Friday, January 21, 2011

Don't Leave Your Roosevelt Island Zipcar Running On Empty Without Enough Gas For The Next Guy

Received the following message earlier this week from a Roosevelt Island Zipcar user unhappy with fellow Zipcar users failing to follow proper Zipcar gas etiquette:
 We picked up a car on Saturday from Motorgate that had less than a 1/4 tank of gas, and we picked up a car today from the Octagon that had the fuel light blinking because it was on empty.

People should remember that, not only is it required by the Zipcar rules that you return the car with at least a 1/4 tank of gas, but it's not polite to leave people in a spot where they have the car for an hour to get dropped off at work and the fuel light is blinking. Also - If you find yourself in the position where you do have a short reservation and no gas, when you call to report the person who used the car before you leaving the car without fuel, Zipcar will give you an extra 1/2 hour of driving credit to fill the tank up.
Here's a video from Zipcar that shows you how easy it is to fill up the gas tank so you don't leave your Roosevelt Island neighbor running on empty.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Roosevelt Island Board Of Directors Meeting Today At The Manhattan Park Community Center - Make Sure You Sign Up If You Wish To Speak During The Public Comment Period

 Image Of December 2010 RIOC Board Of Directors Meeting

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. (RIOC) will be holding it's January 2011 Board of Directors meeting later today, January 19 starting at 5:30 PM. The meeting is being held at the Manhattan Park Community Center instead of the Good Shepherd Community Center.

Prior to the start of the Board meeting there is a period of time for members of the community to comment and ask questions of the Board Members. According to RIOC:
A 30-45 minute public comment period wherein those who sought to address the Board would have pre-registered, with time for any speaker limited to two (2) minutes. Pre-registration would be accomplished by addressing RIOC at its web site or in person at RIOC's office prior to the day of the meeting. Public comment should be for the purpose of receiving comment, not to engage in debate or colloquy with board members. The Chair would control the time and limit for each speaker.

By scheduling the public comment period as above, the town hall style session following alternate Board meetings should be obviated. The RIRA meetings now held the evenings before each Board could function as the equivalent of a town hall meeting, with Board members attending as they wish, but with the expectation that a senior RIOC staff person would also attend to answer questions on Agenda items.
Note that RIOC requires a member of the public to sign up at least a day before the meeting in order to be recognized to speak during the public comment period.  If you have not signed up to speak at the January RIOC Board Meeting yet, and wish to speak, contact the RIOC offices and perhaps they will allow you to do so. During last December's RIOC Board meeting, a person who had not signed up prior to the meeting had her microphone turned off when she tried to speak to the Board during the Public Comment Period. Don't let that happen to you. If you wish to speak, sign up before the meeting.

Below is the Agenda for RIOC's December 2010 Board Of Directors Meeting.

JANUARY 19, 2011
5:30 P.M.1

I. Call to Order

II. Roll Call

III. Approval of Minutes
1. December 15, 2010 Board Meeting (Board Action Required)

IV. Old Business

V. New Business

A. President's Report

1. Authorization to Amend the Contract with Works in Progress Associates for Owner's Representation Services in Connection with the FDR Four Freedoms Park Project (Board Action Required - Materials to Follow )

2. Authorization to Enter into Contract with Malvese Equipment for the Purchase of Skid Steers (Board Action Required)

3. Authorization to Enter into Contract with First Niagara Benefits Consulting for Actuarial Services in Connection with the Financial Reporting of GASB 43 & 45 (Board Action Required)

4. Authorization to Enter into Contract with Sprague Energy Corporation to Purchase Biodiesel Fuel (Board Action Required)

5. Authorization to Enter into Contract with Metro Terminal Corporation to Purchase Gasoline (Board Action Required)

6. Authorization to Amend Contract with Elite Imaging LLC for Document Scanning Services (Board Action Required)

7. Authorization of Modification of the Schedule of the 2011 Regular Meetings of the RIOC Board of Directors (Board Action Required)

8. Presentation of the FY 2010-2011 QTR 3 Procurement Report

9. Committee Reports
a. Audit Committee
b. Governance Committee
c. Operations Advisory Committee
d. Real Estate Development Advisory Committee

10. Public Safety Report

VI. Adjournment

1 The RIOC Board Meeting will commence following a public comment period, which is not a part of the RIOC Board Meeting.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Roosevelt Island Tram Station Red Bus Stops, Route & Schedule Put In Place Today

Image Of New Roosevelt Island Tram Station Red Bus Stop

The new Roosevelt Island Tram Station Red Bus Stop, Bus Route and schedule were put in place today.

