Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Here We Go Again, Intermittent Roosevelt Island Bridge Closings During 2016 United Nations General Assembly - Will Emergency Vehicles Be Delayed Worries Roosevelt Island Resident - East River West Channel Closed To Boat Traffic

It's that time of year again for Roosevelt Island.

Image Of United Nations From Roosevelt Island FDR Four Freedoms Park

Mid September is the the opening of the United Nations General Assembly Session and 2016 is no different than previous years in terms of its impact on Roosevelt Island residents. The opening of the UN General Assembly means the diversion of all East River boat traffic to the Roosevelt Island 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.

According to this NYC Department of Transportation tweet:

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) adds:
Roosevelt Island Bridge- Intermittent raising 9/13-9/26 for UN General Assembly.

The NYC Department of Transportation Division of Bridges will doing intermittent raising of the Roosevelt Island Bridge starting from 7:00 AM- 8:00 PM Tuesday, September 13, 2016 to Monday, September 26, 2016 due to the rerouting of boat traffic during the United Nations General Assembly. Each opening should take anywhere from 8-12 minutes to complete. Expect intermittent traffic disruptions and delays on Main Street and along the Roosevelt Island Bridge approach.

For more information, please contact the Division of Bridges/Community Affairs at (212) 839-3740.
Roosevelt Island resident Raye Schwartz objects to the annual intermittent closings of the Roosevelt Island Bridge during UN Week. Ms Schwartz writes:
Ever since I’ve lived here we’ve gotten some of these annual dumb-ass announcements related to the UN General Assembly meetings and nobody in RI management (RIOC, HUD, DHCR and all the other RI managers in the present and past) have ignored this because it is done by the US Coast Guard. Nobody wants to touch it. But here’s the issue:

1. While the bridge is open, neither fire trucks nor ambulances can get on or off the island. Sometimes they’ve even announced they’d have emergency personnel here, but they never do, and besides they’d never be able to get someone to a hospital, handle a major fire or even an attack by a disgruntled terrorist whose boat was rerouted and couldn’t aim at the UN.

2. Once I was coming home from shopping in Astoria and an ambulance was in front of me as we were turning onto the bridge. His siren was blaring as the bridge was just about to close, yet the bridge operator ignored the ambulance and continued to close. It was closed for 22 minutes.

3. The west channel is closed, but enables ships and pleasure boats to use the east channel, which has a power plant on its east shore that a terrorist could bomb.

4. The southernmost part of our island is directly opposite the UN complex, so a ship routed to the east channel could still aim a rocket at the UN.

5. Vehicle traffic on Vernon Boulevard is not rerouted and there are places where someone could also enable rocket missiles aimed at the UN complex.

Maybe I’ve read too many spy novels, but I’m sure I’m not the only one and if I have this kind of imagination…need I say more?

Meanwhile not only are 12,000+ workers and residents of this island inconvenienced but they are also endangered by this publicity show. This is something that should have been escalated to NY State and Federal officials, yet nobody wants to touch it.

By the way…it is not “Bridge Testing” as the RIOC advisory states in the header!
During 2014 UN General Assembly Week, a sailboat crashed

Image From William S

into the Roosevelt Island Bridge.

The FDNY Special Operations Command is located on Roosevelt Island

but does not respond to Roosevelt Island 911 calls.