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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Traffic Safety Issues Raised For Pedestrians, Cars & Bikes At Roosevelt Island Bridge Helix Intersection - Better Street Lighting And Signage Needed Says Resident

Image From Frank Farance

Roosevelt Island resident Frank Farance is concerned about safety issues at the Roosevelt Island Bridge Helix intersection.

According to Mr. Farance:
Ongoing Safety Hazard at Roosevelt Island Helix Intersection: Lack of Street Lights, Crosswalk Lighting, Traffic Control

Image From Frank Farance

I've been documenting the problems around the helix intersection, right where the cyclist was killed recently. I myself was almost hit by a car who didn't seem to see me crossing the intersection.

It's really dark.

Image From Frank Farance

No street lights between PS 217 driveway and 10 River Road crosswalk (where the cyclist was killed).

Northbound cars don't have to stop, until a traffic light is installed, the intersection should be IMMEDIATELY configured as an All-Way stop (stop signs for northbound, southbound, and westbound traffic)

I've suggested for many years that a traffic light be installed, including walk/don't-walk signs.

Motorgate lighting is out in the arcade across from Manhattan Park, which contributes to the darkness of the street scene.

Image From Frank Farance

Watch this video which shows how dark it is. At 0:30 and 1:02, you'll see people crossing the street, they are hard to see. Yes, this is what it actually looks like in the intersection.

I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato about the Helix safety issues raised by Mr. Farance. Ms. Indelicato replied:
We are working with Con Ed to fix the problem. We have been trying to address it with some temporary lighting.
Another Roosevelt Island lighting issue was recently reported to RI 311 See Click Fix:
Why is RIOC keeping us in the dark????

Literally!!! After 4/4:30pm it's dark this time of year! Why are SO MANY lights out around the island? Blackwell playground has one light on in the corner, and several others around that don't work. Al Lewis playground is in the dark. A huge stretch of lights between Lighthouse Park/Coker and the Octagon are out. Lights along the road next to the fire station are out. Surely this is a LIABILITY ISSUE??? With winter coming ...
More information on the October 8 nighttime bicycle collision with Roosevelt Island Red Bus at the Helix intersection which led to the death of cyclist Anna Maria Mostrom at this previous post.


Frank Farance said...

RIOC President Indelicato is incorrect about the cause of the problem: it's not Con-Ed, it's RIOC poor lighting design. See 0:07, 0:40, and anywhere someone is on the left side of the video, which has no Con-Ed problems. The people are poorly lit, and driving it myself, that isn't the only problem, there are problems in the WIRE corridor, which doesn't have Con-Ed problems. It's really tiring hearing uninformed opinions, like Ms. Indelicato's which always sound like Making Excuses rather than good executive management.

Frank Farance said...

Ole YIELD-Y, Another Shrine To RIOC Incompetence.

RIOC/PSD Deputy Director Lynda Marmara, responded:

Marmara> "As stated, we have been looking into this issue prior to our discussion last evening. By the way, you may have already taken note of the measures already put in place, including the placement of an additional "Stop Sign" in the vicinity of the Helix. We will continue to take steps to ensure public safety and we will continue to confer with local, state, and federal SMEs, including our "partners" at DOT. Thank you for your contribution and offer to participate, however we are quite comfortable with the input that we have received and will continue to receive from the aforementioned authorities."

Ms. Marmara:

I suggest that you re-think your methodology, because it's just not working. Please see my post on the RI Blog.

So is it your position, that you've consulted with local, State, Federal SMEs, including your "partners" at DOT? Well it seems that you've done a really really terrible job. I believe we need to ask those agencies about their participation, which produces the kinds of results we see here.

And, I'm not talking about the mis-spelling of YIELD-Y, which must have been seen but every Public Safety Officer and every RIOC executive, yet everyone at a supervisory level signed off on this right? A better explanation is: RIOC just does really poor work, RIOC has really lousy supervision, RIOC executives don't know how to manage managers, and the RIOC Board is inept at oversight.