 Image From RIOC - Click On Image To Enlarge

Looks like the POMA folks did not get the message about not parking at the new Tram Station Bus Stop though.

Image Of Woman Walking To Tram Station After Exiting Red Bus  This Afternoon

More information on the new Roosevelt Island transportation changes available at this earlier post.

Roosevelt Island Tram Temporarily Out Of Service Due To Inclement Weather

According to this RIOC advisory dated 9:49 AM today:

Be advised that due to the inclement weather, the Tram is temporarily out of service.  Notifications will be made when the Tram is back in service.


Roosevelt Island Operating Corp Advisories Group
Will have more information as it becomes available.

UPDATE 12:55 PM - Tram is back in operation. No explanation yet as to cause of the service disruption.

UPDATE 6:45 PM - From RIOC:
Tram service was temporarily suspended today due to severe weather. During rush hour, ice accumulation on the track ropes was discovered by our Tram operators. Once this was confirmed by the Tram crew, service was suspended at approximately 8:55 AM. After the temperature increased, several thorough test runs assured the crew that the ice had melted and the system was again ready for operation. Service resumed at approximately 12:45 PM. The Tram continues to be closely monitored for any changes that may effect its performance. Ensuring passenger safety remains the foremost priority for RIOC and all Tram personnel.

Man With Handgun Arrested By Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department, Graffiti Arrest And 2010 Public Safety Statistics

Image From Misconceptions Of Silver Handgun  For Illustrative Purposes Only

On Sunday afternoon, I received a tip from a Roosevelt Island resident about police activity and an arrest on the West Channel Drive between Starbucks and 475 Main Street. I asked Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Chief Keith Guerra what happened. Mr. Guerra replied with the following:
On Sunday, January 16, 2011, at 3:18 PM, a large group of males (approximately 8) was observed in front of 579 Main Street fighting. PSD Members responded to the location and the group dispersed in different directions.  Two individuals present at the scene (Island Residents) were apprehended and escorted to the Public Safety Department.  The alleged subjects immediately notified Lt. Yee that another male involved in the altercation had pointed a handgun at them and told them to get back or they would be shot.

Lt. Yee then notified the other PSD Officers on Patrol and provided a description of said male.  The Officers proceeded to pursue the other subjects, who were observed heading south on Main Street.  The subject fitting the description of the male with the gun was apprehended on the West Drive by Sgt. Hernandez, Officer Gilmore and Officer Cruz.   During the  apprehension, a silver handgun fell from the subject's person. The handgun was secured by Lt. Yee.  This subject was charged with two counts of Menacing, Criminal Possession of a Weapon and Disorderly Conduct. Three other subjects were also apprehended and charged with Disorderly Conduct.  All four subjects arrested were Non-Island Residents.  The two Island residents who provided the information were released without incident.

These types of Incidents are never easy to deal with.  The Officers were diligent in their response to the initial scene, and then in apprehending the four subjects, one who possessed a handgun.  The bravery shown by our Public Safety Officers (who are unarmed) to pursue a male known to be in possession of a firearm is incredible.  I salute them for a job well done.
Director Guerra also reports on a separate incident of a graffiti arrest this past weekend:
On Saturday, January 15, 2011, at 8:39 PM, Sgt. Hernandez (PSD) while on patrol, observed three male youths (one island resident) in front of the Roosevelt Island Post Office walking southbound.  Sgt. Hernandez then observed one of the males throw some unknown objects on ground. With the assistance of P.O. Fernandez (NYPD), the male subjects were stopped initially for littering.  A bottle of blue paint and a thick red marker where recovered at the scene. Further investigation by Det. Vernet (PSD) and Det. Rivera (PSD) yielded seven spray can tips and another thick marker.

One subject while being questioned with his parent present, stated that he and the other two males were responsible for twenty-five percent of the graffiti at the motorgate.  All three males admitted to being in the motorgate for the purpose of grafitti prior to being stopped.  A search of the motorgate was conducted and fresh graffiti was found in stairwell BB. The subjects were processed and charged with Criminal Mischief: Graffiti, and Possession of Graffiti Instruments.
[They had also been arrested by the NYPD Vandal Unit on charges unrelated to Roosevelt Island.]

