other words, it sounds like the crosswalks on Roosevelt Island don't meet the City's standards. Of course, RIOC can override the City's requirements, but I think that is an unsafe move.

Even though there has been uniform support for traffic safety by the residents, in the past, the problem was PSD Director Guerra obstructing much of these suggestions ... my sense is that he just would do the opposite of what the residents wanted, when pushed, there was no rationale for his decisions. The RIOC Board has still gone along with the lack of attention.

Sadly, like many things in life, it takes a loss of life to cause people to take action. RIOC, simply there are many relatively inexpensive items that can help improve safety.

As for the turnaround, it is necessary for other reasons, such as pickup at Gristede's, seniors/disabled want it there, and 10 RR is problematic when carrying packages. Given the choice between a bus making a left turn vs. a dozen people with packages/etc. running across the street to catch the bus, the former is a safer choice.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Electricity is not marked up. Now that we get the statements separately in the mail why do you insist on spreading this untruth?

I do wonder about the window cleaning, though. In talking to the building staff I do get a few bits and pieces about the progress but I am not sure how serious this is. I kept my screens and stored them in my apartment and will put them back as soon as possible. Not sure why MadAtMP let staff carry them away.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Agreed. The loop is obsolete. It used to be that it was the most northern stop of the red bus so it made some sense. Now, not so much. If RIOC could install a bench or two at the stop across the street that's all that should be needed to make that the permanent stop, all day and weekend long.

deetelecare said...

I also ran into the same situation. I had put my bedroom screen outside my door intending to bring it inside after cleaning--and it was removed. Like MadAtMP, I contacted the office to request assistance in getting them back up and was denied. Some of us aren't quite able to DIY, though I did.

Regarding the markup on electricity, you should refer to Mark Lyon's extensive investigation on the Manhattan Park setup. They were basically forced to provide the separate statements. But take a look at the rate--it's not competitive. The biggest shock tenants have in coming here is how high the rates are. NY Dept.of Public Service has still not answered Mark's questions after two years.

deetelecare said...

Frank, thanks for the history on this which predates me. In broad daylight cars run through the River Road to Gristedes crosswalk without any yielding to pedestrians. What would be helpful is a flashing light setup at that crosswalk, both north and south, preferably red as it would slow down all the drivers who pick up speed as they head north, but I'd settle for yellow.

deetelecare said...

Agree with you that if the bus stop relocates to 10RR, a bench or two is in order. But don't hold your breath as I suspect that entire area is Manhattan Park's footprint, they control it and don't want it there.

MadAtMP said...

Frank, do you know anything about the status of the investigation into Ms. Mostrom's death and whether RIOC will turn over the information? Notably the Main Street Wire is dead silent on this.

Frank Farance said...

I have offered to help Ms. Mostrom's family to get the information. As for the WIRE, while I don't doubt Ms. Strong-Shinozaki's reporting of the event (and I'm sorry Ms. Strong-Shinozaki had to experience someone dying in front of her, which I conveyed to Ms. Strong-Shinozaki personally), it would have been helpful for the WIRE to disclose her spousal relationship to a director for the transportation company in the accident. If there were a bike accident with an MTA bus (another NYS public authority, like RIOC) and the wife of a a board member happened to be there witnessing the accident, the NY Times would have disclosed this.

We discussed this accident in the RIRA Planning Committee. My approach was to take a methodological approach that the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) uses for studying aviation accidents. In short, the NTSB focuses primarily on discovering Contributing Factors. Well I guess the reason for the plane crash is that the "aircraft came in contact with the terrain" (which I seen in many reports), but it's the Contributing Factors that lead up to that point that help analysts understand what happened and, possibly, how to avoid it in the future.

By taking that kind of approach here, we can see things that contribute to the incident (cyclist: lack of reflective clothing; motorist: did not observe right-of-way; environment: poorly lit) without assigning blame to motorist or cyclist, and look towards improvements that avoid/minimize these accidents in the future.

I'll let you know when I get more information.

YetAnotherRIer said...

