Friday, December 2, 2011

Straight Or Angled Parking Stripes For Roosevelt Island's Motorgate Parking Garage - Which Is The Better Layout?

Image of Confusing Angled/Straight Motorgate Garage Parking Stripes

Riradu, a reader of this recent post on new straight parking stripes replacing previous angled parking stripes on the third floor of the Motorgate Garage comments:
My main concern is still the re-re-re-striping of the garage, or the study which led to the new layout, and I am specifically seeking an intelligent answer if and how it was real-life tested with the real-life variety of cars found now in the garage.

Perhaps not too may people understand what may be coming to their cars. Simply speaking, I see an issue in safely getting in and out of a parking space if one has a larger car or is adjacent to larger cars - or there are longer/larger cars parked in the opposite parking spaces, even if they are all parked correctly.

A car must enter/exit a parking space pretty parallel to its edges, and that - since the spaces will be perpendicular to the curb - means that one will need more space in the isle to position correctly for entry. If the isle width is limited by large SUV's or vans, then you can figure out the physical consequences to your and your neighbor's vehicled. This is my main concern. I don't want to be part of the problem, I want to be part of the solution, this is why I try to raise this issue before it costs too much to fix.

Of course, every layout has its own engineering challenges, but that's why good engineers exist. I salute the initiative of repairing and renovating the garage, I see them testing new LED lighting fixtures, and may also be great things that I dind't see yet. I am concerned about the striping issue and I wish I am wrong... I only need someone to come up with real, rational arguments (other than immeasurable talk) that my worries are not warranted.
Riradu adds:
... I surveyed several parking garages and concluded that Motorgate is about 6' short of the minimum space needed to implement safe parking slots perpendicular to the curb in most areas.

There is also supporting engineering documentation on the Web, with clear design standards, quite different than what is proposed at Motorgate. I attached an example to this post.

Every project must be approved and signed by at least a PE licensed in NY State, so I am really curious who  risked his/her reputation signing that layout.
During the November 28 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Committee meeting, the issue of straight or angled parking spaces was discussed by RIOC Vice President Of Operations Fernando Martinez and RIOC Directors. Mr. Martinez reported to the RIOC Directors that making the spaces more uniform and straight with a width, for the most part, of 8 1/2 feet was done with the consultation of Central Parking and the contractor. Mr. Martinez said that he feels straight parking lines was the right decision to make.

Below is video of the Operations Committee Meeting Motorgate Parking stripes discussion as well as a discussion on the state of the Garage/Warehouse employee work area.

An audio webcast of the entire November 28 Operations Committee meeting is here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Santa Claus Visits Roosevelt Island Tonight For Tree Lighting Ceremony - A Wonderful Time, Here's What Happened

Image of 2011 Roosevelt Island Christmas Tree

Wonderful time this eventing at the 2011 Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony. The temperature was crisp and cool, the crowd festive and entertainers terrific. Then came the big moment with the arrival of Santa Claus and the lighting of the Roosevelt Island Christmas/Holiday Tree.

If you were not there, or just want to see it again, here's what happened

You Tube Video of 2011 Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony

and a walk around the lit trees.

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Tree Lights

Kudos to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) and particularly Community Relations Specialist Erica Spencer-El for staging the festivities.

Prior to the arrival of Santa Claus and the Tree Lighting, the crowd was treated to Holiday Carols from the Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance and a Gospel Choir as well as a ballet performance of the Nutcracker from the Deb Dancers. Videos of the performances will be posted later.

UPDATE 12/2 - Here's how the Festivities began with co-hosts Ms. Spencer-El and Roosevelt Island Seniors Association President Delores Green,

followed by a song from the Main Street Theater & Dance Alliance,

an excerpt from the Nutcracker Ballet by the Deb Dancers

and Silent Night from the Gospel Choir.

What's In The Works For Roosevelt Island Parking - Uniform Rates For Street Parking, Encourage Visitors To Use The Motorgate Garage - No Motorcycle Specific Street Parking But Half Priced Monthly Motorcycle Parking At Motorgate

 Image of Roosevelt Island Smart Parking Meter on West Channel Road

During the November 28 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Committee meeting, the subject of street parking was discussed. RIOC VP of Operations Fernando Martinez reported that with Roosevelt Island becoming more populated and a popular visitor destination, street parking has become a greater challenge.