So, in contrast with your position, the reason you need residents participating (and not gummed up with the slew of conflicts of interest among RIOC, RIRA, the WIRE, etc.) is because: RIOC is incapable of doing their job competently. We had the same problems with RIOC Presidents over the years, including Jerry Blue. The problems with most RIOC Presidents are that they Close The Wagons and don't want input, except the Yes-Men people they surround themselves with. That's Indelicato's approach: Disagree With Me, And You're Out ... no competent executive would subscribe to that.

The main problems with Ole YIELD-Y are: it's dangerous. A motorist or cyclist comes down the bridge (or is traveling southbound), sees three stop signs and thinks All-Way Stop, but they don't realize the left northbound lane is a Yield (no Stop) for straight, but a Stop for the Right Turn Only. I HAVE NEVER SEEN AN INTERSECTION SO POORLY CONFIGURED THIS WAY. The video shows that RIOC employees (bus drivers) feel there is no stop necessary for them in the left (northbound) lane. This is just waiting for another accident to happen. And I believe the intersection does not conform with the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.


It's been a week now and no one at RIOC has pointed out how dangerous about this intersection is? Truly incompetent at every level. And, according to you, incompetency prevails with your City, State, Federal SMEs and "partners" at DOT, right?

CheshireKitty said...

This should be a 3-way stop intersection. The Yield, faded Yield, and partial Yield pavement markings should be painted out and replaced by Stop markings. The Stop sign should control all northbound lanes of traffic, not just the right-hand lane. Also, crosswalk markings should be added to that corner. This way cars going north will see the stop sign, see the crosswalk, see the Stop markings on the pavement, and definitely stop before proceeding.

The picturesque "antique-y" looking street lights do not cast enough light into the streets. Regular street lights such as are found on City streets that illuminate the entire street should be added.

I don't think RIOC needs the OK of the NYC DOT to purchase and install regular street lights throughout the island. The safety of pedestrians and cyclists should be placed above scenic considerations.

We have have had one horrific accident with the death of Ms. Mostrum - probably the accident is attributable to the lack of adequate street lights at the 3-way helix intersection. There are other stretches of roadway on the island that are also inadequately illuminated.

Ms. Indelicato is opposed to Citibike on RI because the Island infrastructure is inadequate. I agree - from the standpoint of cyclists gaining access to RI via Motorgate. Ms. Indelicato needs to get the Motorgate escalator repaired - possibly install a escalator system that could also handle bikes, because the tiny elevators in Motorgate barely can contain one bike. Cyclists could use the helix ramp, but some cyclists might have difficulty bicycling up the ramp and might prefer to walk their bikes up the ramp, which is not permissible as pedestrians are not allowed on the ramp. The alternative is to climb up the stairs in Motorgate to the bridge level, which may also be difficult for some cyclists.

Suppose Citibike did come to RI in a few years without the repairs/upgrades to Motorgate. Without improvements to street lights, it would be hazardous for cyclists to ride around on RI after dark.

Improving the street lighting on RI should be a top priority of the Indelicato administration - and can be accomplished relatively easily/cheaply in comparison with the upgrades needed at Motorgate (i.e. the escalator repair - possible construction of an additional much larger elevator which could handle pedestrians, shopping carts, bicycles, strollers, and users of wheelchairs).

YetAnotherRIer said...

I guess I am the only one who enjoys less lights on the streets? Reminds me of growing up where people are able to stay safe with a lot of less light on the streets... maybe we should focus more on educating drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians to stay safe regardless on how much light is around them?

YetAnotherRIer said...

"This should be a 3-way stop intersection."

I could swear that it used to be a three-way stop until just a few years ago or am I mixing things up?

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer: It was a 3-way stop until 2008(?) when RIOC was messing around with the bus route and claiming they needed to make up some time, so they changed most of the crosswalks from Stop to Yield, and changed the northbound leg to Yield (to save a couple seconds on the bus route). The whole idea then was misguided and they rolled everything back, except for the stop signs, which PSD Director Guerra hung onto, regardless of constant complaints about the helix and crosswalks.

