Did RIOC Abandon the Aging Wayfinding Signs?


It’s September, 2018, and wayfinding signs finally show up. At three strategic locations, they direct visitors to important locations. After years of frustration all around, Hudson-Related took on the task, understanding that RIOC would maintain the signs. It comes as no big surprise that RIOC didn’t because… well, because that’s RIOC.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Wayfinding Signs Out of Date, Another RIOC Legacy of Neglect

Subway Plaza Wayfinding Sign/Courtesy – JL

“Waiting for the Red Bus last week,” a reader wrote. “I happened to peruse the Tourist Info Map located outside the Subway.

“Not surprisingly there were many glaring issues and not just related to out of date names and locations given the map is clearly 3+ years old.

“No info regarding public toilet amenities AT ALL was a huge surprise, meaning the public/semi-public toilets at Southpoint, Lighthouse Park, McManus and Tramway Plaza are not marked for visitors convenience.

“I quickly identified 25+ errors, omissions and outdated info,” he added. “Perhaps it would make a good foundation for an Island Spotto/Amazing race event as a way of turning RIOC’s incompetence into something positive and enjoyable.”

History, Then and Now

Years passed with RIOC dithering about installing wayfinding signs, something you’d expect if they 1) were serious about attracting visitors or 2) they really wanted to help local businesses. But RIOC treated it as if they’d been asked to build a replica of the Great Pyramid.

The sign posts, also part of the Hudson-Related plan, are less prone to error because their ambitions are limited.

The state agency’s mind-bending incompetence with any and all signs wasn’t well-known yet, but they just couldn’t pull it off. Finally, in 2018, Hudson-Related did it themselves. The real estate developer, like local residents and businesses, had had enough. H-R also oversaw Main Street retail and wanted that gap filled.

The sight of people arriving by Tram or subway, then looking around for any direction was a common irritation. So, H-R installed wayfinding signs at key entry points: The Subway Station, the Tram Plaza and outside Motorgate.

And there they have sat for three and a half years since.

Where is RIOC on this? We don’t know, but after clownish failures with promenades bike safety signs and the notorious wheelchair inaccessibility sign at Blackwell House, it comes as no surprise that the state agency that never gets it wrong found wayfinding sign updates too much to tackle.

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