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Friday, May 25, 2018

RIOC President Community Report - Roosevelt Island Weekend Races Reduced, Tram Platform & Helix Ramp Repairs Update, Pothole Fixes & Roosevelt Island Day

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Susan Rosenthal reports to the community:

During the past decade, road running on Roosevelt Island has become increasingly popular due to the Island’s flat, fast race course and the scenic views along the East River seawalls.

But recent RI residents’ complaints about the parking restrictions, noise and traffic caused by the 5K and 10K events has led us to review our race permit policy. And after meeting with a delegation of Southtown and Roosevelt Island Residents Association members this week – including Mickey Rindler, Janet Falk, Dave Evans, Melissa Wade, Erin Feely-Nahem, and Jianfan Zhu – in addition to several internal meetings between myself, RIOC Vice President of Operations Shelton Haynes and RIOC’s Public Safety Department, Permitting; and Parks and Recreation teams; we’ve decided to implement the following changes:

• No more than two road races per month;
• The elimination of 10K events; only 5K events with a maximum of 1,000 people will be permitted;
• Move the race course away from residential buildings and reduce the impact to traffic;
• Uniform starting times of 8:30 a.m., no pre-race microphone or speaker use until 30 minutes prior to start time;
• Impose non-compliance monetary penalties to race directors and organizers.

With some events already under contract, we may not be able to implement these changes for all upcoming 2018 races, but we have been in telephone and written contact with all the race promoters re-emphasizing our existing rules.

We are also asking race organizers to remind participants to use the MTA subway or NYC Ferry to travel to the Island instead of driving or traveling by the Tram due to the ongoing Helix ramp repairs and the Tram platform construction project. And if you must drive, please abide by the event parking signs to steer all cars to the Motorgate.

In considering these changes, we’ve tried to balance our earnest desire to bring more visitors to the Island with the encouragement that they will support our businesses and restaurants, particularly those along Main Street. We know these changes are not going to be perfect, but we are embracing what you are saying and we are going to do something about it. And, if we need to make further modifications, let’s continue the dialogue.

Tram Platform and Helix Update

The Tram Platform construction work is on schedule; we’re planning for completion before Roosevelt Island Day on June 16, when both cabins will be back in operation and, at the RI Station, a new MetroCard vending machines will be installed and the existing kiosk will be re-opened for use.

One lane of the Helix ramp project has been completed and work has begun on the second travel lane. As was before, workers will have to demolish the existing concrete topping slab, and in some cases, replace the underlying rebar, (the mesh of steel wires used to strengthen and hold the concrete in compression).

As we’ve mentioned previously, some sections of the Helix’s existing structural concrete slabs (see illustration)

were in worse disrepair than we’d originally diagnosed and will require a more extensive repair that may extend this project’s completion a few additional weeks.


Rain is good for Roosevelt Island’s trees and grass, not so much for our roads.

During downpours, water seeps through cracks in the old or weakened asphalt (or Z-bricks in some cases) and the sand and gravel “roadbed” that supports the road soaks up that water. Cars, heavy trucks and buses pass over the road and force the water to spread through the sagging roadbed.

Eventually the asphalt sinks into the eroded parts of the roadbed and small cracks, become larger from the continued impact of tires; eventually forming a small pothole that grows into a big one. Compound this with the record amounts of snow and freezing ice dumped on us during the recent winter, along with the negative byproduct of using salt to defrost the surfaces; and you’ll see some areas of our roads have become untenable.

We have a plan, that we started to implement now that drier skies have prevailed in recent days. The RIOC maintenance crew has addressed some of the worst stretches of roadway potholes - near the Octagon tennis courts and along West Loop road by the RI Tram and subway stations - using “cold patch”; a cold asphalt product used to make road repairs quickly. Cold patch can be shoveled or poured into a pothole from the container without heating and tamped down with a hand tool.

But this is only a temporary fix to a larger problem. In 1969, When Roosevelt Island was designed as a mixed-income residential community, urban planners and architects wanted this to be a car-free (and dog free) Island (a novel concept at the time). Cars crossing the Roosevelt Island Bridge were to be required to park at the Motorgate garage.

Thus, when Main Street was created, the roadbuilders laid the Z-brick atop of a gravel and sand roadbed with no concrete binding agent in between, like most traditional roads designed for heavy traffic loads. Years later that decision, plus our residential and commercial growth, has lead us to today’s issues.