At present, Roosevelt Island has various street parking rules and regulations including 2, 4 and 6 hour parking areas which RIOC intends to change with a more uniform street parking system. RIOC wants to encourage Roosevelt Island visitors to use the Motorgate Garage and will price street parking to complement, not compete, with the Motorgate Garage.

RIOC plans to integrate smart solution street parking meters, which use wireless devices to inform drivers of available parking spaces, on an Island wide basis. This will  expand the current pilot project of 3 such meters on Southtown's West Drive. RIOC has received 2 Proposals from companies interested in implementing such a system.

Roosevelt Island motorcycle parking has been an issue raised by resident Trevre who commented on this post:
It would also be great if the island provided some type of Motorcycle/scooter parking.  I have contacted RIOC about implementing some on the island without any response.  You could park 5 or 6 motorcycles/scooters in the space of one car.  Not to mention there are plenty of underutilized spaces on the island where motorcycle parking could be implemented (Under both bridges, where the zip cars are, etc.)....
and it was discussed during the Operations Committee meeting. Mr. Martinez said that the spaces suggested by a resident were not available for motorcycles because they are, or will be, used for other purposes but noted that the Motorgate Garage has half priced monthly rates for motorcycles. Mr. Martinez also noted that motorcycles can be parked on the street but there is no discount rate for parking motorcycles on the street.

Here is video of the RIOC Operations Committee meeting discussion on Roosevelt Island Street Parking.

An audio webcast of the entire Operations Committee meeting is here.

Roosevelt Island Christmas Trees On Sale Saturday At Motorgate Plaza and Tree Lighting Ceremony Tonight 7 PM At Blackwell Plaza

A Roosevelt Island resident asked yesterday:
Do you know if cub scouts r selling Christmas trees this year on R I?
By coincidence, after receiving the question I saw the Roosevelt Island Boy Scout Troop Leader and asked him that question. He told me that yes, the Boy Scouts will be selling Christmas Trees starting this Saturday in their usual spot  at Motorgate Plaza.

Christmas Trees are already being sold by street vendors near the Tram including this one on Second Avenue and 61 Street.

Also, don't forget Santa Claus will be arriving tonight

 Image from 2010 Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Via Senator Jose Serrano

 for the Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony 7PM at Blackwell Plaza. Don't miss that!

Image of Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony From RIOC

UPDATE 12/6 - The Boy Scouts were at Motorgate Plaza last weekend selling Christmas Trees.

Below are the days and times of the Roosevelt Island Boy Scout Christmas Tree Sale

and pricing.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Looking For An Apartment On Roosevelt Island? Hope Your Experience Not A Dark Water One - Brutalist But In A Kind Of Utopia Way

Have you recently or are you currently looking for an apartment on Roosevelt Island? If so, hope your experience was/is not like that of the mom and daughter depicted in the Dark Water movie.

The Dark Water Roosevelt Island apartment search starts with a trip on the Roosevelt Island Tram. The mom tells her young daughter that Roosevelt Island is just another part of the city but the girl knows better telling her mom that it is not the city. Another Tram rider says forebodingly, the little girl is right - it's not the city.

Then comes a walk down the west promenade, past PS/IS 217 to Main Street where the mom and daughter meet the sleazy real estate agent who shows them an apartment in Eastwood, now known as Roosevelt Landings. It's in the Brutalist style but in a kind of Utopia way says the real estate agent.

Watch the video and be thankful this was not your experience - hopefully.

If you are considering moving to Roosevelt Island, here's another view.

Roosevelt Island Tram Passengers Stuck In Cabin Over Manhattan Briefly Last Night - FDNY Tram Rescue Drills Today - Why Can't Both Tram Cabins Run During Non Rush Hours Ask RIOC Directors During Operations Committee Meeting

 Image From Duc Le (Tram in Picture was not the one stuck yesterday)

Hope you were not one of the unfortunate passengers on the 5:15 PM Roosevelt Island Tram to Manhattan on Tuesday evening. Passengers on the North Cabin leaving Roosevelt Island to Manhattan at about 5:15 PM got stuck between Tower 3 and Manhattan for about 8 minutes. One passenger reports:
North cabin from RI to Manhattan @5:16-ish. Stopped for 8 minutes adjacent to iPad billboard ad. Then we inched our way to Manhattan. Total ride 16 minutes.

Driver immediately radio-ed in. Told everyone to hold on. Did not provide ANY info. I specifically asked him to PLEASE communicate with us. He then said something was wrong with the computer. He did not offer more information.

