Next step into awful: RIOC’s plan for replacing park space with a parking garage

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That’s right. RIOC’s gone full force against resident wishes. The state plans on building a 4-story parking garage in an area set aside for expanding Lighthouse Park.

By David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

What Was Supposed To Become Park RIOC Plans Eating Up For A Parking Garage

Coler Rehabilitation Center rear parking lot which RIOC acquired for expanding Lighthouse Park.

RIOC’s passion for de-greening Roosevelt Island, accelerated under President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes, took another step in the wrong direction. At RIOC’s farcical year-ending board meeting, Haynes mumbled something about parking during his see-no-evil “president’s report.”

It’s no wonder he avoided details because what he mumbled about is choking off a large chunk of land promised for expanding LIghthouse Park. RIOC deep thinkers now believe investing around $5 million in a 400 to 500 vehicle parking garage mattered more than the promised greenspace.

Coler no longer needs the unpaved area because of reduced census and staffing, and Haynes’s predecessor, Susan Rosenthal, snapped it up. She arranged a community gathering for considering uses, but those are being cast aside.

January, 2020, eager Islanders answered the call for helping with the redesign of Lighthouse Park.

None of the scenarios offered included a parking garage.

A bad Idea from multiple angles…

So, what’s wrong with a parking garage in Lighthouse Park, apart from its depriving Roosevelt Island of promised greenspace?

  • It’s remote. To use this parking, drivers must navigate to one of the remotest areas of Roosevelt Island, away from restaurants, businesses and the core community.
  • The roadway is already inadequate. Getting out of The Octagon turn around, Red Buses must wait for traffic to clear before turning into Mail Street. There isn’t enough room, and adding more traffic multiplies jam ups and delays.
  • It increases traffic on all of Main Street because many drivers will scour the rest of the Island before settling on this remote area. That’s more rolling through crosswalks, ignoring stop signs and exceeding the 15 mph community speed limit. Needless to say, that’s more people struck as well as animals. Anyone imagining that PSD will rise to the occasion needs a reality check.

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