Is RIOC Collapsing in Full View or Just Gone AWOL?


As various issues heat up, RIOC collapsing under missing leadership may explain its silence when guidance is needed. It’s also possible, the gang of execs with bloated salaries, funded by the community, are just absent without leave. But while others step up on bigger, critical issues, we found examples of failure on a smaller scale.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Is RIOC collapsing?

The New York State Shelton J. Haynes Parking Area, back when the boss used to come to work.

“Shelton isn’t out to lunch. He’s just out! His SUV is hardly here,” a reader wrote, commenting on an article in The Daily. “We should start the process of making it permanent!” 

But that wasn’t surprising. For several months now, the New York State Shelton J. Haynes Parking Area hasn’t been very active. Nor realistically has anything else been around RIOC. A board meeting for January was cancelled, and while an OMNY crisis for the Tram heated up, President/CYA Haynes and his vaunted Communications Team idled.

A half-hour later, I got this message from another resident:

“FYI, the new Tram elevator was out of service on the Manhattan side today at 12 and still at 3 when I returned. I called RIOC and surprise, surprise, no one knew!  Did you? The woman with a double stroller on the Tram with me obviously did not know either.”

There hadn’t been any advisory. Residents needing the elevator – folks in wheelchairs, relying on canes, pushing strollers and shopping carts – all stranded for at least three hours. Without a word from the state agency that never gets it wrong.

But what I saw next was worse, clear evidence of RIOC collapsing, bunkered and broken.

On the Tram

It wasn’t long ago that RIOC’s Public Safety Department headed an admirable effort at enforcing mask wearing on the Tram and Red Buses. Sure, it took weeks of shaming and pressure, but once they got going, their work was effective.

And so, when I boarded a Tram, crossing over for a firsthand elevator check, I was surprised at finding every passenger fully masked, but the story didn’t end there.

Not only did neither the operator nor the PSD officer aboard make any announcement about mask wearing – why was the officer even there? – neither had masks over their noses. Wearing one of those thin cloth masks everyone knows are virtually useless, the officer might as well have worn nothing at all.

And for the record, while not wearing masks correctly or advising passengers, the two kept busy with a heavy F-word salted chat while drifting across to Manhattan.

Where’s the leadership? Where is RIOC when we need them?

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