Showing posts with label Transportation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Transportation. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Phase Out of Free Student Metro Cards to Hurt Local Parents Pocketbooks

At $88 / month the cost of metro cards is not cheap but from past analysis my wife and I still get a pretty good deal. With the added possibility of having to buy two more such cards for our kids if the MTA does away with student metro cards I am not so sure without running the numbers again. As expected our usage brinigs the costs down but spending $350 plus on metro cards is nuts.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Clarification Post Regarding Columbia Studio Subway Analysis

In my prior post referring to the Columbia studio regarding Roosevelt Island transportation issues I stated that for the study to be relevant regarding crowding on the platforms and cars that more than one day was needed to test conditions. I had incorrectly stated that the students only tested for one day but also stated my recollection could be wrong.

Well I admit I was wrong and the below emails and photos prove out that the students did indeed witness three morning rush hours which they documented. The photo montages also, as discussed below, indicate times when riders were indeed left behind on the Manhattan bound platform. I can't argue with the images portrayed on these images unless I can prove nobody went to the work on those days.

I still believe overall that during the 815am to 845am period, that the trains and platform are overcrowded. I have no solution to this problem other than encouraging residents to arrive on the platform earlier as I TRY to do as I have encountered little issue at any time before 8:10am.

Again I thank the students for their work although I disagree with their conclusions in this segment of their studio. By next Friday, the students will be putting up a website with a link to their final report in full detail and recommendations. You can be sure it will be linked to from here.

From: David Krulewitch
Date: Fri, 1 May 2009 12:46:58 -0400
To: Roosevelt Island360; Dr. Floyd Lapp


Here are the photomontages of the 3 surveys we did on Roosevelt Island in the am peak. If you look closely, the times with an asterisk are the times not all people could get on the train. I hope that clarifies some things. Also, we attempted to get the data from the MTA regarding how many times these trains do not run on time, but they did not have that data (shocking!). Feel free to post these photomontages.


From: David Krulewitch
Date: Fri, 1 May 2009 12:46:58 -0400
To: Roosevelt Island 360;; Dr. Floyd Lapp

Hi Eric,

I actually was the point person on the subway, we will be submitting a final report to RIOC next week which will flesh out the subway data in more detail. Just to make clear what my conclusions were: If the subway runs on schedule there is little to no overcrowding at the Roosevelt Island Subway stop. The train is scheduled to run 15 times an hour (every 4 minutes). There are only serious problems if trains get backed up in queens. We did three surveys and two of the surveys there were no delays because 15 trains ran in an hour, and on the 3rd survey only 9 trains ran in an hour and there were significant delays. I will have more analysis for you soon, but the report is still in a draft stage, and we have to get a bunch of stuff done by next Thursday.


Projected F Train Subway Service Changes: May through July 2nd

The below service changes to the F Train affecting Roosevelt Island and each of the stations serviced by the 63rd Street Tunnel are provided by Ms. Parker of the MTA but are subject to change and not all have been posted yet on the MTA website. A calendar graph of these dates is slated to appear in this week's Main Street WIRE.

Subsequent to the email received below, Ms. Parker, clarified that "weeknights" for purposes of these changes refers to Tuesdays through Fridays. Southbound refers to Trains Bound for Manhattan and Brooklyn and Northbound refers to trains coming from Manhattan bound for Queens.

------Original Message------

From: Deirdre Parker
To: Roosevelt Island 360
Sent: Apr 29, 2009 2:34 PM
Subject: RE: Projected Subway Service Changes

- Weeknights, from May 5th - June 16 (except May 26th), 12:01 AM - 5 AM, there will no southbound service at Roosevelt Island.

- Weekends, from May 23rd, 12:01 AM, to May 25th, 5 AM, and May 30th, 12:01 AM, to June 1st, 5 AM, there will be no southbound service at Roosevelt Island.

- Tuesdays to Fridays, June 23 to July 2nd, 12:01 AM to 5:00 AM, there will be no northbound service at Roosevelt Island.

These changes are needed to support tunnel and track work.

Deirdre K. Parker
Deputy Director, Public Affairs
MTA NYC Transit

Use Trip Planner @ for customized subway and bus directions

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Subway Platform & Train Snapshots - Differences of Opinion?

