Saturday, September 5, 2015

Beautiful Sunrise Over Roosevelt Island And The Coolest Place To Have Lunch Is At FDR Park Great Performances Katchkie Farm Food Truck

According to the Roosevelt Island Twitterse:

The NY Post adds:
The sweetest spot in town to enjoy al fresco snacking in solitude is the Great Performances Katchkie Farm truck in Roosevelt Island’s Four Freedoms Park.

There’s only one problem: The truck’s open only on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m to 5 p.m. What a pity!...
Click here for full NY Post article.

Friday, September 4, 2015

No Roosevelt Island F Train Service To Manhattan This Labor Day Weekend - F Runs Local In Queens

According to the MTA:
F Coney Island-bound trains run via the E from Roosevelt Av to Canal St, then via the A to Jay St-MetroTech

Weekend & Holiday , 11:45 PM Fri to 5 AM Mon, Sep 4 - 8

Trains run express from Roosevelt Av to Queens Plaza.

No Coney Island-bound F service at 21 St-Queensbridge, Roosevelt Island, Lexington Av/63 St, 57, 47-50 Sts,
42 St-Bryant Pk, 34 St-Herald Sq, 23, 14, B'way-Lafayette Sts, 2 Av, Delancey St, East Broadway and York St. Trains stop at W 4 St.

F Trains run local in both directions in Queens

Weekend & Holiday , 12:01 AM Sat to 5 AM Tue, Sep 5 - 8

Trains stop at 67 Av, 63 Dr, Woodhaven Blvd, Grand, Elmhurst, Roosevelt Avs, 65 St, Northern Blvd, 46, Steinway and 36 Sts
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) adds:
The MTA has issued a weekend service advisory for the F train, which may affect travel plans. The Tram will run on a rush hour schedule from 7:00 AM until 10:00 PM to accommodate any increase in traffic. Please plan your travel accordingly and visit or call 511 for more information.

For electronic updates on F Train service, sign up for MTA Alerts at

Roosevelt island Summer Outdoor Movie Showing Singin In The Rain Tonight At Firefighters Field - Last RIOC Outdoor Movie For Summer

 View From Above July 11, 2015 Mary Poppins Roosevelt Island Firefighters Field Outdoor Movie

The 2015 Roosevelt Island Outdoor Summer Movie Series at Firefighters Field

 Image Of July 12,2014 Showing Of Marvel's The Avengers At Firefighters Field

is showing Singin In the Rain tonight.

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
This Friday, September 4, 2015, bring your family and friends to join us for the last screening of our Outdoor Summer Movie Series! The theme this summer was Hollywood Golden Age and what better way to end our Summer Movie Series event by screening the classic 1952 film Singin’ in the Rain at Firefighter’s Field (across from the Tram) at 7 PM.

Before the movie begins there will be music, trivia, prizes and much more! You are welcomed to bring blankets and lawn chairs. There will be food on-site, available for purchase.

Hope to see you there!

This free event is sponsored by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation.
Singin In The Rain will be the last RIOC outdoor movie for the summer of 2015 but there will be one more Roosevelt Island summer outdoor movie at Manhattan Park - Finding Nemo on Saturday September 12.

Roosevelt Island's Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney Urges Congress To Extend And Make Permanent Zadroga Act To Help Ailing 9/11 Responders & Survivors - 9/11 Tribute In Light Tested Last Night

Image From Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney Flickr Page
According to this September 3 press release from Roosevelt Island's Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney:
As the 14th Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks approaches, ailing first responders and survivors today joined Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Congressman Peter King (NY-2) and others to call on Congress to prevent the expiration of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. Without congressional action, the World Trade Center Health Program and the Victim Compensation Fund will expire next year, leaving over 70,000 9/11 responders and survivors in all 50 states without the care and support they need to recover from 9/11 related illnesses.

“The heroes of 9/11 who fought the flames and inhaled the dust are being forced to wage a battle on two fronts: a fight to survive the illnesses related to their service at Ground Zero, and a fight on Capitol Hill to ensure the health and compensation they rely on don’t disappear,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “They’ve endured chemotherapy, daily asthma attacks, permanent disabilities, post-traumatic stress, and other terrible illnesses. They live the consequences of 9/11 daily. It’s not enough to praise their heroism. It’s time for politicians in Washington to honor their sacrifice by permanently extending the Zadroga Act.”