It's hard to find a source that lists the current electricity rate that Coned is charging but the ones I found did not list anything than the 16 cents per kWh that I was charged for the last billing cycle. Do you have a better source that proves that MP marks up the price?

I just saw the window washer doing his work on 30 and 40 River Road. It's one guy dangling on a rope going from top to ground floor, one column of windows at the time. No wonder it takes so long. Good to know, though, that the windows are being cleaned.

Mark Lyon said...

MP is prohibited from profiting from the sale of electricity in their lease (see §23.07(b) - or full lease at ) but RIOC has no interest in auditing to ensure compliance and tenants have no legal mechanism by which to force them to open their books.

Similarly, MP (even though Starrett has a large internal energy department which can negotiate on behalf of all its buildings) appears to have done nothing to attempt to hedge electrical rates or otherwise mitigate the wide swings in the retail rate. In at least some months, they've exceeded the rate allowed by law for submeterers, which is the maximum price one would be charged if directly metered. It certainly doesn't live up to their claim of submetering yielding rates "...40% less than that charged individual users." ( ) My understanding is that other buildings on the island have been quite successful in negotiating level, beneficial rates for their tenants.

You can look up historical supply rates for any period at - the appropriate settings are EL1 and EL7 (for heating, if there were separate meters for heating) in Zone J. Merchant function charges are listed at

Oh, and that $6/mo fee should be approximately $17.50 a year, plus a pro-rata share of maintaining (or paying the initial cost of) the system. ( )

In short, Manhattan Park residents likely continue to get the short end of the deal, but the PSC is too overwhelmed and RIOC too unconcerned for MP to have any reason to improve its practices.

YetAnotherRIer said...

You supplied the info for supply charges (I assume that is the variable portion of the total cost, depending on demand). That's one part of the price per kWh. Do you have a similar source for delivery charges?

I agree with you on the maintenance fee. Even if we adjust the $17.50/yr for inflation it has increased quite a bit beyond inflation.

Mark Lyon said...

Leaf 387 -


As for rate over what would be charged to a residential customer getting direct metered service, I was able to compare several bills from last year and the year before to actual charges that would have been billed by Con Ed. Same was made part of my PSC complaint.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Thanks for the links. The take-away seems to be pretty much that MP should be negotiating with ConEd more and the overcharge happened not because of profit-motivation but because of pricing issues/changes on ConEd's side (and a consequence of MP's laziness/ignorance to negotiate terms in the tenants' favor).

All in all, we are not getting the discount we think we should be getting and we don't really have anything substantial to make it happen.

RooseveltIslander said...

The family should FOIL request for surveillance video and other information from RIOC.

Here's how.

Westviewer said...

Overheard at Island Wine and Spirits:
Customer: Where are the Alsatian wines?
Staff: Alsatian? Is that like...Cabernet?
Customer: No, it's a wine region in France. Do you have German wines?
Staff: No.

So, no Riesling for dinner that night.

I somehow knew that the new wine store would follow the Roosevelt Island rule: If it's on Roosevelt Island, chances are it will be among the worst of its kind.

Westviewer said...

Checking this out myself, I found a Riesling section in the store that had several bottles of NY State rieslings and a Dr. Loosen from Germany, but nothing you'd expect to find, like Hugel or Trimbach -- the basics. I don't expect to see Zind-Humbrecht on Roosevelt Island, but who in the world would open a wine store with a Riesling section without Hugel or Trimbach?

YetAnotherRIer said...

*shrug* I am not a wine snob and I usually buy all my wines from Trader Joe's. TJs got some nice Rieslings there (German and Alsace) without offering Hugel or Trimbach. I am not sure that that should be a requirement for being an acceptable wine store.

That said, I kind of expected that the owners did not hire knowledgeable staff. Roosevelt Island rule and all. There seems to be very little interest in this store in general. Very
Iittle foot traffic. Let's see how long they'll be able to keep the doors open.

CheshireKitty said...

It was like that at first but now every time I walk by they're making a sale - so business has picked up. Earlier today I walked by and they were graciously gift-wrapping a bottle; staff seems forthcoming/helpful even if they are not that knowledgeable about the merchandise.