New Tram Elevator Rendering

The New Tram Elevator Opens on Tuesday, But RIOC Thinks It’s About Foot Traffic Patterns


The new Tram elevator is a big deal. RIOC’s sunk millions, probably too many millions into it, but what makes “pedestrian traffic patterns” the state’s biggest concern? While barely making a note about the elevator?

By David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

The New Tram Elevator

A point of frustration for decades, physically challenged Tram riders depend critically on a working elevator for daily needs. Many times, over the years, breakdowns brought forced isolation.

The need was great, but failures at addressing it seemed nearly as powerful.

Rendering of the new Tram Elevator
An early rendering shows an elevator more elaborate than a single floor demands, and the costs reflect it.

While humorous at times over its endless disruptions, the new Tram elevator kept former RIOC president/CEO Susan Rosenthal in knots for much of her term. But against what seemed like all odds, she pulled it off. It opens on Tuesday.

Probably the funniest mishap on the way to the new lift landed when the first company contracted for the job declared bankruptcy a day or two before the scheduled start of construction. That sent RIOC back to the drawing board.

Then, when construction finally started, work stopped when unexpected underground features required renewed planning.

So, what’s with RIOC and foot traffic patterns…?

Even the subject line in their email blast was weird:

“Manhattan Tram Elevator| Pedestrian Traffic Pattern Update”

So, you’ll navigate on foot a little differently. That demanded a mass mailing?

The rest of the email wasn’t helpful…

“Please be advised that, due to the construction of the Manhattan Tram Elevator project, starting Tuesday, October 12th the below changes will take effect:

  • The existing operational elevator will be closed to the public
  • The south stairwell towards Tramway Plaza Park will also be closed
  • The new east elevator will be open for public use

All the way down at the third bullet point, the writer got around to the important news, but we’ll rephrase it:

The New Tram Elevator Will Open, At Last!

That should’ve been the subject line. It’s a big deal, but instead “pedestrian traffic patterns…?” Really?

And just for the record, there are two south stairwells, and there is no such thing as an “east elevator.” There’s just one, and that’s it.

But don’t you just think, sometimes, that these bulletins are written by someone who’s never even been here?

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