“Fourteen years after the attacks of 9/11, we must remember the sacrifices of first responders and survivors and continue to support the World Trade Center Health Program and the Victim Compensation Fund,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act cannot be allowed to expire. It is not right that the victims and those who risked their own lives to save others on 9/11 may be forgotten if Congress does not act. I urge my colleagues to take action in order to ensure that these men and women continue to have access to the health coverage and compensation they so desperately need and deserve.”

“To this day too many of our 9/11 responders and survivors continue to fight serious illnesses, including more than 60 types of cancer caused by 9/11 toxins,” said Congressman Peter King. “This reauthorization is critical for these individuals and their families. We have come too far and we must continue to ensure that our 9/11 heroes receive the care they deserve.”...
... Dozens of 9/11 First Responders and Survivors participated in today’s press conference. Here are many of their stories:

Daniel Arrigo, Responder, Construction Worker
On September 15, Arrigo was trapped in an elevator and lost consciousness due to benzene poisoning. He continued to work nearly four months longer at Ground Zero until doctors told him he had to leave the site. Today he suffers from GERD, Obstructive Airway Disease, upper respiratory disease, spinal problems, diabetes, osteoporosis, pathological fracture and obstructive sleep apnea. In 2003, he had two strokes, and he has been forced to go to the emergency room more than 25 times.

Ronald Barber, Responder, FDNY (retired)
On September 11, Barber responded to Ground Zero and spent two days straight searching for bodies. Most of his battalion was killed in Tower 2. Today he suffers from asthma, cervical disk herniation, reflux, chronic bronchitis, sinusitis and sleep apnea. He is permanently disabled.

Lillian Bermudez, Survivor, Lower Manhattan Resident and Parent
Bermudez’s son Mitch was 12 years old on 9/11. Although he had no prior respiratory problems, two weeks after the attacks, he spent three days in the ICU at Bellevue. Doctors told Lillian that he could have died. He was diagnosed with severe asthma. Bermudez herself also suffers from WTC asthma and breathlessness on exertion.

Stephan Bruno, Responder, NYPD Detective, Sergeant (Retired)
On the day of the attacks, Bruno was stationed at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. He and fellow officers commandeered a ferry, loaded it with doctors and nurses and saw the first building fall as they crossed the water. In the next three months he performed rescue and recovery at Ground Zero, the Staten Island Landfill, and the morgue. Bruno has been diagnosed with cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, asthma, COPD, GERD and anemia. He is unable to run and play with his children, and loses his breath quickly when climbing a flight of stairs. He has difficulty performing even the simplest tasks.

Barbara Burnette, Responder, NYPD Detective (Retired)
“My career came to an end because of illnesses I developed from the time I served at the World Trade Center site. I have been diagnosed with interstitial lung disease, more specifically hypersensitivity pneumonitis with fibrosis in my lungs. I have failed the pulmonary function tests that doctors have given me. The inflammation in my lungs interferes with my breathing and destroys the tissues that get oxygen to my blood. My lungs are permanently scarred. I cannot move around my home without wheezing or gasping for breath. I take large doses of steroids that add to my weight. I start each morning connecting to a nebulizer and inhaling multiple doses of medications. I am told I will eventually need a lung transplant.” Detective Burnette testified before Congress in June before the House Energy and Commerce Committee....
More here.

The 9/11 Tribute In Light was tested last night.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Great News For Roosevelt Island Residents, Lexington Ave 63rd Street F Train Subway Station Elevator To Street Now Open - Shut Down Since July 2014 For Repairs

Great news for Roosevelt Island residents in wheelchairs, parents with strollers and others who need the mezzanine to street elevator at the Lexington/63rd street F train subway station which has been out of service since July 2014.

I received word today from a resident that this elevator is now working.

According to the resident tipster:

... Don't know if you know but the elevator at 63rd and Lex on the F is open again. Its good to know this when the tram elevators are out....
The MTA Elevator Status page indicates that ALL elevators are working.

Upcoming September Events At The Roosevelt Island New York Public Library - Book Discussion, Movies, Crafts, English As Second Language & More

The Roosevelt Island New York Public Library Branch

The library will be closed for Labor Day Weekend: Saturday, September 5th through Monday, September 7th.