We’re working now to procure a full-service roadway company to work with us to make the necessary repairs. I’ll provide you updates as we get closer to the RFP’s issuance, contract award and project schedules.

I’d like to thank Steve Noone, our assistant Vice President of Capital Planning and Projects; and Alonza Robertson, our RIOC public information officer; for teaching me more about road repair than I ever thought I would know.

Roosevelt Island Day

Roosevelt Island Day is Saturday, June 16. We’re looking forward to partnering with many different Island groups – including the Roosevelt Island Senior Association, the Roosevelt Island Residents Association, the RI Garden Club, RI Girl Scouts, Island Kids and others - toward staging a day-long community festival that celebrates the Island’s beauty and diversity and encourages volunteerism in furtherance of that goal.

Besides, the interactive games, children’s activities and food, I’m happy to announce that the evening’s concert performer will be The Funktion, an eight-piece Motown tribute band. Get ready for a great party!

RIOC Responds To Roosevelt Island Residents Complaints About Weekend 5 & 10 K Races - Will Reduce Number To No More Than 2 Monthly, Eliminate 10 K, Limit Runners & More

Sometimes, Roosevelt Island residents can help change policies of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) by speaking up. In this instance, welcome changes are coming to the frequent Weekend 5 and 10 K races that use Roosevelt Island

and disrupt the lives of residents, particularly those who live in the Southtown Riverwalk area. The changes include reducing the number of races to no more than 2 a month and eliminating 10 K races.

Here's what happened. Earlier this month, Roosevelt Island Southtown resident Jianfan Zhu wrote to RIOC Public Safety Director Jack McManus:

This is the second time I write to you regarding the very disturbing traffic arrangements during weekend race in the Island. Last time, in June 2016, I parked at the street where there was no "no-parking" sign, and the next day I received a ticket. In the end I had to appeal to the judge, who ordered the ticket unlawful.

But what happened today was even worse.

Last night (Friday May 4th), I decided to park my car in the street as I had an important medical appointment for my baby this Saturday morning. I saw “no-parking” signs and cones put in many street parking spots. With the experiences last time, I have been extremely careful about the signs, and last night I chose to park at East Loop Road (south to N Loop Road) where there was no any signs (see attached Pic #1). This Saturday morning at 7:00am, I went there to feed meter, and everything remained normal – no sign, no road block.

At 10:30 when I needed to use the car, to my very surprise, the entrance to East Loop Road and the exit from South Loop Road were both block! When I arrived at the South Loop Road exit, there were already 3 cars waiting, me being the 4th one, and another one was following me – 5 cars were blocked at the exit.

It was around 10:45am when I arrived, but I am sure the road was block much earlier when the race started.

The officer told me that there was nothing I can do, but just wait in the car until the race was over. Even worse, he did not know when the race would be over, but kept referring me to the no-parking signs where it said until 1pm! I could not move forward nor backward, I could not even park the car and go home to check out my baby. All I can do is to stay with the car, and I was not able to even tell my wife when this would be done.

Obviously, my baby missed the appointment. Thank god this was not a life-threatening issue.

Mr. McManus, Roosevelt Island is not Manhattan. It’s a tiny island, and if you block a road, there are no alternatives options. So, if you make a decision to make special traffic arrangements, put your feet in the residents’ shoes, make sure there’s a decent way-out, and their daily lives will not be disturbed....
Mr. Zhu then wrote to RIOC President Susan Rosenthal:
While I look forward to hearing from Public Safety regarding this unfortunate incident in particular, I would like to kindly let you know that the many, many races in Roosevelt Island, weekend after weekend, are indeed very disruptive to the residents - feel free to ask other residents especially in Riverwalk community and you will hear the same. I have lived in Manhattan and Queens before but I never found another neighborhood that has so many races which take up parking spots, block roads, and make noises in early morning.

If you cannot reduce the number, pls at least make them less painful for the residents.
Also, resident Raye Schwartz wrote to RIOC after receiving an Advisory about a Roosevelt Island race on Mother's Day:
I’m really shocked and dismayed that our community has become so thoughtless and insensitive as to allow this. It’s Mother’s Day, and happens only once a year. Although our island population has slowly but surely been taken over by people who obviously do not realize that this is very much a family oriented community, or should I say WAS A FAMILY ORIENTED COMMUNITY, often with family members not living nearby, this community seems to have forgotten that...