About 20 passengers, including 5 kids. Everyone was calm and quiet.

Tram began to move very slowly, still no word from operator.

When we arrived, he thanked us, maybe for our patience, do not remember.
The passenger recalls explanation offered by Tram Cabin attendant:
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you can see, the Tram has stopped moving.

I have radio-ed to my supervisor, who is investigating the matter.

At this stage, it appears the computer is not working properly.

As soon as I have additional information, I will share that with you.

For now, thank you for your patience and for remaining quiet and calm.
{Update 12:55 PM - the text above with the strike thru was not said by the Tram attendant. I was wrong. Rather than delete it, the strike thru indicates that text is withdrawn}

Another Roosevelt Island resident waiting at the Manhattan Tram Station at the same time adds:
Tram Stuck again
This time over 20 minutes. Almost over 2nd
i was on the manhattan platform waiting in the rain to go home. when it finally made it to manhattan, it emptied all passengers and then went back to RI empty while we stood in the rain. the platform was packed, no one else could walk through turnstile. we had to wait for south cabin to arrive and then not everyone could fit in, they were left in the rain. as we approached RI, the north cabin was manhattan bound again with a few people on it. my comment would just be, " please explain why these new trams get stuck so often, because I do not understand"
This morning the NY Fire Department is conducting scheduled Tram Rescue Drills so that they are prepared to handle situations in which passengers are stuck on the Tram Cabin and cannot be returned to the Station via the Tram. According to this Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) advisory:
Please be advised the FDNY will be practicing on one Tram cabin on Wednesday, November 30th, from the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Please note regular Tram service will not be interrupted during this time frame.
More information on FDNY and NYPD tram rescue drills available at previous posts.

During the RIOC Operations Committee meeting held last Monday, RIOC Directors were asking why both Tram Cabins do not run during non rush hours as they do during rush hours. The Directors questioned whether there was a cost increase in running both tram cabins during non rush hour times and if so, what was the increased cost. RIOC staff indicated that they did not have that information but would look into it.

Will have more on this issue.

UPDATE 3  PM - RIOC Public Safety Department Incident Report for 11/29 -30  describes yesterday's disruption is Tram service as:
Minor Tram Service Interruption  - A Tram cabin was out of service for a few minutes.  It was quickly restored to service.
UPDATE 12/2 - From RIOC:
On Wednesday at 5:20pm the North cabin stopped as a result of the Manhattan Station entrance sensor. After investigating the source of the trouble the sensor was reset and the tram brouhgt the passengers back to the station. Once the trip was complete, the North system was fully restored.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony Thursday December 1, 7 PM At Blackwell Plaza - Come and Enjoy This Wonderful Annual Tradition

Image of Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony From RIOC

Don't miss this wonderful annual Roosevelt Island tradition. The Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place on Thursday. According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
You are cordially invited to join the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation at the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. The festivities will take place at Blackwell Plaza on Thursday, December 1st at 7 PM.  Santa will make a special appearance to receive wishes from the Roosevelt Island Community. Join our musical guests as they lead the audience with up-beat carols and a ballet performance of excerpts from the Nutcracker and a live musical performance from the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance.  Warming winter treats such as hot cider and hot chocolate will also be served.  Kids can look forward to small holiday gifts and a photo with Santa.

Bring your holiday cheer for a celebration you would not want to miss!

For more info, visit:
Here's what the 2009 Roosevelt Island Tree Lighting looked like

You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Christmas Tree

and previous years as well.

Roosevelt Island October Public Safety Incident Blotter - Marijuana Possession, Open Container, Unleashed Dog, Reckless Driving, Assault, Rock Throwing & More - Issues Remain With RIOC On Disclosing Public Safety Incident Information

I sent the following message yesterday to  Roosevelt Island Public Safety Director Keith Guerra and Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Press Spokesperson.

The 11/26 -27 Public Safety Report notes

Criminal Possession of Marijuana - Two subjects arrested by PSD.

Can you provide additional details as to the place, time, were the subject Roosevelt Island residents and any other relevant information on this arrest. How much marijuana was involved?
RIOC's Press Spokesperson replied:
Criminal Possession of Marijuana:
11/27/11 at 11:30pm, outside of 425 Main St. No Injuries.
RIOC declined to report whether the subjects arrested were Roosevelt Island residents or the amount of marijuana involved. Also, RIOC did not disclose where the incident took place at 425 Main Street. Was it in front of the building entrance, across the street in Firefighters Field, in the Commons area or outside the Riverwalk Bar?

