Friday, February 13, 2015

Update On Roosevelt Island Manhattan Tram Station Elevator Replacement Project, At Least Another Year Before Completion Says RIOC - Elevators Out Of Service Today

The Roosevelt Island Manhattan Tram Station elevators are out of service today. Again.

According to advisory this morning from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)
Notification issued 2/13/2015 at 9:35 AM. The Manhattan Tram Station elevator and passenger lift are temporarily out of service. An advisory will be issued when service is restored.
RIOC provided this update on the current status of Tram Station elevators replacement:
Manhattan Tram Station Elevators

Last year, it became clear to many that the elevators at the Manhattan Tram Station were becoming unreliable. As the elevators themselves are due for an overhaul, the most efficient way to deal with the issues is through a replacement of the current system. After rating and ranking responses to a Request for Proposals (RFP) to design two new, larger ADA-accessible elevators, RIOC has selected a contractor. The new elevators will replace the current smaller elevator as well as the red accessible lift, improving the station’s accessibility. A kickoff meeting will soon be held, where the elevator’s designers will present their proposals. The design is scheduled to be completed within 90 days. Once the design is complete, RIOC will seek a qualified contractor to build the elevators to specifications. We will continue to make any repairs necessary to the current system while the new system’s design and build period continues. The work will be conducted on a schedule that causes the least amount of disruption possible to travelers and commuters.
RIOC Director of Engineering Jim Mortimer updated the RIOC Board Of Directors  February 9 Operations Advisory Committee (by phone) on the current status of the Tram elevator replacement project. (Audio web cast of full meeting here)

In response to a question from Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Island Services Committee Chair Aaron Hamburger about the estimated completion date for the Tram Station elevators replacement, Mr. Mortimer said:
... about a year to be finished...
RIOC President Charlene Indelicato reported that a larger space footprint at the Manhattan Tram Plaza is necessary for the new elevators which requires approvals from various NYC agencies adding that the Tram Elevator completion date should take:
... a year with everything going smoothly with all the agencies...
Here's the RIOC Operations Advisory Committee discussion of the Manhattan Tram Station Elevator replacement project.

More on the Tram Station Elevator problems at previous post.

UPDATE 5 PM - According to RIOC:
Notification issued 2/13/2015 at 4:30 PM. Due to an elevator service outage at the Manhattan Tram Station, the RIOC Red Bus will provide special shuttle service to and from Manhattan for those with limited mobility beginning at 4:00 PM until 8:00 PM today.

From Manhattan to Roosevelt Island: The shuttle will depart from the southwest corner of 58th Street and 2nd Avenue every thirty minutes beginning at 4:00 PM*. The last shuttle will depart at 8:30 PM tonight.

From Roosevelt Island to Manhattan: The shuttle will depart from the Roosevelt Island Tram Station every thirty minutes. The last shuttle will depart at 8:00 PM tonight.

Signs will be posted at shuttle bus stop locations and Tram employees will direct passengers to the shuttle bus stops if necessary.

This shuttle service will not be provided over the weekend or on the February 16th Presidents’ Day holiday. If necessary, this daily shuttle service will be provided beginning Tuesday February 17th between 7 AM and 8:30 PM or until elevator or lift service is restored at the Manhattan Tram Station. Customers are advised to plan their travel accordingly and utilize alternative means of transportation. Thank you for your patience while we resolve this issue. Further advisories will be issued to notify the public of any changes or developments.

*While RIOC generally provides this service in case of a 24 hour or longer outage of both the elevator and the red lift, this service is being provided today at an earlier time due to freezing temperatures.
Image Of Manhattan Red Bus Shuttle Today

UPDATE 6:30 PM- Susana Gardete Hartmann shares her experience this morning commuting with a child stroller by Roosevelt Island Tram in this email she sent to RIOC:
I work at Weill Cornell Medical College and have two children of 2 and 4 years of age. My boys are attending the Child and Family center of The Rockefeller University (located at 63rd street and York avenue).

I commute everyday from RI to Upper East side (using the tram) with my two kids sitting on a double stroller. This morning our commute was a nightmare after noticing that the two elevators were broken. Luckily and by chance my husband decided to go with me this morning even without knowing about this problem (usually he starts working very early).

We both had to carry the double stroller down using the stairs. If I had been alone I would not have known what to do with my kids. Also, I was informed that the elevator in 63rd and Lexington avenue is still closed and so we can not use the F train to go home.

How are families with small children and without owning a car supposed to leave and come back to the island? As you can imagine this is a very stressing situation for me, for all other parents with small children and disabled people who have to commute everyday.

Taking into account this situation, I would appreciate if you could find a fast way to solve this problem that affects all RI residents.
UPDATE 2/15, 4:20 PM - According to RIOC:
Notification issued 02/17/2015 at 15:00PM. The Tram Elevator and the Red Lift at the Manhattan Tram Terminal remain out of service. It is anticipated that repairs will not be completed before Tuesday, February 17, 2015. Shuttle Bus Service will commence on Tuesday, February 17, 2015. Please remain alert for a follow-up advisory which will contain the Shuttle Bus Schedule.
UPDATE 2/16, 2:40 PM - A parent made her way to the Manhattan Tram Station platform yesterday afternoon.

According to RIOC:
Notification issued 2/16/2015 at 2:00 PM. Due to an elevator service outage at the Manhattan Tram Station, the RIOC Red Bus will provide special shuttle service to and from Manhattan for those with limited mobility.