The above and below pictures are snapshots of the Roosevelt Island subway platform (Manhattan and Brooklyn bound) as we got off the steps this morning at 8:07 am. Like most of my experiences at this time the platform has not been overly crowded and the same has gone for the trains.

There is currently a vast difference of opinion between residents and the students from Columbia who are now concluding a study of transportation issues affecting Roosevelt Island. The students spent time on the Manhattan platform and documented their findings via photo snapshots and data collected through at least one sample morning before, during, and following that day's heaviest rush hour period. [Update: If the data was collected from multiple dates I missed that in their verbal and slide show presentation].

The Columbia findings, to my understanding, concluded pretty much that there is excess capacity and that the trains coming in from Queens can handle the number of residents without issue. They also examined alternative train routes and configurations and determined that a greater number of Queens residents would be displaced with the goal of helping a few Roosevelt Island residents and concluded that changing the train routes would be not accepted by the MTA.

The residents who attended the public presentation two weeks ago strongly disagreed. My own experience is that the problems occur during the 815am to 900am period as the trains are either full coming into Roosevelt Island or riders don't move from the doors making it difficult to enter trains.

Frank Farance, President of RIRA, continues to argue that the study had flaws to which the Columbia students reply look at our proof look at our photos. I can"t argue with the photos in question but I must conclude that the day in question must have been an anomaly as my experience, mirrors my neighbors, that during the peak times there is problem. And during the period just prior to the peak, as I have photographed, the situation is closer to what the Columbia students claim.

The key is I believe that any study may need an increased number of test mornings and also must take into account the residents own experience by perhaps selecting 200 residents who will record their experiences over say a one month period. The record should include the time they enter the station each morning with additional notes regarding wait time, platform positioning etc.

I will not attempt to review the full Columbia study here as I am focusing on the morning subway rush but I do feel that once the students saw their own test results they perhaps did not test on multiple dates ( I may be wring on this one) nor did they get a broad swath of the community involved who live this issue every day.

I do want to thank each of the students for their time and effort as the overall presentation did show that a lot of work went into their studio for each of the segments of our transportatioin issues they adressed.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Trip / Distance Websites Don't Always Apply Here

Update: After playing a bit with the site described below it is not so far off to be unreasonable but still generally these things don't work from Roosevelt Island.


It's unfair to be from Roosevelt Island and to hope that new transportation calculation websites like "TripTrop NYC" will actually apply and work for us. Unfair to us and to the web site being reviewed.

According to the site's creator (via Gothamist) "you put in an address in New York and it overlays a map of how long it takes to get anywhere else in the city via subway and walking,"

If only it was true with regards to our little island. The time zones shown for Zip Code 10044 seem wonderful but in reality it just can't be. I seem to recall the same issues when reviewing a walking distance website some time back.

Monday, April 20, 2009

360 Degree View from Southtown Dock

The below image is by Orangeadnan from Flickr. To see the full size 360 image video, shot from Roosevelt Island, the below image is based on link HERE. By the way I love how in the image it almost has a sun dial feel to it where you see Adnan's images appear like hands on a clock.

FYI, it is this dock (NYT image directly above) which should be upgraded to handle ferry traffic from Roosevelt Island as it has the size and proximity to the central subway / tram transportation hub that exists for the island.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Less Rush Hour F Trains? Here's Why....

Updated at 10:30 am for paragraphs 3,4, and 5:
If any residents of Roosevelt Island have noticed less frequent F Trains during the morning rush hours, resulting in more crowded trains as they do arrive, you are not imagining things. The MTA has announced just that "less frequent trains during....rush hours".

For a stations like Roosevelt Island that is the last stop before entering Manhattan proper that is like a kiss of death or at least a guarantee of greater heartache and delays. And did I mention this is to run through DECEMBER 31, 2009.

According to a story posted yesterday by amNew York:
The MTA is replacing an 800-feet stretch of track between Queens’ Roosevelt Avenue and Forest Hills-71st Avenue stations as part of ongoing subway maintenance, said NYC Transit spokeswoman Deirdre Parker.

The work is being done on the weekends, but trains must constantly travel at slower speeds because they are running over temporary track, she explained.