The library will have a delayed opening on Friday, September 11th, and will be open from 3pm-5pm due to a staff development meeting in the morning.

The NYPL libraries in East Manhattan will also open at 3PM on September 11th.

The library will be open regular hours on Saturday, September 12th, 10am-5pm.
Below are upcoming September events at the Roosevelt Island Library branch including:
Roosevelt Island Library
524 Main Street

We Are New York English Conversation Group Fridays, September 4, 18, 25, 10:30am-12:30pm Limited space: Only 15 Seats; First come, first served; Please arrive early Please note: There will not be class on September 11 Upcoming Dates: Fridays, October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, 10:30am-12:30pm We Are New York is an Emmy Award-winning half hour TV show created to help people practice English.  Each story is about everyday situations, like going to the doctor or talking to your child's teacher.  The characters speak slowly and clearly.

Intermediate Level English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) learners will have the opportunity to learn English by watching We Are New York videos.  Come to the library and meet other people who are practicing English, just like you. This program works best for people who speak a little English already and want to practice.

We Are New York was created by the New York City Mayor’s Office of Adult Education and the City University of New York.

Movie Night: "Mad Max" Tuesday, September 8, 6pm, Adults Rated R, 90 minutes, 1979
In the desolate near future, Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) is a tough cop trying to maintain order on the bad and bloody roads where outlaws rule in a world that is gradually deteriorating into chaos.  Watch as Max does battle with The Toe-Cutter and his gang of motorcycle maniacs, hunting them down in his V8 Interceptor, and find out what drives Max mad.  Directed by George Miller Co-Starring: Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley, Roger Ward, and Vincent Gil

Book Discussion on “Family Life” by Akhil Sharma Thursday, September 17, 6:30pm, Adults Summary: We meet the Mishra family in Delhi in 1978, where eight-year-old Ajay and his older brother play cricket in the streets, waiting to fly across the world and join their father in America. Life there is everything they imagined and more ... until a tragedy leaves one brother brain-damaged and the other virtually orphaned in a strange land. Now Ajay prays to a God he envisions as Superman, longing to find his place amid the ruins of his family's new life.

The book is available for check-out at the information desk.  The book discussion group meets on the third Thursday of the month (September to June).

Jar Craft Thursday, September 24, 3-4PM For ages 5-12, with adult supervision as necessary
Decorate a glass jar with permanent markers, glitter, and glue.

Movie Night: “Fantastic Voyage”
Tuesday, September 29, 6pm Rated PG, 1966, 101 minutes, Adults
Summary: A medical team is shrunk down to microscopic size along with a state-of-the-art submarine and injected into the bloodstream of a victim of an assassination attempt in order to try to save his life. Directed by: Richard Fleischer Starring: Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch, Edmond O'Brien, and Donald Pleasence
(UPDATE 9/15 - NYPL cannot show "The Fantastic Voyage" because film rights for it were lost. Instead, NYPL showing Four Brothers.)
As previously reported, the Roosevelt Island NY Public Library will move from its current premises to a brand new building at 504 Main Street in 2018.

More on the new Roosevelt Island Library here and here.

President Obama Announces Mount McKinley Renamed To Alaska Native Name Denali - Minnahannock (It's Nice to Be Here) Is Original Native American Name for Roosevelt Island

Image From Twitter

The NY Times reported August 30:
President Obama announced on Sunday that Mount McKinley was being renamed Denali, using his executive power to restore an Alaska Native name with deep cultural significance to the tallest mountain in North America.

