Sunday, July 29, 2007

MTA to RI: No Queens Bound Service for 3 Weeks

We actually moved onto Roosevelt Island on the day the Tram stopped back on April 18, 2006. So when there were weekend subway service disruptions that Summer we noticed real fast how hard it was to get off this Island for day trips of various sorts. If you missed the special Manhattan bound RIOC Red Bus you were out of luck.

In the 17 months we have noticed that the number of weekends that service disruptions wipe out one direction of subway service is higher here than any other neighborhood we have ever lived in. For a neighborhood that is an island unto itself literally that is disastrous. So when the announcement came that for the next three weekends we would lose Queens bound service eliminating a direct subway stop [without adding a circuitous route] we were not surprised. I have not discussed this with our neighbors but I guess this happens every Summer.

If there was a emergency here lord knows what would happen if service happened to be out. Proposals have been submitted to Community Board 8 about re-constructing foot access to the 59th Street Bridge pedestrian walkway. The logistics of such a walkway are beyond me nor all the ADA considerations and I am not looking to debate them here. The Roosevelt Islander has already published a few blog posts about the possibility of ferry service to this island and that seems to be an option that all parties should be pursuing.

If plans continue to overhaul the Tram in 2008 and its cable system taking it physically off line for up to 8 months I am hoping that RIOC fights like hell on our behalf with the MTA to keep these disruptions to the absolute bare minimum. I would expect that our directly elected officials to be doing so as well.

Besides disruptions the issue of our transit system being overloaded when it is all working is a major issue for this island and as our housing stock increases it will continue to be stretched. In one month I resume my daily commute with a 5 year old in tow but this year we head back underground to the F train and if our first few months here (April – June 2006) were any measure he and I better get used to leaving earlier and earlier as that platform is to all who know crowded and a bed of frustration as trains are too packed to even attempt entrance.


  1. At some point when the F train was not running the MTA extended the Q train all the way to the Queensborough Bridge stop on the other side of the river. This, at least, gave us continuous subway service even though it replaced the 6th Ave line with the Broadway line.

    I have no idea why the MTA is not doing this anymore. It was great. It worked.

    The thing with RI is that there is only one subway line that services the island. Most other neighborhoods have at least two or more alternatives.

  2. I recall reading in The Wire that the MTA was claiming that they couyld no longer run the Q back to 21st / queensbridge as they could not have the train sitting at the station as it would block Manhattan bound F trains and that there was no loop for the Q to turn around in. It made limited sense but still there have to be options.

    I believe only after Riverwalk is fully built and if the Goldwater site is demolished and new housing built down there will we ever see a true second subway stop hooking into either the E/V lines (Strecker Lab) or the R lines (the Blue air vent next to the Tram) which obviously travel under Roosevelt Island.