Ben Kabak over at Second Avenue Sagas further explained in his post yesterday that because the trains are running over the temporary track they still must, during rush hours, run at slower speeds.

We can certainly appreciate the need for track improvements. We have had less weekend service disruptions this year and while we have been promised that during the Tram outage the MTA would be considerate of our unique transportation needs this is still going to hurt a lot.

For the record this service change is NOT listed anywhere on the MTA webpage that lists such service changes for today's date.


Note, the above photo is my own and I have not altered the MTA's poster in any way. I believe my posting this image is not violating any rule or copyright as it is being posted here to expand the rider base that is aware of these service changes.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Was the Bridge Open or Closed Last Night ?

Due to rain last night's scheduled closure was put off. We should expect the scheduled closure to be in effect unless notified otherwise. [via Denise Lynch of RIOC].

Original Posting:
I sent an inquiry regarding last night's planned bridge closure to Roosevelt Island PSD Director Keith Guerra to learn if the preparations all worked out as planned but have not heard back from his office yet.

According to a post on NYC the closure may have been delayed a day. RIOC's Steve Shane had indicated in prior emails that the rain may cause delays hence all the extra days of scheduling.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

RI Bridge Closure 4/15-17 & 4/21-22: Emergency Preparedness

Double Click Image to Enlarge.

Times affected 12:30 am to 5:30 am

------Original Message------

From: Steve Shane

To: Roosevelt Island 360
To: Roosevelt Islander
To: Dick Lutz / The Main Street WIRE
Cc: Fernando Martinez
Cc: Keith Guerra
Cc: Tom Turcic

Sent: Apr 7, 2009 5:26 PM

Subject: Bridge Closure

You have all received a copy of the DOT Notice of Bridge Closure.

1. It is absolutely necessary.

2. The Fire Department will station an engine (pumper) and a ladder truck on the Island during the outage to respond to any emergencies. In addition, there will be a fireboat available to deliver additional personnel if a big emergency occurs. An engine company (with 5 firemen) will be at the Vernon Ave. end of the Bridge to provide additional bodies as needed.

3. The Fire Dept. (EMS) will station an ambulance on the Island and an ambulance at the Vernon Ave end of the bridge. In the event of a medical emergency, the victim will be treated and taken to the RI end of the bridge and conveyed on a gurney to the other side where the other ambulance will be waiting to transport. In addition to the 4 EMS persons, there will be the 5 firemen there to assist. If the bridge is completely impassable (one of the procedures will require it to be 6'-8' above the connecting streets), then transport will have to be by Tram to a waiting ambulance on Manhattan side.

4. RIOC will run the Tram all night on 1/2 hour intervals (except in emergency) with the Red bus to match up. The Subway (F Train) should be available.

5.Only 2 nights are needed, and if the weather permits, the later nights will not be required. Steelworkers union contract and OSHA rules do not permit workers on exposed iron surfaces at heights when it is raining.

6. NYPD is also likely to station a squad car on the Island to assist.

We have coordinated all of this with NYPD, NYFD, EMS, DOT, HHC, etc. A necessary evil, but we should get through it. Please try to quell the hysterics.

Stephen H. Shane
President & CEO
Roosevelt Island Operating Corp.

Monday, April 6, 2009

7:54am F Train from Roosevelt Island (Mon Apr 6)

Perhaps this is a bad week for a test of how crowded the subway arriving from Queens into Roosevelt Island is but for the next few days I will try to get to the platform before 8am and take a picture once we enter the Manhattan bound train.

While I do believe the transportation infrastructure needs to be strengthened and increased, I am also of the belief that as long as island residents leave at a reasonable time they do not have to encounter the packed trains from Queens that arrive starting at and after 815am and continue through 845am.

Again this week may not be a good test, it is a holy week for many and schools are off starting Thursday. So be it. Again the above picture shows one family's experience at 7:54am after getting onto a Manhattan / Brooklyn bound F Train from Roosevelt Island.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Public Projects Need a Strong Transportation Infrastructure

On Friday, the New York Times published an article about the ongoing effort to bring a memorial to Roosevelt Island for FDR in the form of a public park. I was quoted for two points (1) that the Louis Kahn design which calls for trees on both sides of the park will block the 360 degree views of Manhattan and Queens and (2) that the island would be inundated by visitors. This second point is what I want to address here as I did in my discussion with Mr. Beyer, the Times Reporter, as my point had a bit more to it than what was published.