The move came on the eve of Mr. Obama’s trip to Alaska, where he will spend three days promoting aggressive action to combat climate change, and is part of a series of steps he will make there meant to address the concerns of Alaska Native tribes....
The Roosevelt Island Twitterverse asks:
As previously reported:
... 1637 - Dutch Governor Wouter Van Twiller buys Minnahannock from two Chiefs of the Canarsie tribe. Minnahannock means It's Nice to Be Here or Long Island, the latter readily explained by the dimensions: 107 acres (later expanded to 147), 2 miles long, 800 feet wide at its broadest. It runs North-South, opposite what will become 40 Manhattan blocks from 46th to 86th Streets. The Dutch raise hogs on the island, so it becomes known as Varcken (Hog) Island...
According to the Museum of the City of New York, Roosevelt Island:
... was originally referred to as Minnehanonck by local Native Americans, who eventually sold it to Wouter van Twiller, the Dutch East Indies employee who succeeded Peter Minuit as Director-General of New Amsterdam. In 1668, Captain John Manning purchased the property. His son-in-law, Robert Blackwell, then acquired the land, which he used for farming. After New York City gained ownership of the island in 1828, construction began on a series of public institutions, including a prison, an almshouse, and several hospitals. Although the penitentiary was eventually moved to Rikers Island in 1935, early inmates quarried stone to build one of the hospitals. Eventually the thin strip of land became known as “Welfare Island” because the prison and the workhouse gained a reputation for overcrowding, violence, and drug trafficking....
The NYPL Digital Collection has some great pictures of Blackwell's Island.

Here's President Obama in Alaska on effects of climate change.
More with POTUS from Alaska.

RIOC Audit Committee Meeting Today, Operations Advisory Committee September 8 - Roosevelt Island 2016/17 Proposed Budget, Current Projects, Infrastructure And Cell Antennas On Agenda

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Audit Committee is meeting today. According to RIOC:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Audit Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.


Review of the Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2016 – 2017
Any Other Committee Business That May be Brought Before the Committee

The Open Meetings Law of the State of New York requires that all public bodies conduct meetings, convened for the purpose of officially conducting public business, in a manner open to attendance by the general public to observe and listen.
RIOC's Operations Advisory Committee is meeting Tuesday, September 8. According to RIOC:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a meeting of the Operations Advisory Committee of the RIOC Board of Directors will be held on Tuesday, September 8, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. at the RIOC administrative office, 591 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York.


Review of Current Projects
Discussion of Core Infrastructure on Roosevelt Island – Power, Gas, Telecom, Water
Discussion of the Cell Antenna License Amendment with Verizon Wireless
Discussion of the Cell Antenna License Amendment with Sprint
Any Other Committee Business That May be Brought Before the Committee


The Open Meetings Law of the State of New York requires that all public bodies conduct meetings, convened for the purpose of officially conducting public business, in a manner open to attendance by the general public to observe and listen.
Audio web casts of the meetings will be available soon thereafter.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Cool Aerial View From FDR Four Freedoms Park At Southern Tip Of Roosevelt Island To Queensboro Bridge And NYC East River Waterfront

From the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

Palladino Academy Sponsoring Free Red Bulls Youth Soccer Festival Tonight At Roosevelt Island Octagon Field

According to the Palladino Academy:
Don’t forget to meet us at Octagon Field TONIGHT from 6-8 PM for music, fun, games, and soccer skill challenges. The festival will feature Red Bulls players and the Red Bulls Street Team. Don’t forget to sign up for the 3 vs. 3 soccer tournament!

Roosevelt Island Motorgate Garage Issued Violation By NYC Dep't Of Consumer Affairs For Operating Over Car Capacity Listed In Certificate Of Occupancy - RIOC Says Motorgate Garage Not Subject To NYC Permitting And Zoning Regulations

Yesterday, I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato:

Is it true that the Motorgate Parking Garage lost its license?

Frank Farance reports being told by a NYC Department Of Consumer Affairs Inspector yesterday that the Motorgate Garage lost its license.

According to Frank:
Motorgate Garage has lost its parking lot license. According to DCA inspector, there are multiple problems, including the misrepresentation of "710" spots (when there are 1522), and the bicycle spots. Apparently, others have seen this problem, too, which is why DCA (Department of Consumer Affairs) was there. Anyway, checked the DCA register and the license is not in their database....
 If true, why was the license lost and will there be any change in parking services?

Any comment from RIOC to clear this up?