Frank Farance said...

Urgent Traffic Safety Problem At Helix. The temporary lighting has been configured to point in the eyes of motorists, temporarily blinding them (or reducing their night vision) on a tight turn and as the enter the helix intersection that already suffers from poor lighting, poor design, and a hazard to others (pedestrians, cyclists, motorists).

- Photo 1: The temporary lighting unit improperly configured.
- Photo 2: Shows how the lights point into the motorists coming down the helix.
- Photo 3: Shows what this looks like from the driver's perspective.

Do I really have to point out that RIOC shouldn't be pointing bright lights into the eyes of drivers? Does RIOC/PSD staff really lack the expertise to set these lights up safely without creating more problems? Is RIOC/PSD so poor in their supervision that these kinds of mistakes happen and last?

Frank Farance said...

Ms. Indelicato: It's now almost 4 months and the Motorgate security cameras are still not
working right. On Thanksgiving weekend, I did a full survey and half the
Motorgate parking was not covered, and that doesn't even count the non-coverage
areas due to poor design. Again this week, you still have cameras pointing at

The behavior of your organization is very different than others, such as a
bodega. When a bodega gets security cameras, they get installed right the first
time, and if there are glitches, they get fixed right away. Which is why bodega
security cameras have dust on them: they got fixed right early on and didn't
need the weekly fixing that Motorgate cameras have. Unlike bodegas where the
work gets done once (or twice), the Motorgate cameras regress: work that helped
improve one camera gets broken again. Your camera system *regresses* in
performance, and this has happened consistently over the past several months.
I've never seen such a security system (with no vandalism) regress in the ways
your system has.

The poop/spew clean-up around Motorgate was never done right/completely, it's
still a mess.

Motorgate lighting is still out in many areas, regardless of your claim it's Con
Ed (Con Ed believes it's RIOC's problem).

There are a variety of traffic/safety problems that are urgent and go
Deputy Director Marmara purports "partnering" with DOT, I am investigating her
claim because DOT would never do this poorly, or be so dismissive.

And there are a variety of projects ***months*** in abeyance, just like the
Lighthouse Footbridges, but other projects.

Many residents perceive RIOC's bunker mentality. Simply, I will continue to
escalate this until these are resolved.

Frank Farance

CheshireKitty said...

"...the Motorgate security cameras are still not working right. On Thanksgiving weekend, I did a full survey and half the Motorgate parking was not covered, and that doesn't even count the non-coverage areas due to poor design. Again this week, you still have cameras pointing at concrete."

Although I have often taken issue with Frank on the cameras, I now have to agree on at least one aspect of his complaint: There are many areas of the garage that are in fact not under video surveillance. Does RIOC intend to purchase additional cameras? If not, what were the criteria used for selecting which areas receive cameras and which do not?

As I have written previously I am not totally opposed to the use of Motorgate as a "platform" from which to survey via camera other RIOC properties such as Capobianco Field, Motorgate turnaround plaza, the AVAC, the bridge deck/approach, and so forth. Thus, some cameras at Motorgate will not be pointing at the parked cars, and will instead be pointing at these other areas RIOC may be wholly or partially responsible for. However, if surveillance of these areas - legitimate as it may be - is at the expense of the security of Motorgate customers, then RIOC needs to reconsider its priorities. Motorgate parking areas can be extremely deserted areas - more so than many other areas on RI. Also, these parking areas are not near the street or visible to passersby. As such, I hope RIOC will consider purchasing additional cameras so that as many parking areas/levels of Motorgate as possible can be placed under video surveillance. Currently, many parking areas are not under video surveillance, which leads me to ask why some areas received cameras but others did not. Was there a system or reason for the way the cameras were deployed, or did RIOC simply wish to stretch the available resources with no particular rationale as to why some parking areas have cameras but others do not.