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Friday, February 29, 2008

Proposed Food Mart with Rooftop Access to Queensboro Bridge - Solution to Roosevelt Island Transportation Crisis?

Image of Queensboro Bridge Trolley Cars from Abandoned Stations - columbia.edu, David Pirmann Collection

Another, weekend another MTA subway advisory that there will be no Manhattan bound F Train service from Roosevelt Island this weekend. RIOC President Steve Shane writes of a recent meeting with MTA officials in his 2/23/08 Main Street WIRE column (PDF File):
I discussed the F train scheduling, both as to morning rush hour crowding and weekend outages, especially in light of the pending Tram outage in 2009. I was promised a schedule of weekend interruptions to meet the work plan and the projected completion. I asked for and was promised a work schedule for the escalators and elevators, so at least we’d have some idea of the program and timeline.
However, there is unbelievably good news regarding the long hoped for, but unattainable, goal of access to the 59th Street (Queensboro) bridge from Roosevelt Island. The New York Times is reporting on a proposed 10 story Roosevelt Island building that:
will be placed adjacent to the Queenboro bridge ... it's roof being on a level with the floor of the bridge.
The top of the building will be made into a concourse and a connection effected between the bridge and building by means of a runway. The building will be provided with a number of elevators both freight and passenger.
... It is proposed also to install a bakery to provide bread and rolls ... There will be a central butcher shop...
What's wrong with this story? Well, you know there must be a catch and there is. The story is real but it was published June 25 1916 .

Of course there was opposition to this plan just as there is now to ideas for a similar plan. The NY Times reported in 1912 that the highway lobby opposed the plan because it would lead to congestion on the Queensboro Bridge and the civil service ferry pilots worried about their lost jobs.

Maybe something similar to this 1916 proposal can be done to the current Steam Plant adjacent to the Queensboro Bridge? The steam plant (PDF File) was part of the RFIP put out several years ago by RIOC and Jones Lang LaSalle.

What do you know? 92 years ago, the ghosts and forbearers of Roosevelt Islanders were having the same trouble getting on and off Roosevelt Island as we do in the year 2008. I thought that like Thomas Wolfe' s short story of the same name, "Only the Dead Know Brooklyn". I guess the same applies to Roosevelt Island.

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