Ms. Indelicato replies:
When RIOC’s predecessor, the Urban Development Corporation (“UDC”), constructed the parking lot in 1974, it had an original car capacity of up to about 1,000 parking spaces. UDC built the parking garage according to New York State standards and specifications. In 1990, as part of the construction of Manhattan Park, it was agreed that Motorgate would also expand by another 710 parking spaces, to accommodate additional parking needs of the residents for that residential development. It was also agreed that that the parking expansion would be built by the Manhattan Park developer according to New York City specifications because Motorgate would revert back to New York City upon the expiration of RIOC’s Master Lease agreement. The signage in the parking garage, indicating a car capacity of 710 spaces, reflects the Manhattan Park expansion of the garage and not the garage’s full capacity because only the Manhattan Park addition was built to New York City specifications. Central Parking operates Motorgate, in accordance with New York State specifications, while RIOC is responsible for major issues concerning the facility’s infrastructure.

The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”) issued a violation to Central Parking for operating Motorgate over the car capacity recognized by the Certificate of Occupancy, issued by the New York City Department of Buildings (“DOB”). It is RIOC’s position, that RIOC, being a public benefit corporation of the State of New York, can override New York City zoning regulations pursuant to Section 6389(3) of the unconsolidated laws of the State of New York. RIOC does not need a New York City permit to operate the Motorgate facility, nor is it subject to New York City zoning regulations. Central Parking’s Government Affairs team is working to resolve this matter with DCA and emphasized that this issue is not uncommon as it has dealt with DCA on similar matters with other state agencies of which it has contracts such as Health and Hospitals Corporation, the Department of Transportation, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, and Battery Park City. Central Parking remains confident that this matter will be resolved because despite DOB’s Certificate of Occupancy, Motorgate is not subject to New York City regulations and therefore is not operating in violation of the DOB issued Certificate of Occupancy.”

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Roosevelt Island Landmark Structures On National Register Of Historic Places Receive Historic Roadside Markers From William G Pomeroy Foundation - New Signage For Good Shepherd, The Lighthouse, Strecker Lab, Smallpox Hospital & Blackwell House

The Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) reports:
Historic Markers Come to Roosevelt Island

Walking by the Chapel of the Good Shepherd,

Image From RIHS

the Lighthouse,

Image From RIHS

Strecker Laboratory,

Image From RIHS

Smallpox Hospital

Image From RIHS

and Blackwell House

you will notice signs indicating the these landmark properties are registered on the National Register of Historic Places.

What is the National Register? The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archaeological resources. All of our 6 historic structures are on the National Register along with the New York State Register and are designated New York City Landmarks.

How did the signs get here and who donated them to the Roosevelt Island Historical Society to place the signs. Here is the unique story.

On October 19, 2004, William G. “Bill” Pomeroy was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Working with a wonderful team of doctors at both Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, NY and Dana Farber in Boston, MA, Bill received a stem cell transplant on May 26, 2005. Three years later, he had the privilege of meeting his donor, a 28 year-old gentleman from Texas. Bill developed a close friendship with his donor. In May 2011, Bill was invited as a guest of honor at his donor’s wedding.

After his diagnosis, Bill established The William G. Pomeroy Foundation, a private foundation that focuses on Bill’s greatest passions.

Bill’s passion is historic research, preservation and historic tourism. The William G. Pomeroy Foundation launched the Historic Roadside Marker Grant Program in 2006 to erect markers at historically important locations in towns and villages within Onondaga County, New York.

In 2010, the program was expanded to also include the New York counties of Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, and Oswego as eligible grant recipients. The program then added Erie and Genesee County in 2011.  In April 2012, The William G. Pomeroy Foundation expanded the program to include all municipalities and 501c (3) organizations as eligible grant recipients.

The participation and enthusiasm for the Historic Roadside Marker Program has enabled The William G. Pomeroy Foundation to play a vital role in helping communities preserve their local history. Since the program’s inception, The William G. Pomeroy Foundation has funded almost over 240 historic markers in 43 counties within New York State.

“The RIHS is proud to participate in this program and focus attention on our five National Register, New York City and New York State designated landmarks”, said Judith Berdy, President of the RIHS. (The Octagon has the same status but is not eligible for the signage since it is now a residential building.
Here's more on the National Register Of Historic Places

and the William G Pomeroy Foundation Historic Markers program.

Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation Rededicates Sanctuary And Returns To Home At Cultural Center After 3 Year Hiatus Due To Flooding And Superstorm Sandy

According to the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation (RIJC):

After a more than three-year hiatus, the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation (RIJC) has returned to the space where, for 19 years, it held Shabbat worship services, High Holiday services and Hebrew school classes.