... Races are held year round: It really isn’t necessary to have this kind of event on Mother’s Day, when so many families look forward to being together. Thus, to have such an event which limits street parking, is absurd. Further, the red bus and Q102 are also already limited because of weekend schedules as well as the construction of the helix. Additionally, starting this coming week, it will only be worse because of the continued tram plaza construction.
... most of the participants in these frequent races are not residents. Second, many families like to celebrate Mother’s day with either lunch or brunch, especially when there are very young children, and these parking restrictions are in effect until 1PM which is around the end of the lunch hour. And these races, while some include our community members, are not typically family oriented, as for example a Little League softball or Youth Soccer game....
Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Southtown Common Council Member Mickey Rindler followed up writing to Ms Rosenthal:
I am writing to you as the co-chair of the RIRA Island Services Committee. The use of loudspeakers on Firefighters field early this past Sunday morning is one of many past violations regarding noise before races. There are also issues with traffic and residents’ access to street parking both in Southtown and on the newly opened loop road around Cornell on mornings when there are races.

In particular, Janet Falk has made a point in her email today that the Girls on the Run race has many hundreds of participants. Last year, I counted 55 taxis, private vehicles and Ubers dropping runners off for this event in a 15 minute period and this was just a fraction of the vehicles as people were arriving for more than 1 hour. Traffic was completely backed up on Main Street.

I would like to meet with you as soon as possible to learn RIOC's plans to deal with the hundreds of vehicles that will once again descend on our Island on June 3 between 8 and 9:30 am.

In light of the Helix construction, one tram service operation and potential suspension of F train service, there is a strong possibility of an unmanageable situation. It is likely that the traffic jam on the bridge will extend to and potentially block Vernon Boulevard. In the event there is any emergency, this could turn into a disastrous situation. We demand that private and commercial vehicles transporting nonresidents (excluding buses) to the Island that morning be forced to turn around at the top of the helix and drop their passengers there.

I look forward to hearing from you about this meeting request.
After receiving these reports from residents, RIOC scheduled a meeting with Mr. Zhu, Mr. Rindler and additional RIRA ISC members.

According to Mr. Rindler, during the meeting RIOC President Rosenthal:
... promised only a few things but she did agree to work on a number of changes including moving the venue away from residential areas and possibly maintaining road traffic during the race.

In the meantime, she agreed to limit commencing amplified sound until 8 am at least verbally, although some permit holders may have already signed contracts. Officers will have a copy of the permit in the future to avoid misunderstandings and PSD will enforce it. Consequences for violators will be put in the contract, including possible fines, and RIOC will inform NYC Runs that they violated the contract on May 13 when they started PA system too early.

She wouldn’t commit to ending races on Mother’s and Father’s Days, although they will consider.

They are discussing a cap on the number of runners but too high (1000) we told her. They are likely to limit races to 2 races/month and to put an end to 10K races because they take too much time and block access of residents to parking and roads for much longer. They will work with the sponsor to limit traffic and tram issues on June 3 which is a huge race with 1500 runners.

The timeline is unclear as she said they had just in the last week discussed the venue move. After the meeting, Ms. Rosenthal apologized in an email for PSD's failure to act appropriately and stop the broadcasting after Janet's noise complaint on May 13.

Overall, the meeting was reasonably productive and the Southtown delegation of RIRA representatives will be following up to make sure RIOC carries through with its pledge to find ways to reduce the inconvenience to residents caused by the races.
Prior to meeting with residents on this subject, RIOC Public Information Officer Alonza Robertson reported:
... “We have conducted several internal meetings this week because of the handful of residents who’ve contacted us about their concerns about pre-race noise, parking restrictions and traffic tie-ups following the events,” said Susan Rosenthal, CEO and president of RIOC.

“We decide upon policies and procedures based upon our evaluation of all factors and listening to residents’ comments. And, we have no problem modifying those policies and procedures when appropriate,” she said.

Rosenthal and RIOC Public Safety Director Jack McManus will meet with several residents next week to discuss how they are coordinating the events and share details about potential changes being considered.