The 11/10 -11 Public Safety incident report indicated a Grand larceny occurred:

Grand Larceny - Referred to PSD Detectives.

I asked RIOC:
 Can you provide additional details regarding where it occurred, what time of day, item stolen, anyone injured and any other relevant information
RIOC spokesperson replied:
The larceny occurred at 625 Main St. after 7pm.  No injuries.  An arrest was made by PSD.
RIOC declined to report what item was subject of the larceny or whether the subject arrested was a Roosevelt Island resident.

As can be seen from the above examples there are still issues remaining regarding RIOC's willingness to make public relevant information regarding Public Safety incidents, though it has become much better. There is no reason why RIOC cannot report an incident occurred with greater specificity including what item was stolen in a grand larceny and whether subjects arrested were Roosevelt Island residents.

The Roosevelt Island Daily Public Safety Incident Reports are archived on the blog's sidebar.

Below is the RIOC Public Safety Monthly Incident Blotter for October 2011. The Monthly Blotter Reports are much more detailed than the Daily Public Safety Reports but they report on incidents 6- 8 weeks old. Included in the October Blotter are these incidents:
  • C-SUMMONS Dog observed at location without being on a leash. Dog owner advised but would not comply. Summons issued. (10/24, opposite 475 Main Street),
  •  A nail was found sticking out of one of the swings to the child playground area at location. Tape was placed on it until the condition could be corrected. Building management notified. (10/16, adjacent to 8 River Road),
  • Victim stated an unknown male approached her stating she was in health code violation and would correct the condition if she paid him $937. Victim refused NYPD. (10/20, 570 Main Street),
  • ARREST Male and female subjects observed with open container. Subjects were issued summonses and released. (10/1, 560 Main Street),
  • ARREST Two male subjects observed smoking illegal substance. Both subjects placed into custody, issued summonses and released. (10/8, 595 Main Street),
  • ARREST Male subject observed in possession of marijuana. Subject taken into custody and also found to be in possession of 30 pills of unprescribed Xanax. Subject transported to Manhattan Central Booking for arrest processing. (10/13, 200 Main Street),
  • ARREST Male subject observed in possession of marijuana. Subject taken into custody and transported to the 114 Precinct for arrest processing. (10/16, 200 Main Street),
  • ARREST Nine male subjects (one youth) at location unlawfully. All subjects were taken into custody. Male youth released to his parents. Other eight subjects issued summonses and released.(10/31, 900 Main Street),
  • NYPD ARREST NYPD Officer requested assistance apprehending two subjects involved in possession of stolen property. Both subjects were taken to 114 Precinct by NYPD Officer for arrest processing. (10/14, 425 Main Street),
  • ARREST Female subject taken into custody after being seen throwing rocks at windows of location causing over $1,500 in damages. Building management on scene. Subject sustained injuries to her head causing bleeding from broken windows. EMS on scene. Subject transported to Manhattan Central Booking for arrest processing. (10/22, 540 Main Street),
  • Female victim was assaulted by a female subject at location causing injury to her face. EMS on scene and transported victim to Mt. Sinai hospital. NYPD notified and on scene for report. (10/24, 400 Main Street),
  • ARREST Male subject driving recklessly down Main Street. Subject was pulled over, but refused to stop. Subject drove away striking Officer causing injury. License information processed to reveal address of subject. Subject was apprehended and taken into custody. Upon search subject was in possession of marijuana. Subject transported to 114 Precinct for arrest processing. (10/28, 540 Main Street)
RIOC Public Safety October Blotter

Click here for the Roosevelt Island Public Safety statistics for 2011 thru October.

Monday, November 28, 2011

RIOC Operations Committee Meeting Today After 4 Months To Discuss Ongoing Construction and Infrastructure Projects - How About Publishing Roosevelt Island Data On Web For New Apps?

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Operations Committee will be meeting later this afternoon for the first time since July 29, 2011. According to RIOC:

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Operations Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Monday, November 28, 2011 at 5:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.

The Committee will meet to discuss ongoing construction and infrastructure projects and planning.
One area of Roosevelt Island Operations that I would like to see RIOC take advantage of is opening up and sharing the data it collects to the public. Here's a very interesting article on cities and municipalities sharing their data with the public on the web. An excerpt:

... Across the country, geeks are using mountains of data that city officials are dumping on the Web to create everything from smartphone tree identifiers and street sweeper alarms to neighborhood crime notifiers and apps that sound the alarm when customers enter a restaurant that got low marks on a recent inspection.