A re-dedication ceremony held on Sunday, August 30, 2015, was conducted by Rabbi Leana Moritt, spiritual leader of the RIJC, and attended by members of the congregation, its board and guests, including representatives of local religious and cultural organizations.

Rabbi Leana Moritt (holding a Torah scroll), pauses before leading RIJC Board member Judith Berdy (near left) and congregants of the Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation, as well as Fr. Gerardo Ramirez (left), leader of the local Episcopal Church, into the re-dedicated sanctuary.

Image From RIJC

The room designated for use as a sanctuary, plus an adjacent classroom, located in the section of 548 Main Street on Roosevelt Island known as the Cultural Center, were both destroyed by a flood from an upstairs apartment in the building in July 2012. Superstorm Sandy further damaged the rooms in October 2012.

Repairs to and renovations of all damaged rooms of the Cultural Center were paid for by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, which manages the facility.

"We are gratified to see how much we have grown and come together as a community over the last three years as wandering Jews in temporary homes. Now that we have come home, we will be better able to focus our attention on one another, on what makes us tick as a community and on nurturing the qualitative quotient of RIJC experiences," said Rabbi Leana Moritt, spiritual leader of the RIJC since 2007.

"The Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation is thrilled we will be able to again hold High Holiday services and our other activities in our long-time home. This re-dedication of the sanctuary means that we will be celebrating many Shabbat services, chagim and simchas in the newly re-dedicated room," added Nina Lublin, President of the RIJC.

The Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation The Roosevelt Island Jewish Congregation (RIJC) is an egalitarian, progressive, friendly and fun synagogue first founded 1976, and formally organized in 1983, serving the residents of Roosevelt Island. Our congregation is dedicated to providing Jewish spiritual support and renewed Jewish knowledge to all who seek it, as well as a strong Jewish community on and for the Island. For more information, please visit

Monday, August 31, 2015

Ban Bicycles, Wheelchairs & Scooters From Motorgate Helix Ramp For Safety Says Roosevelt Island Residents Association Public Safety Committee - Prudent Safety Measure Or Overreaction To One Accident In Many Years?

Reported last July 16:

A bicycle rider was injured in a collision with a car on the Motorgate Helix Ramp to the Roosevelt Island Bridge last Monday July 13.

and at the request of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC):
... The issue of bicycle safety on the helix ramp was discussed during the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) July 14 Public Safety Committee (PSC) meeting.

The PSC unanimously voted to recommend closing the Motorgate Helix Ramp to bicycle riders....
Following up on its July 14 meeting, the RIRA Public Safety Committee (PSC) unanimously passed this resolution recommending that bicycles, wheelchairs and scooters be banned from the the Motorgate Helix Ramp during the PSC's August 11 meeting:
Resolution that Bicycles, Wheelchairs, and Scooters Be Banned from Helix Ramp

WHEREAS the helix ramp is a narrow roadway for two-way motor vehicle traffic;

WHEREAS the helix ramp has limited-distance sight lines as it spirals between the bridge deck and street level;

WHEREAS visibility is sometimes limited by sun-glare;

WHEREAS there is no leeway on the ramp for vehicles to swerve to avoid hitting a bicycle or a wheelchair or a scooter;

WHEREAS a bike lane or a sidewalk cannot be added to the ramp;

THEREFORE, the Public Safety Committee of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association hereby resolves that all bicycles, wheelchairs, and scooters be banned from the helix ramp."
The resolution will be debated during RIRA's September 9 Common Council meeting. Even if the resolution is approved by the RIRA Common Council, RIRA has no power to implement such a ban. However, RIOC could use the RIRA resolution as an indication of Roosevelt Island community wishes to ban bicycles from the Helix Ramp and implement such a ban.

Last Thursday afternoon, I saw bike riders safely going up (with helmet)

and down (without helmet) the Motorgate helix ramp.

Commenting on the July 16 bike helix safety post, these residents react to RIRA recommendation banning bikes from the Helix Ramp.