Patrols had been increased in the area of the Motorgate after several complaints of Graffiti had been reported.  An exemplary  job was performed by the three PSD Officers and the NYPD Officer assigned to Roosevelt Island.
Below are the 2010 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Calls For Services/Responses statistics. The statistics show  a total of 1864 total Calls. The largest number of calls was for the category of Aided (EMS/Transport Cases) with 639 followed by Investigations (non-crim) with 298 calls and 193 for found property.

According to the statistics, there were also 19 assaults, 16 robberies, 12 burglaries, 7 grand larcenies, 2 grand larceny auto and no murders or rapes. There were 3455 "A" parking violations and 412 "B" traffic violations.
2010 Public Safety Statistics

Monday, January 17, 2011

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day With Service To Your Roosevelt Island And NYC Community - Roosevelt Island Seniors Holding MLK Celebration This Afternoon At 2 PM

Today is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Rather than celebrate Dr. King by only taking a relaxing day off from work or school, why not use at least a portion of the day to consider finding a way to help somebody out either today or sometime in the near future?

You Tube Video of Martin Luther King Jr. A Life of Service

A great way to commemorate Dr. King's Birthday and his life work is to participate in the MLK Day Of Service.
What is the MLK Day of Service?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'"

Each year, Americans across the country answer that question by coming together on the King Holiday to serve their neighbors and communities.

The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President's national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems.
One way for Roosevelt Island residents to help out here at home is to volunteer with DASH - Disabled Association Support of the Homebound - founded by Roosevelt Island Doctor Jack Resnick. According to DASH:
We have various volunteering opportunities from visiting homebound patients and delivering food to fund raising events.
All For Good lists other volunteer ideas in the NYC area but none are listed for Roosevelt Island specifically.

RIOC reports that the Senior Center will be holding a Martin Luther King Day commemoration later today.
The Senior Center is commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 17th at 2:00 pm with guest speakers and refreshments. RISA has informed us that they would welcome any donations of home-baked goods that are brought to the celebration.

Here's a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from an earlier post.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Roosevelt Island Red Bus Route and Tram Bus Stops Coming January 18 - Preliminary 15 Minute Bus Schedule Route From Octagon To Tram Station Being Tested

 Image Of New RIOC Bus Stop By Tram Station Where Cars & Trailers Currently Parked

As previously reported, according to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) :
 effective January 18th, RIOC will implement two Red Bus stops near the Tram station: one on the East side of the Tram, opposite Firefighter’s Field, the other across the street from the Roosevelt Island Historical Society kiosk. The bus stops will also be serviced by the Q102 and will have bus shelters.
 New Red Bus Stop By Visitors Center Kiosk

The Red Bus will also operate under this new route pictured below.

 Image From RIOC - Click On Image To Enlarge

During a January 13 meeting, RIOC Vice President of Operations Fernando Martinez

 Mr. Martinez Presenting Tram & Bus Schedule At Meeting With RIRA Members

presented the new Red Bus Route, Stops and preliminary schedule as well as the Tram Schedule to Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Matt Katz, Planning Committee Chair Frank Farance and Island Services Committee Chair Aaron Hamburger (UPDATE 8 PM - RIOC Director Jonathan Kalkin also attended via phone). Mr. Hamburger reports on the meeting:
Here's a summary of our meeting on 1/13/11 about the new bus stops at the Tram, the Tram schedule, and the Red Bus schedule.

º Red bus stops at the Tram, one on the east side of the Tram entrance and one at the Kiosk, will be implemented on 1/18/11. Route of the Red Bus leaving the east Tram stop will be east and south, going around Sportspark to  reach the Kiosk stop before preceding to the subway stop. The existing bus stop near 405 Main St. will be eliminated.

º A 15 minute Tram schedule has been implemented. During rush hours, when both Tram cars are in operation, there will be a Tram leaving RI & Manhattan every 7 - 8 minutes. 

º Around 1/25/11, RIOC will implement  a Red Bus schedule for non-rush hour periods that is based on a bus starting its run every 15 minutes. During rush hours, with 4-5 buses operating, there will be a bus departing about every 5 - 8 minutes.
(Note: The 15 minute Red Bus schedule is a change from what was discussed at the 12/22/10 meeting when it was agreed to base the Red Bus on a 20 minute schedule.). The new Red Bus schedule will be tried on an experimental basis for at least a month or two. If problems develop, suitable adjustments to the schedule will be made.