In 2018, Roosevelt Island has hosted five different road races, and has confirmed at least six more through the end of the year. The events, usually held on Saturday mornings, attract participant groups ranging from 300 runners to more than 1,500.

Because of the events, usually staged at Firefighters Field and run around the perimeter of the Island; there are temporary morning parking restrictions near the Tram, Blackwell turnaround and Loop Road which encircles Sportspark and Cornell Tech.

RIOC is attempting to find a reasonable solution that will address some residents’ concerns about the noise, parking and traffic tie-ups on Main Street, which is experiencing heavier bus and vehicular traffic than normal due to the Helix road repairs, and the Tram service reduction due to station platform repairs.
 Image From NYC Runs

No more than 1 race a month would be better but 2 is a start.

Will have more on this subject,including statement from RIOC later today.

UPDATE 10:30 PM - Statement from RIOC President Susan Rosenthal on subject.

Roosevelt Island Resident, Musician And Advertising Legend Roy Eaton Plays I Remember Mama Saturday May 26 At Good Shepherd Community Center - You're Invited To This Free Concert

Roosevelt Island resident, advertising industry legend and musician Roy Eaton plays I Remember Mama Saturday May 26 at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street) presented by R&R Concerts.

You're invited to this free concert. According to R&R Concerts:
Roy Eaton plays I Remember Mama

The New York Times: "The cumulative effect was deeply satisfying. One came much closer to the heart of Chopin—and by extension, to music itself," in praise of a solo concert by Roy Eaton at Alice Tully Hall.

Don't miss Roy Eaton in concert this coming Saturday, May 26:


No admission fee.


Learn more about Roy Eaton's advertising career

and take a listen to his music.

Enjoy the concert.

Roosevelt Island Transportation This Weekend - F Train Service To And From Manhattan, Only 1 Tram Cabin Working, No Metro Card Machines At RI Tram Station & NYC Ferry Service New Summer Schedule

According to the MTA, there will be Roosevelt Island F Train service

to and from Manhattan this weekend.


SIGNAL IMPROVEMENTS | 9:30 PM Fri, May 25 to 5 AM Tue, May 29 F Service is rerouted in Manhattan and Brooklyn

... No F service at 57 St, 47-50 Sts, 42 St-Bryant Pk, 23 St, 14 St, W 4 St, B'way-Lafayette St, 2 Av, Delancey St/Essex St, East Broadway, and York St.

F service operates between Jamaica-179 St and Lexington Av-63 St, and via the express to/from Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr (skipping DeKalb Av, days and evenings), and via the to/from Stillwell Av.

Remember there will be only 1 Roosevelt Island Tram Cabin operating this weekend. As previously reported:
... Construction work on the Tram Station platforms, at both Roosevelt Island and Midtown Manhattan, will resume this Wednesday, May 16; and continue for up to 30 days reducing commuter service to one cabin. The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) will operate a free, weekday roundtrip Red Bus service from 3 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. to help alleviate evening rush-hour waiting and congestion...
Plan for long lines at the Tram Station.

And no Metro Card Vending Machines working at Roosevelt Island Tram station. Fill up your Metro Card at RI Subway or Tram Manhattan station.

There is Roosevelt Island ferry service on the Astoria Route. Here's the new summer schedule for Roosevelt Island ferry service.

Sponsored Post - Check Out Roosevelt Island Gristedes May 25 To May 31 Product Offerings, Sales & Specials - Fresh Sushi & Poke Bowls Too

The Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket

invites you to check out their May 24 - May 31:
  • Groceries, 
  • Organic & Gourmet, Gluten/Soy/GMO Free
  • Snacks
  • Meat, 
  • Fresh Produce, 
  • Seafood, 
  • Frozen, 
  • Deli &;&
  • Fresh Bakery

Don't forget the 10% Roosevelt Island Seniors Discount on Tuesday and Wednesday and Sign Up for the Gristedes Diamond Loyalty Rewards Program.

And Fresh Sushi and Poke Bowls available 

at the Roosevelt Island Gristedes Cafe.

More Gristedes Supermarket information available at their web site, Facebook Page and Twitter feed.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

No Roosevelt Island Tram Station MTA Metro Card Vending Machine Thru June 16 During Tram Station Repairs - Fill Up Your Metro Card At Manhattan Tram Station Or RI Subway Station

MTA Metro Card vending machines will be out of service at the Roosevelt Island side Tram Station until June 16 but there is one machine working

at the Manhattan Tram Station.

