Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Cornell Tech Reports On Feasibility Of Roosevelt Island Pedestrian Access To Queensboro Bridge, Helix Bike Ramp Study, Upcoming PS/IS 217 Halloween Hackaton & Women's Health Nutrition Seminar

The Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Construction & Community Task Force met Monday, October 26.

Cornell Tech Assistant Director of Government & Community Affairs Jane Swanson told the Task Force members about:

Task Force Member Christina Delfico asked Ms. Swanson about previous announced Cornell Tech feasibility study on Roosevelt Island pedestrian access to the Queensboro Bridge.

Ms Swanson reported that Cornell Tech raised the subject with the NYC Department of Transportation during the Bloomberg administration in 2013, but at that time the Bloomberg administration was not interested in pursuing a feasibility study due to its scale, complexity and cost.

Ms. Swanson added that Cornell Tech is:
... very much in favor of this.... Providing pedestrian access to the Queensboro Bridge is something that we support very much....
... we would love this idea to pursue it but it probably is a long shot... never say never and we are open to all sorts of different ways of approaching it....
Here's the discussion.

From 1919 to 1955 there was vehicle and pedestrian access from the Queensboro Bridge to Roosevelt (then Welfare) Island. According to Neil Tandon writing for the Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS):
... The Elevator Storehouse, opened in 1919, housed an elevator that transported cars and people from the Queensboro Bridge down to the present-day Tramway Plaza. In addition, it contained storage space and a reception ward for the island's Metropolitan Hospital. The building, whose main lobby was on its top floor, was nicknamed the upside-down building and was featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not for its peculiar design. With the opening of the Welfare Island Bridge, the building closed in 1955 and was demolished in 1970....
 Image Of Elevator Storehous Ramp To Queensboro Bridge  From Judy Berdy Roosevelt Island Historical Society

Image of Elevator Storehous From Greater Astoria Historical Society

As previously reported, in 2007, the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) made a presentation to Community Board 8 (CB8) seeking support for Roosevelt Island pedestrian access to the Queensboro Bridge. According to Streetsblog, CB 8 approved a 2007 resolution supporting the idea of a feasibility study on subject.

The NY Times reported on Roosevelt Island pedestrian access to Queensboro Bridge in 2007:
... a spokeswoman for the city Department of Transportation, raised doubts about a passageway that would have to be nearly 135 feet high.

''It's not feasible,'' she said. ''They'd have to remove a lane of traffic to put in an elevator.''

With an average of about 180,000 vehicle crossings a day, the Queensboro is one of the city's busiest bridges, and according to Ms. Sarlin, eliminating a lane for an elevator would hamper traffic. A stairway could not be installed because people with disabilities could not use it, she added, noting that such a change would also cause security problems. Further, she said, since the facade of the bridge has landmark status, altering it would present a problem....