Yes I am concerned about how many visitors might come to the island. I hope a lot of visitors come to the island and all stop by the local RIHS Visitors Center, the local Strabucks, Duane Reade and Nonnos as well as hopefully further North on Main Street. My concern is not whether the island can handle the increased visitors but more specifically whether our transportation infrstructure can.

In the coming year the Roosevelt Island Tram is scheduled to be taken off line for several months, some expect a year, to be basically reconstruct the entire Tramway system, from new cables, new cabins, new mechanical systems, everything. The question will be whether this new Tram and the existing subway service will be able to handle not only the increase in tourists but the continued residential expansion of the island.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Bashful Bus and other Transportation Woes

This evening’s “Town Hall” meeting, sponsored by RIOC, to welcome and introduce Columbia University’s Urban Planning study, was moderately attended but clearly and quickly detailed the transportation issues confronting island residents.

The evening began with an introduction of Dr. Floyd Lapp who laid out the purpose of the study, or studio, as it called and that he will fade into the background and let the students hit the ground running. After delivering his introductory remarks he opened the floor to local residents and employees to each voice our major concerns and in many cases what we each believe will solve the major problems.

As expected the major culprits such as red bus schedules, subway overcrowding, and concerns what we will all do when the tram is out were raised. But also smaller issues such as switching the pedestrian yield signs on Main Street back to Stop signs and lighting along Main Street were discussed. Issues such as height differentials between subway platforms and subway cars were also brought up which greatly affect many of our wheel chair bound neighbors.

The location and efficiency of a possible ferry was raised but not dwelled by many attendees. The issue of an elevator to the Queensboro Bridge was brought up but the idea of a stair case, which would be the equivalent of 21 stories, was discounted by Dr. Lapp as unrealistic to be actually used by most residents.

One of the more amusing Red Bus tales told was by an Octagon resident regarding an Octagon Express bus that arrives when no passengers are ready at the Octagon which then swings through the stop and seems to park just out of view of the stop almost like it is hiding but still can be seen from the stop. Only after an Octagon Local swings through and picks up the then assembled mass of commuters filling the Local does the Express peek out and pick up the stragglers and then continues, almost empty, down Main Street to the subway and Tram. Is this Express really hiding or it just being bashful and shy? Who knows but it is indicative of a larger transportation system that is clearly out of sync and behind the greater need according to the residents that attended this Town Hall.

Town Hall Mtg Tonight re Transportation Issues….Columbia to Begin Focused Study

At 7:00pm tonight within the Good Shepherd Community Center, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation is holding a Town Hall meeting to discuss transportation issues affecting the island. The meeting will also mark the commencement of a new urban planning study of the island with a defined focus on transportation.

Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture’s Urban Planning program, under the direction of Dr. Floyd Lapp, a former Director of City Planning in the MTA’s Transportation Division from 1991-2000, will be examining the transportation alternatives and infrastructure.

The Columbia study will be the second study currently underway of the island by an academic institution. Hunter College's Urban Planning program is conducting a separate studio, termed AccessRI, with a broader focus on access to many issues including transportation, health services, shopping among others. That study is being sponsored by State Senator Jose Serrano.

Dr. Lapp has indicated that for any study to be worthwhile and effective it requires the participation of the public in the gathering of information and feedback. The Main Street WIRE in its last issue, dated Saturday, January 17, 2009, included a front page article about the study and included comments from Dr. Lapp.

Monday, December 22, 2008

New Double Decker Tram Design Unveiled (spoof)

As opposed to the service cuts proposed by the 2009 MTA austerity budget the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation unveiled its new design for the tram. The double decker design took most residents by surprise as it was not expected that RIOC would be so forward thinking to take into account the island's growth and transportation needs.

There are still several right of way concerns that must be worked out as the tram is not allowed to drop below a certain height as it crosses Second Avenue. City Hall has stated through an unnamed spokesman that it is exactly this sort of innovation that the MTA needs to get us through the coming years. According to the unnamed spokesman "If they could build a double decker LIRR train and now the tram why not double decker subway cars" .