So I guess what PSC is saying is that the Helix is inherently unsafe with cyclists because automobiles can't be trusted to drive slowly enough to not run over cyclists? Brilliant governance.
How is it that nobody has commented on the fact that the double-striped yellow lines in the middle of the Helix roadway (to separate lanes of vehicular traffic) are practically non-existent? Perhaps RIOC should first tackle this problem for existing automobile traffic before we start commenting on bicycle safety.
Mick Girl:
With Cornell Tech coming to RI, we are going to have more cyclists on the island. Signage is a start, but the bigger issue is influx of traffic & people. Has anyone addressed that? More Red Buses? More frequent Red Buses? Ferry? Eliminate parking on all of Main Street & add a shared bike lane? This is the bigger picture...more student population will mean more bikes, this should be looked at from a long term standpoint.
Roosevelt Commuter:
If safety is your main concern then driving slower is the best way to make sure you're driving safely, whether the issue is pedestrian, cycle, or auto safety.
Yet Another RI'er:
Close the helix for bicyclists instead of enforcing road rules so both parties can use it? What a hell of an approach is that? Typical island reaction to problem solving.

The bridge is already very bicycle-unfriendly... I guess we are another step closer to banning cycling on Roosevelt Island.
Frank Farance is a RIRA PSC member who thinks the Helix Ramp is currently unsafe for bicyclists. He is critical of Bike NY's use of the Helix Ramp,
Mr. Farance shares this video of Bike NY riders going down the helix ramp

and asserts:
I have serious safety concerns about how Bike NYC operates on Roosevelt Island, and I have made a video showing the poor practices of your instructors here. I saw children be led in a line down the Helix Ramp, which is unsafe for cyclists. I then spoke to the two instructors, neither of which had proper training on Bike Safety. And when I pointed out the safety problems, one of your instructors said: there wasn't a law against it, so if I have problems with their unsafe practices, then I should go get the laws changed. Both are not competently trained because they don't understand bike safety....
Bike New York is irresponsible in their teachings to kids, such as riding the Helix. This is unsafe, and now will have kids thinking this is safe to do. The instructors lack knowledge about safety, they are poorly trained, and have poor attitudes towards safety.According to RIOC/PSD staff, Bike New York has had these kids come down the ramp in the mix of CEMENT TRUCKS and other large vehicles....
According to Bike NY representative: 
The safety concerns surrounding the helix ramp have been brought to our attention and we are working on this issue with RIOC.
I asked Mr. Farance:
Why is it unsafe for bicycle riders to use helix?

The video suggests that as long as there is proper lighting and vehicles go at a slow speed, the helix should be safe for bicycles.

Also, the lack of visible stripes separating the up and down lanes for portions of the helix may be a significant contributor to helix safety issues.

Why not fix the lane stripes before drastic remedy of banning bikes?

I am aware of only the 1 recent accident on the helix ramp for many years.

Have there been others?
Mr. Farance replied:
Several reasons why Helix is unsafe. Here's how those children can get run over, see pic for details.

Honestly parents, with traffic situation & nowhere for children to go, do you want you children riding in this middle of this? Of course not.

I've calculated the white car to be traveling at 20 fps (feet-per-second), which is approx. 13.3 MPH. Use standard brake distance formulas (15 fps deceleration, 1 second recognition time, 1 second reaction time), it would take 53 feet for this car to stop, which is the distance of the three children in front of the car. Because there is oncoming traffic, there is no room to move to the left to avoid the cyclists, and for the cyclists, there is no room to move to the right. So if one of those three children were to lose control (a bump, etc.), they would likely be run over by the white car.

All that happens in a split second.

Another reason it is dangerous is that the bicycle path is at a stress level of 5, as per the City's bike path stress methodology, which requires "expert" level cyclist skills. Obviously, the children don't have expert level skills, thus this particular patch of roadway (Motorgate Helix Ramp) is dangerous for their skill level.

Another reason it is dangerous is that there is not enough clearance for vehicles to pass the bicycles.

Another reason it is dangerous is that the children are riding 2-3 abreast towards the bottom, rather than single file.

In summary, just because the video does not show injury, it does not imply it is safe.

Also, you ask "Also, the lack of visible stripes separating the up and down lanes for portions of the helix may be a significant contributor to helix safety issues". The safety issues shown here are not attributable to a lack of lane stripes -- both cars are in their lanes, yet it is unsafe.

There have been some motorists/cyclists who thought this was a one-way ramp, so I agree that line strips should be added. However, regardless of the obvious 2-way traffic and the requirements to stay to the right, cyclists still proceed in the wrong direction. Lane striping does not fix that behavioral problem.