From Roosevelt Island to Manhattan: The shuttle will depart from the Roosevelt Island Tram Station at 7:00 AM on February 17, 2015 every thirty minutes. The last shuttle will depart at 8:00 PM

From Manhattan to Roosevelt Island: The shuttle will depart from the southwest corner of 58th Street and 2nd Avenue every thirty minutes beginning at 7:30 AM ON February 17, 2015 The last shuttle will depart at 8:30 PM.

Signs will be posted at shuttle bus stop locations and Tram employees will direct passengers to the shuttle bus stops if necessary.


RooseveltIslander said...

RIOC will run Roosevelt Island Red Bus to Manhattan and back today from 4-8 pm.

Pissed Off said...

Please fix the tram elevator!!! Better yet, since it is so old- get a new one! Or build a ramp so we don't have to wait for a dumb elevator. It is excruciatingly difficult to get stuff done with a toddler and being 8 months pregnant.

CheshireKitty said...

Given the safety requirements for ramps, that they not be too steep, to build a ramp system at the Manhattan side tram station, would require a large footprint - so the grade of the ramp could be kept gradual. The Manhattan side tram station is quite a bit above ground; I'm not sure it's practical to build a ramp to that level. Most ramps are constructed from street level to the first floor entrances to buildings/stations, if there are stairs. Maybe I have misunderstood what you are getting at.

CheshireKitty said...

The way this issue has been handled - dragging on for so long - is extremely unfair for those who need to use the elevator, the disabled, the elderly, moms with strollers, and even cyclists who may not wish to carry their bikes up and down the stairs.

The red bus shuttle is made available meanwhile, that is a good thing, but why did RIOC not receive bids on the elevator replacement project? Is there something in the way RIOC is bidding out these projects that is causing them to drag out for so long?

We recently heard in the WIRE that RIOC has a huge budget surplus - so cost is not really an issue, and hasn't been an issue for a number of years, evidently. The delay must be caused by some inefficiency or problem with RIOC in bidding out projects. The elevator replacement project would be potentially lucrative project for a contractor; why does RIOC not receive bids?

Considering we are dealing with an important means for transportation for the disabled community, and they do not have a choice but to use the elevator, and we have all patiently waited quite a long time for the replacement of the elevator, the issue must be "escalated" to the appropriate State agency to examine/audit the bidding process at RIOC. We have been told many times before "it will only be a few more months" "it will only be a year" - we were told this exact thing last year. And now a year later we are being told again "it will only be a year." Can anyone blame us if we are skeptical by now about how long it will take?

RIOC (a) has the money to make the repair or have the elevator replaced (b) has long known the elevator must be repaired or replaced. So what is the problem? It can't be the contractors - since they would obviously want the work and revenue. The problem must be something with the bidding process at RIOC. There is some inefficiency at RIOC that is causing the elevator project to drag on for years. The elevator is not a "luxury" "perk" for the disabled who have no other way to access the tram, and is also needed by many elderly, and moms with strollers. It also helps many others who may be toting belongings, shopping, to have the option of the elevator rather than climbing up the stairs.

The appropriate State agency needs to look at the RIOC bidding process as it is not efficient. It is impossible that a construction contract worth millions was not bid on. What is the matter with the RFP that was prepared? The result of the flawed RIOC RFP process is an unjust prolongation of the project, unjust because the disabled population has no means of accessing the tram when both the elevator and disabled lifts are out,unless there is the red shuttle bus running.

I want to ask again: How long have we known that the elevator needs to be replaced? I believe we have all know this for the past few years. We are always told the same thing: It will be fixed "in about a year." Then when the year is out, we are told the same thing - it will be fixed "in about a year." I used to think RIOC had no money to fix the elevator and that was why the project was being dragged out. However, we just found out that RIOC has the money, and has long had the money. Plus, contractors would want the work. So there is is only one possible reason why the project is dragging out - there is a problem with the RFP process at RIOC.

rilander said...

The red bus must be available automatically and immediately any and all times the tram elevators are out of service. We should not have to round up people to contact RIOC to get the red bus going. This weekend, with the 63rd Street/Lexington Avenue station elevator out as well, there was no way elderly, parents with strollers, or the disabled could get on and off this rock. Further, when the elevator and lift are out, RIOC must post people on the Manhattan side who are able to assist people who need help on those stairs. If the tram employees or PSD's contract won't allow it, then get other help. Maybe have fewer useless people on the RIOC payroll sitting in the office so the budget would allow for personnel where it's needed. Once again, shame on RIOC!

RooseveltIslander said...

RIOC's proposed Budget including Capital Spending for 2015- 16 was announced in November 2014.

CheshireKitty said...

Yes; evidently, money that is not spent is rolled over into the following year's budget. Evidently, money was not spent for several years - that means they had the money to spend all along. Money is not the problem, money is not the issue with fixing the elevator. RIOC is the issue - RIOC and its flawed RFP process.

Islanderx2 said...

Yes, I can see how inconvenient it is not to have a working elevator on the
Manhattan tram side. It has dragged out for way to long and quite possibly RIOC
is partially at fault. You would think that any elevator contractor would jump
on the contract, but when you see the number of cranes working on both sides of
the river, I don't think there are too many, if any, contractors looking for an
elevator job. Especially one that is two stories and a single car. So I can
believe that maybe there were no bidders, licensed in NYC, for the job.
Something to think about.

Those of you, us, who feel that they are so inconvenienced should really
think about the alternative means of traveling or not traveling at all. Maybe
that trip could have waited or if that important take the car service, $$, it
will get you where you want to go. Hit a nerve??? Sometimes living on an
island does have its moments and one must learn to deal with them as best as
possible. Just wait until the helix goes down, now that would really be cause
for concern........