Roosevelt Island residents are fearful that the new design will be followed by a decoupling of the tram from the MTA metrocard system as it is rumored that the fare for the double decker tram will double to $4.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Access RI to Host Open House This Saturday

Access RI will be hosting an open house this Saturday at Good Shepherd starting at 10:00 am. See their post below or link directly to their blog HERE or via the above image.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

$3 Fare Card = $204 Break Even Monthly Card for Roosevelt Island Parents

Image per amNew York

One local paper ran its cover page today projecting a possible $3 fare card for the MTA, so I had to again determine what the break even for a Roosevelt Island couple that incurs 6 fares per day on the MTA would be. My wife and I incur approximately 136 fares /month which with a $81 montly card averages out to $1.19/fare.

Based on the below analysis my break even goes from $136/month at $2/fare to now a whopping $204 per monthly fare card if the full fare is raised to $3/ride. I have heard nothing about what the monthly fare cards might raise to but as long as it less than $204/month we'd be ahead. Yikes.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Community Board 8 Mtg Tonight re Tram Overhaul

Manhattan Community Board 8's Transportation Committee is sponsoring a public hearing this evening, starting at 7:00 pm, regarding the Roosevelt Island Tram. The discussion per the flyer abovce is to focus on the contract and construction plans for the Tram.

As opposed to many past CB8 meetings this hearing is NOT at the NY Blood Center but will be held at the Hunter College School of Social Work located at 129 East 79th Street in their auditorium.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Transportation Forum Produces Community Provided "Solutions"

The Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer organized Roosevelt Island transportation forum produced a list of short term and long term solutions as suggested by the attending audience as well as the priority of each solution. In an innovative method of collecting data via RF point and click technology, the organizers with the help of the Hunter College Department of Urban Affairs and Planning, turned what is usually a standard speech dog and pony show with the expected rantings of upset community members into an event where the public provided the content and the elected officials (Micah Kellner and Jessica Lappin) spoke minimally. RIOC President Steve Shane spoke but offered nothing new for the community that he had not already stated at the recent Tram info event.

The only real problem was the transportation experts did not speak at all and the public was not given the opportunity to put these folks on the spot. Also while the solutions offered are nice in theory we heard nothing from the elected officials or the transportation officials as to the reality of any one solution being actually attainable or not.

Scott Stringer closed the event stating that this event was only the beginning of the discussions and tonight was more a gauge of where he and the other politicians should start on our behalf. The only problem is we only have until the Tram goes out to start determing what can be improved in the short term. Lets schedule the next meeting soon to keep the feet of these pols to a deliverable fire date to answer the realities of the solutions offered otherwise what was the point of taking away a particular good opportunity to simply rant.

The short and long term solutions and prioritization are below and each can be linked through to Flickr for larger views.

PA210383_ST Solutions

ST Solution - Vote

PA210388_LT Solutions

PA210394_LT Vote

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Transportation Forum Tonight at Good Shepherd

banner - alert - three pics - no x - at 225 pts

At 7:00 pm tonight, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is hosting a Roosevelt Island transportation forum that is billed to include several elected officials as well as representatives from several NYC and MTA agencies that will update us to the current state of our transportation alternatives and also be available for questions and problem solving.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Oct 21st Stringer Sponsored Community Forum re Transportation Issues

This coming Tuesday, October 21st, Roosevelt Island residents will have another opportunity to discuss transportation issues affecting the island this time not just with RIOC regarding the Tram but with our elected officials and each of the government agencies that run and maintain our bridges, subways, and buses.

The Community Forum is being lead by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and as this post appears to also include Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Jose Serrano, Assembly Member Micah Kellner and City Councilmember Jessica Lappin.

According to a representative from Borough President Stringer’s office the agenda is not yet final but one of their goals is to make the forum as interactive as possible including discussions of issues as well as possible solutions.

As opposed to Community Board 8’s Roosevelt Island transportation forum which took place in Manhattan at the Blood Center this forum is scheduled to take place here on the Island and as such can expect a much better turnout than the less than a dozen who attended the CB8 meeting.

All residents are encouraged to attend as this is a great opportunity to ask questions and hear from all parties plans for next year when the Tram is offline for several months. The timing of this meeting is appropriate as at least one of the referendum proposed by RIRA for the November elections includes the Tram.