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Monday, June 17, 2019

Resident Claims Safety Hazards Caused By Changes To Traffic Patterns And New Speed Bumps For Roosevelt Island Motorgate Garage Improvement Project - RIOC Answers All Work Being Done In Compliance With NYC Building Code Regulations

As reported May 20, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) announced that they would soon begin repairs to the Motorgate Garage.

 And RIOC added June 4:
... Phase I of the Motorgate Improvement Project will be starting this week. Please click the following link for details from past releases that discuss the scope of work taking place.

Sections 3D, 4D, 5D, 6D, 7D & 8D in the south building are now closed to parking. Cars found parked in these sections will be towed. Please note that the rooftop will remain open throughout construction.

RIOC staff has scheduled the work to occur in a way that allows the facility to remain open throughout construction. Work will take place Mondays through Fridays only between the hours of 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM. We do not anticipate night or weekend work to be necessary at this time. If that changes, we will let you know.

Please note that the traffic pattern on the fourth floor of the garage has been changed significantly to accommodate this closure. The below graphic demonstrates the new traffic pattern.

For the safety of all patrons and pedestrians, please drive slowly while in the garage. Adhere to all traffic signs posted throughout the garage and watch for new signage. Please follow the directions of the contractor’s flagman, PSD, and Motorgate personnel.

We expect Phase I of this important project to be completed in the fall of 2019. Since this kind of work cannot be performed during the winter months, Phase II will begin in spring 2020. All construction is expected to be completed in late 2020....
Roosevelt Island resident, activist and Motorgate user Frank Farance believes changes to the Motorgate traffic pattern and installation of speed bumps in Motorgate during the renovation creates unsafe conditions. According to this excerpt from June 10 message sent by Mr. Farance to RIOC and posted as a comment to this post:
... imagine how you'll feel when a motorist, during the morning rush, hits a speed bump and pulls down the conduit that impales and kills another motorist, or a child in the passenger seat. And then think about how easily it will be to demonstrate RIOC's culpability, via some expert witness citing (say) some of the sources below. Absolutely dangerous, Motorgate staff have already received complaints, but they say this is RIOC's work.

The speed bumps in Motorgate should be immediately removed because:

(1) Speed bumps are dangerous because there isn't enough clearance.
(2) According to NYC Building Code, RIOC would need to change the height advertised at Motorgate's entrance from 6'10" (82 inches) to 6'2" (74 inches), which would exclude many vehicles, including park-and-ride vans used for car pools.
(3) A vehicle can hit the beam because the speed bumps are installed directly below the beams, which maximizes the hazard
(4) Speed bumps should not be used in a facility with Low Clearance.
(5) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recommends distance of 200-300 feet between speed bumps, these speed bumps are installed approx 50 feet apart, i.e., too close.
(6) Conduit from the cameras was originally installed wrong, i.e., in the middle of the roadway which reduces clearance by 2 inches, which further aggravates the Low Clearance problem.
(7) A vehicle making contact with the conduit can bring down the whole line of conduit (approx 500 in the A aisle), which can impale other vehicles driving in the lane causing injury or death
(8) With section 4D closed off, there is no signage for detours, and vehicles are crossing over from 4C (garage entrance) to 4A with traffic in both directions, including over the speed bumps.
(9) The speed bumps reduce the surface area (36.75 sq-in/wheel, Vehicle Dynamics Institute) where the wheel touches the ground and, thus, increases the load from 3000 lbs/sq-ft/axle to 6,000 to 9,000 lbs/sq-ft and, thus, further deteriorates the surface, e.g., a 6000 pound car does as much damage as an 18,000 pound vehicle.
(10) Vertical acceleration at the speed bump is approx 8 m/sec/sec (gravity is 9.8 m/sec/sec), thus a 3000 lbs/sq-ft/axle is compressed into (say) 9,000 lbs/sq-ft and further amplified by vertical acceleration, a factor of (8+9.8)/9.8, i.e., 16,350 lbs/sq-ft-/axle, or as if the vehicle had weight approx 33,000 pounds.
(11) Speed bumps can grab/drag undercarriage of low suspension vehicles, such as sports cars. If this happens, it will completely block the aisle and jam up Motorgate.
(12) A vehicle can impact the beam, possibly with dangerous or catastrophic consequences to the structure.
(13) There is no signage indicating a speed bump.
(14) Residents will suffer damage to their vehicles as these speed bumps are equivalent to driving over 4-inch curbs....

Another Roosevelt Island resident and Motorgate Garage user Cheshire Kitty added:

I asked RIOC President Susan Rosenthal:
Do you have any comment on Frank Farance's June 10 email regarding potential safety hazard of speed bumps recently installed on the 4th floor of Motorgate garage....

... What was the reason for installing the speed bumps?

Does RIOC intend to reconsider the placement of the 4th floor speed bumps? Or will they remain in place?
RIOC Chief Operating Officer Shelton Haynes replied with the following statement late Friday afternoon June 14:
As RIOC enters the final stages of contract negotiation with the contractor who will be doing the necessary repair work on the Motorgate structure, I wanted to update the community on a few items.

We expect work to begin in about a week or so. Please note that all work will be done in strict adherence of New York City Building Code regulations. At least two fire exits will remain accessible near the work area at all times during construction.

Speed bumps have been installed at various locations in the garage to control speed throughout the parking facility once construction begins. Required clearances between the top of the speed bump and the ceiling structure have been maintained. These temporary speed bumps have been installed for the safety of Motorgate customers, parking garage staff, construction crews and RIOC/PSD personnel during construction. Two-way traffic in these areas is necessary to allow Motorgate to remain open while the necessary repair work takes place. This traffic pattern has been thoroughly reviewed and approved by RIOC, its subcontractors and consultants.

All signage that is contrary to the new traffic flow is already in the process of being blocked. New signage is in the process of being installed. Please note that traffic flow through Motorgate will continue to be monitored throughout construction. All safety measures and signage will be adjusted accordingly as conditions and realities dictate. In the meantime, we encourage all customers to go slow and be careful while they drive through the garage.

We appreciate your ongoing cooperation throughout this project.
Here's the May 9 RIOC Operations Advisory Committee meeting discussion

of the Motorgate Garage Improvements Project.

UPDATE 6:45 PM - Just heard from another Roosevelt Island resident:
My car bottomed out on the speed bumps!!

I reported it on line.
UPDATE 6/18 - And another resident:
Every time I go by now, even at 4 miles an hour, everything in my car shakes!!!

It’s not a smooth bump, it’s too ruff of a bump and too high.