As for only one accident in many years, Good Safety Methodology doesn't require ANY accident to take a response: all it takes is being informed of a safety problem ... unfortunately, accidents are a main method of discovering a safety problem, but there is no requirement that one needs a history of accidents before taking action. Imagine if that were true: the parent complaining loudly that their child were injured when the safety problem was already known ... would you be telling that parent "well, we need at least 3 serious accidents before taking any action".

Aside from that not making sense, that is not how safety practitioners work, such as the National Transportation Safety Board ... no need to wait for an actual accident to take corrective action on a safety issue.

I have confirmed with RIOC that this is their position too: no need to wait for more accidents to address a safety issue.
If bicycles, scooters and wheelchairs are banned from the Motorgate ramp, they will have to use the Motorgate elevators or stairs

to and from Roosevelt Island. Another option discussed was to create a path through the Motorgate garage to access Roosevelt Island to and from the Roosevelt Island Bridge rather than from the Helix Ramp.

Will bike and scooter riders, including food delivery bikes and scooters coming from Queens to Roosevelt Island, use any of these alternative options to the Helix Ramp?

RIRA member Mickey Rindler adds:
The proposal to ban Bicycles from the Helix put forward by the RIRA Public Safety Committee is a MISGUIDED idea coming from people who know little about bicycles or bike safety. The RIRA Common Council should be supporting measures that promote the safety of ALL residents, including bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists.

I have ridden my bike and driven my car on the helix hundreds of times and I know precisely what the dangers are. If the committee had bothered to ask cyclists who use the bridge and helix, they would have learned that we are uniformly against such a restriction. We don’t want to be protected by people who think they are doing the right thing. The fact that this ban is being promulgated because there was a single recent bicycle accident on the helix whose circumstances remain obscure is absurd. Accidents have been few and very far between.

What bicycle riders want is IMPROVED SAFETY on the Island. There are ways to ensure that both vehicles and bicycles can use the helix safely. I note that:
  • Descending the helix from the R.I. Bridge is as safe as riding on any city street where vehicles and bikes share the roadway. There is excellent visibility and cars and trucks know to keep their distance and go slow. I have never seen anyone fall off their bike (or wheelchair for that matter and I’ve seen many go down and a few go up — including one just last night).
  • Riding up the helix is more problematic as drivers ascending behind the bikes cannot see around the curve. However, there are solutions like pruning the tree in the center of the helix and removing the guardrail on top of the concrete barrier going up. 
  • The elevator, especially on weekend afternoons when people have carts and groceries, is extremely slow when you have two bicycles — I would say an average of 3-4 minutes slower than riding. If there are more bikes, there are long delays.
  • Most importantly, many bicyclists will IGNORE the signs and RIDE ON THE HELIX anyway. Motorists who mistakenly think there are no bikes on the road will be LESS alert to bicycles, INCREASING THE POSSIBILITY THAT SERIOUS ACCIDENTS WILL OCCUR.
  • A BETTER SOLUTION is to post signs saying BIKES SHARE THE ROAD and paint SHARROWS on the pavement. 
Mayor Bloomberg did not submit his proposal for bike lanes and shared roadways to a vote of motorists or pedestrians — no doubt a majority would want bikes banned from roads altogether. The same is true if you allow Islanders who don’t cycle or the disabled to vote on whether bikes should be allowed on our promenades. 

Most disturbing to me is that banning activities that have been going on for decades sets a dangerous precedent. We should also be concerned that, God forbid, a pedestrian may be seriously hurt by a bicyclist somewhere else on the Island. I can easily envision that the PSC and RIOC will want to ban all bicycling. Instead, the CC should be working to support our cycling community and to ensure that such a scenario never comes about.
Proper signage will help insure safety. The traffic sign at foot of helix ramp indicating a 10 mph speed limit and allowing bicycles

is now gone.

Will the traffic sign be replaced?

More comments on Helix Ramp bike safety issues at this previous post.

UPDATE 9/1 - Very good article from Streetsblog on this subject:
... There are ideas on the table to make biking on the Roosevelt Island bridge safer. Banning bicycles should not be one of them....
including informative comments.