The emergence of city apps comes as a result of the rise of the open data movement in U.S. cities, or what advocates like to call Government 2.0....

...  In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is pushing open data as a key component of his effort to transform the city into Silicon Valley's chief rival.

The city is in its third year of sponsoring the NYC BigApps competition, in which programmers compete to build useful new apps based on city data.

At a recent weekend "hackathon," first prize went to "Can I Park Here?," an app that matches location information from a user's smartphone to a database of city parking regulations to cut through the clutter of confusing parking signs with the message "Don't park here!"...

Roosevelt Island information such as Red Bus, Tram and subway ridership, street and Motorgate parking and event scheduling are examples of data that RIOC collects that can be published on the web. We have some very smart techies on Roosevelt Island. You never know what they might come up with that would be beneficial to the community.

Here's a video from Gov Fresh showing NYC Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne demonstrating how open digital info is changing the delivery of services to New Yorkers.

You Tube Video of Open Data Government Innovation

RIOC already uses the RI 311 See Click Fix reporting system,  Next Bus Red Bus GPS Tracking info and has met with the team behind the Roadify transportation app. All of these innovative digital initiatives were started by former RIOC Director Jonathan Kalkin.

Kudos to RIOC for recently winning a NY State award for innovative use of digital technology. That's a great start. We can do more.

An example of what a Roosevelt Island resident can produce is this Android Cell Phone Red Bus Tracking App from Vini Fortuna.

No Parking From Roosevelt Island's 531 To 543 Main Street This Coming Tuesday - Friday

 Image of No Parking Advisory In Front Of Good Shepherd Plaza

According to this sign posted on pole in front of Good Shephed Plaza, there will be no parking from Roosevelt Island's 531 - 543 Main Street starting Tuesday, November 29 (6 AM) to Friday December 2 (5 PM). Violators will be summonsed and towed.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Roosevelt Island Street Art At The Castle - Resident Photo Blogger Olya Presents The Reggae Rat

Olya's Urban Journal is an excellent photo blog with a unique perspective created by Roosevelt Island resident Olya Turcihin. Ms. Turcihin shares this image she found of Roosevelt Island street art

and reports:
A friend pointed out this street art rat - right here on Roosevelt Island

I have been listening to UB40's "Rat in the Kitchen" everyday for a few days now - here it is .... enjoy! !
I asked Ms. Turcihin where she found the Roosevelt Island Rat street art and she told me it was at Castle Park. I had no idea where or what was Roosevelt Island Castle Park. Ms. Turcihin filled me in:
Castle park is the park on the west side of the island that is flanked by southern end of eastwood, the basketball courts, and blackwell house ... there used to be a structure there that looked like a castle and then they renovated the park with that plastic stuff...
She also captured this example of Roosevelt Island street art at the former Castle Park.

Image From Olya Turcihin

We both wonder who is the artist?

Reflections By Barbara deCrew Currently Showing At Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA Octagon Exhibition Space - Experience The Shimmer Of Light and Flow Of Water

Did you know that Roosevelt Island's Gallery RIVAA has a second public exhibition space in the Octagon Building Lobby? Roosevelt Island resident Janet Falk reports on the current exhibition at the Octagon Gallery.
Reflections by Barbara deCew at Octagon Gallery

Living on our narrow Roosevelt Island, our gaze often turns to the East River and the East Channel, sources of inspiration for photos and sketches, as light and shadow play on the surface. Before moving to the Island, Barbara deCew, a member of Gallery RIVAA, lived near to the water and often sat by the mill pond at her home in Connecticut. She also sailed for two years on an ocean-going trimaran. Memories of these scenes beside the Mediterranean, Atlantic, Pacific, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico became the fount of her ideas for paintings and sculptures over the past year.

Reflections, an exhibition of seven acrylic paintings, plus four mobile sculptures and two standing sculptures, invites the viewer to experience the shimmer of light and the flow of water. In one painting, one can even the roar of crashing waves. Gaze closely at several paintings and you will discern the figure of a human/woman -- floating, meditating, being transformed by the water. deCew's textured work has us transfixed and mesmerized; we remember and sense the gentle movement of water in a pseudo-immersion.

She describes the exhibition: "Waters of space and time flow through the spirit of my work."

Reflections is on display at the Octagon Gallery, 888 Main Street, from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm daily, and will run through January 1, 2012.