Help on the Way. Menin pushes RIOC on Tram-related shuttles

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While Roosevelt Islanders’ appeals to RIOC for adequate alternatives during periods when no or severely restricted Tram services are available fell on deaf ears, they prompted quick action from City Council Member Julie Menin. President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes, who commands a four-place parking area just for himself and friends, failed even to answer emails.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Julie Menin’s Letter (see full copy attached below)

After briefly reviewing the residents’ concerns, Menin argued for a solution.

“Roosevelt Islanders are not receiving adequate travel options,” she wrote, “and it is imperative that RIOC takes immediate action to provide an alternate method for commuters to and from Manhattan throughout this tram maintenance period.

“For many of the thousands of people who rely on the Roosevelt Island Tram every day, RIOC’s failure to provide an alternative for morning travel is causing frustration and inconvenience. Constituents have reached out to our office concerned about unbearably long travel times.”

Because neither Haynes nor anyone else on the executive staff at RIOC has responded to resident complaints, we asked Menin’s office to let us know if they hear anything from the bunkered state agency.

As far as we can tell from poorly written RIOC Advisories, the Tram is operating with only a single cabin until sometime late this month. But that was complicated when RIOC restricted service further. Tram cabins, they said, will run only hourly between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. We don’t know if that includes weekends.

Residents found this difficult and made more so by the absence of alternatives. In their wisdom, RIOC’s deep thinkers decided to provide shuttle buses only between 3:00 and 8:00 p.m. on weekdays. They gave no reason.

This leaves the worst of the restricted hours unaddressed. Physically challenged Roosevelt Islanders are largely stranded because a critical subway elevator is out of service. It’s a factor RIOC failed to consider when permitting construction work in prime time.

About Julie Menin

Experienced with the ins and outs of local government after heading three different city departments, Menin has shown awareness and proactivity on behalf of constituents.

Even before officially taking office, she had staff on Roosevelt Island handing out free COVID tests and, at the same time, getting acquainted.

She also pushed hard on getting OMNY card readers for the Tram, an effort that Haynes and RIOC have muffed so far.

Here is Council Member Menin’s letter:

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