º For both the Tram and especially the Red Bus, our goal remains -- to have reliable and predictable schedules for both operations.
Here is the Roosevelt Island Tram operating schedule.

 Image From RIOC - Click On Image To Enlarge

and new Red Bus schedule.

Mr. Martinez emphasized that the Red Bus Schedule is preliminary and will be tested for a few weeks beginning on Tuesday, January 18 (not 1/25 as indicated in Mr. Hamburger's summary of the meeting). From these tests, RIOC will be able to determine whether any changes or adjustments are required.

As an example of the new preliminary 15 minute Red Bus schedule, the Octagon Red Bus local leaves the Octagon at 11 AM,  makes it's regular Main Street stops and arrives at the Tram Station bus stop at 11:10 AM to drop off and pick up passengers. It then follows it's new route around the Sportspark in one or two minutes to the Visitors Kiosk, picks ups or drops off any additional riders, waits until 11:15 and then heads back north to the Octagon where it should arrive at 11:27. The process then repeats with the Octagon Local heading back south at 11:30 AM.

This preliminary 15 minute Red Bus Schedule is planned for both rush hour and non- rush hour service for both the Octagon and Firehouse Local service. During the morning rush hour, there will be 4 Red Buses plus the Octagon Express in service, during non-rush hours there will be 2 Red Buses in service, during the evening rush hours there will be 4 Red Buses in service (no Octagon Express) and one Red Bus during late night service ( I am not sure what time late night service begins - 11 PM? but will check). The Octagon Red Bus Express service is scheduled to begin at 7 AM, run every 20 minutes until 10 AM and take 6 minutes to travel from the Octagon to the Tram Station Bus Stop.

During the January 12 meeting, RIRA Planning Committee Chair Frank Farance disagreed with the planned 15 minute bus schedule and would prefer that the 20 minute bus schedule previously agreed to between RIOC and RIRA be tried. Mr. Farance writes:
RIOC and RIRA met on December 22 to work out a plan for the new red bus schedule and route. The meeting included Fernando Martinez (RIOC), Matt Katz (RIRA President), Aaron Hamburger (RIRA Island Services Committee Chair), and myself (RIRA Planning Committee Chair). Today, January 13, just days before it is being implemented, we RIRA representatives just learned that the plan has changed substantially, and it is not what RIRA agreed to. Our original plan had a fixed schedule of buses leaving the Octagon and the Tram at 20-minute intervals of :00, :20, and :40 past the hour. The reasoning for the 20-minute schedule was to give enough time so the schedule would be predictable and reliable. We agreed that the tram stop would be right outside the tram, not across the street and not at the kiosk. We agree that the bus schedule was of primary importance and the tram scheduling and synchronization would be solved later. We agreed that we would only address the non-rush hour schedule.

All of them have changed. The RIOC bus schedule is now based upon a 15-minute schedule, which has never worked reliably since the introduction of the Octagon stop because the route is longer than 30 minutes many times. When the buses take too long, they get behind and bus bunching occurs and the schedule becomes unreliable. The tram stop (for departing passengers) is now at the kiosk with the possibility of buses lining up and clogging the west service road. In Martinez' presentation today, he started with the tram schedule as the priority (wrong way to solve the problem) and he is changing the rush hour schedule too, not just the non-rush schedule. And the tram schedule will change, too.

I certainly wish RIOC and Mr. Martinez well, however this plan is likely to fail and it was not what RIRA agreed to and RIRA had no chance to review this before implementation. It is very unfortunate that these changes were communicated so late to RIRA and the community.
Mr. Martinez replies to the comments of Mr. Farance:
I disagree with your summary of tonight's meeting. I have been told on numerous occasions, including at the last ops meeting, that the RI community wants predictable and reliability for both the Tram and Red bus. Both are equally important. The 15 minute schedule is a plan, which my managers feel is doable. I mentioned several times tonight that schedule is a plan and that it might be subject to adjustments, if necessary.
During the meeting both Mr. Katz and Mr. Hamburger agreed with Mr. Farance that the 15 minute bus schedule was probably too short a period of time but also agreed with Mr. Martinez to give it a try for the reasons set forth by Mr. Martinez.

Let's see what happens. Again, the new Red Bus Route and preliminary schedule begin on Tuesday, January 18. Mr. Martinez emphasizes that if after a test period changes or adjustments are needed, they will be implemented.