 Have you noticed lines forming behind the Manhattan Tram Metro Card Machine blocking those with Metro Cards from going thru the turnstile to the platform area.

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Information Officer Alonza Robertson explains the reason for no Roosevelt Island Tram station Metro Card Vending machine: According to Mr. Robertson:
Due to on-going construction work on Tram platforms, at both Roosevelt Island and Midtown Manhattan, the MetroCard vending machines will be out of service at the Roosevelt Island Station until June 16.

Commuters are advised to buy a roundtrip ticket at the Midtown Manhattan Station or at the MTA Roosevelt Island MTA subway station.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) will operate a free, weekday roundtrip Red Bus service – from Midtown Manhattan to Roosevelt Island - from 3 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. to help alleviate evening rush-hour waiting and congestion due to reduced tram cabin availability during this construction period.

This new construction completes work that began last July when RIOC contracted with Specialty Construction System, Inc. to address corrosion and water damage to both stations’ platforms at a cost of $2.15 million. The project included the installation and repair of station roofing, removal and repair of the structural slabs and metal column and building a new ADA-compliant access ramp on the north ramp of the Roosevelt Island Tram Station.

New concrete slabs, which are the top surfaces of the platforms at both stations, will be waterproofed and receive new traffic coating during the next month. The project went on hiatus in December 2017 until New York City area’s daily temperatures were forecast to be above those required for the installation.

“Although uncracked concrete will typically keep out liquid water, water vapor can still penetrate quite easily,” said Stephen Noone, RIOC’s assistant vice president of Capital Planning and Projects. “Keeping water drained away from the concrete foundations and preventing it from moving through the platforms is essential to having a successful structure,” he said.

Once that work is complete, the city’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) will re-install turnstiles, ticket machine kiosks and re-program electronic emergency exit doors.

Much of the platform project construction is being done around the North Tram’s boarding and de-boarding ramps on both platforms, and thus “we will be limited to only the South Tram servicing the public and because of this, waiting times will unfortunately increase,” said Armando Cordova, operations and maintenance manager for Leitner-Pomo of America, the engineering sub-contractor that operates the Tram for RIOC.

RIOC’s Director of Transportation Cyril Opperman said the Red Bus shuttle service will begin at 3 p.m., each weekday during the construction period, operating roundtrip from Midtown Manhattan to Roosevelt Island every half hour leaving from the southwest side of Second Avenue between 58th and 59th streets.

“The service is not being offered during the morning commute because the average weekday traffic congestion to Midtown Manhattan is so great, the roundtrip shuttle is not time efficient,” Opperman said.

The MTA’s F-Train, NYC Ferry and the Q-102 bus will be in operation to Roosevelt Island during the 30-day platform construction period that began May 16.

Also this week, a new construction project to upgrade the Manhattan Tram Station elevator began and the two building phases will be finished by next Spring, RIOC officials said.

The elevator project, at 59th Street and Second Avenue, is part of a series on-going transportation upgrades to the Roosevelt Island Tram. The design calls for an iconic, two-bank, ADA-compliant glass elevator which replaces the existing elevator that has outlasted its expected mechanical life.

During a two-year period, RIOC solicited public input, met with New York City Department of Parks and Recreation officials and community members to shape and finalize the project design which will require custom manufacturing.

The construction contract was awarded in December 2017 to Sea Crest Construction Corporation, a subsidiary of Scalamandre Construction, Inc., both based in Long Island, New York. Both companies have decades of public works project experience building transit plazas, industrial plants, roads, bridges and airport terminals across the New York metropolitan area.

The project will be completed in two phases; the first of the two glass elevator banks will be built and the existing old elevator will be dismantled. Then the second glass elevator bank will be constructed so that there will always be a working elevator.

“We have begun doing some isolated exploration and boring work on the site this week,” said RIOC Public Information Officer Alonza Robertson. “We will continue that and then set up the site construction fencing by the end of the month.”

The fencing will not encroach or restrict access to the surrounding sidewalks or station entryway. During the steel erection work, an overhead sidewalk shed will be installed. The park area around the Tram station will be closed and several planter beds will be temporarily relocated.

Architectural renderings of the Manhattan Tram Station elevator project design are available upon request.