Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bronx Zoo Tram Mishap Is Reminder For Roosevelt Island/ RIOC Seeking Proposals For Tram Modernization

As reported in today's NY Times:
About three dozen cable car passengers on a sightseeing ride were stranded for nearly five hours on Wednesday night at the Bronx Zoo after an emergency mechanism caused the ride to shut down, leaving riders dangling over the African Plains exhibit and other parts of the zoo.
I am sure that this incident reminded Roosevelt Islanders of similar situations that have occurred on the Roosevelt Island Tram over the years and is also a reminder that planning is well under way for the Tram being taken out of service next year for replacement and modernization so that these types of accidents do not happen again here or are at least minimized.

With that in mind RIOC has issued a construction and maintenance solicitation for the Roosevelt Island Aerial Tramway Modernization Project:
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) is seeking Proposals from qualified and responsible companies to provide all design, fabrication, furnishing, construction, erection, installation and testing necessary and required for Modernization of the Roosevelt Island Tramway (the "Project") pursuant to a Design/Build Agreement and to operate the completed Project for a term of five (5) years pursuant to an Operating Agreement. A Proposal must include proposed terms for performance of both the Design/Build
Agreement Work and the Operating Agreement Work (collectively, the "Work").
RIOC will be holding a:
Pre-Bidders Meeting will be held on July 15, 2008 @ 10:00am EST at Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. 591 Main Street Roosevelt Island, NY 10044
Anybody out there want to build a new Tram?

At last month's Community Planning Board 8 joint Transportation/Roosevelt Island committee meeting we did learn that the capacity for each of the new, modernized Tram cable cars will be reduced by approximately 10% from current practice. However, as it was explained, since the cable cars will now be able to operate independent of each other, it will be possible to run both cars simultaneously in the same direction to handle any larger than normal passenger contingency.

For more info on other Tramway systems, here is an interesting 2006 study done for the City of Ogden Utah comparing various urban aerial tramway systems including ours on Roosevelt Island and the 2007 Portland Oregon Aerial Tram annual report.

UPDATE: 4:30 PM - From Re-Connecting America, Center for Transit Oriented Development, here is a comprehensive study on aerial tramways, gondolas and ropeways.

Also, Roosevelt Island 360 has more on the Bronx Zoo Tram mishap.

UPDATE - 1/26/09 - The Daily News is reporting that the Bronx Zoo is shutting down it's aerial tram.
The Bronx Zoo's Skyfari air tram, which stranded dozens of people for hours last year, has been permanently grounded, zoo officials said Friday.

But they insisted the decision to send it to the scrap heap was purely financial, saying the seasonal ride was getting too expensive to maintain.

They said once the zoo gets through the current economic downturn and government budget cuts, they are looking to build a new year-round, amusement park-like attraction for zoo patrons - on the ground....