How can we afford paying $4 million every year on this?


$4 million every year for this? That thought ran through my head after watching RIOC’s Public Safety Department (PSD) do its thing. That is, play with our big investment. If they’re not interested in public safety, what the hell are they doing here?

By David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

I had no plans for watching PSD, again. Many times before, I sat in this same spot, the bus shelter at Good Shepherd Plaza, and saw how little this expensive department devotes to its mission.

To provide a safe and secure environment for the residents, employees, business owners, community, and visitors of Roosevelt Island. To protect the property and interests of RIOC and the quality life of Roosevelt Island Residents.

Mission Statement, Roosevelt Island Operating Corp., Public Safety Dept.


For $4 million a year, you get this…

PSD’s inability at reining in out of control bicyclists and motorized two-wheelers is already well-documented. And we’ve seen that they’re not up to the task of making sure passengers follow face mask rules on Red Buses and the Tram.

So, what is it they actually do? Most reliably: collect paychecks and ride around.

We don’t get much return for our $4 million annual investment.

In just ten minutes on Sunday evening, an eye-opening display of recklessness and wasted resources played out on Main Street.

All those vehicles need drivers…

Rather than doing what they pledge in their mission statement, PSD officers pass a lot of hours riding around with nothing to do. The amazing thing is, even while riding around, two to a car, they ignore violations right in front of them.

Like they’re oblivious.

One evening, after dark, I watched two bicyclists, lights on, pass a marked PSD car, one on each side, both going the wrong way on the narrow stretch between between the subway and the Tram plaza.

PSD’s reaction? Nothing. They just kept driving.

It was not atypical. You see the carelessness and indifference, all the time. For $4 million every year…

Wouldn’t it just be easier letting the department stuff our cash in their pockets without making them go through this charade?

$4 million for this Sunday evening event…

Sunday evening on Main Street, Roosevelt Island. Neither the bicyclist nor the unicyclist paused for the stop sign, but that’s normal here. What came next was startling.

Look, it was a pleasant evening, I was exhausted, and I tired of reporting on PSD’s failures to serve, long ago. But this was just eye-poppingly bad.

It crept up on me.

A parade of PSD vehicles passed, a couple stopping long enough to drop a uniformed officer off at headquarters, just across the street. It’s tedious, but you’re wondering, Don’t these guys ever walk?

Isn’t that the core of community policing, the concept management says they’re all about? Getting to know the neighbors, building trust…? How do you accomplish that when the farthest you walk is from the next crosswalk to the office… where you disappear in back?

Okay, so we’ve seen that a million times too. But when an electric scooter appeared among the steady stream of riders ignoring stop signs and crosswalks within fifty feet of PSD’s main office…

The driver executed a U-turn, using the crosswalk in front of the plaza to access the sidewalk across the street. Once there, he rode on back to 546 Main, the Senior Center, scattering pedestrians on the way.

No fear of the next door neighbor: RIOC’s super indulgent PSD. And pedestrians and public safety be damned.

So, knowing you had to see it to believe it, I got my camera out for his return engagement.

How can we afford $4 million every year for this? The Video

The motorized scooter driver does his thing, but wait for it. PSD sets the stage, showing us once again while the $4 million a year is largely pissed away on vehicles for riding around, doing nothing.

The first thing you see is a rider go straight through the stop sign and crosswalk. But the next is a marked PSD vehicle right behind, ignoring the violation. This is just the opener.

Clearly, nobody takes PSD’s enforcement seriously or pays attention to it at all because, for the most part, it doesn’t exist.

So, it should not shock anyone when the the driver fires up his scooter, parked illegally on the sidewalk next door to PSD and returns up the sidewalk.

From there, he crosses through the crosswalk, without stopping, passing a small dog, residents in wheelchairs and unexpecting pedestrians, crossing Good Shepherd Plaza.

What’s worse, his disregard for the safety of others or his obvious confidence that, on Roosevelt Island, it’s all okay?

PSD can’t be feared nor trusted to earn the $4 million we’re forced to pay every single year for whatever it is they say they do.

More from the Roosevelt Island Daily News

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