We don’t know who’s responsible for RIOC’s cherry blossom prep travel advisory issued yesterday, but we are grateful. It’s like a gentle giant suddenly arose after a long, indifferent slumber. For a change, we got the leadership we need.
by David Stone
Every April, Roosevelt Island’s parade of cherry blossom openings draws traffic from across the region. The attraction includes not just the beauty of the trees, but also graceful city skyline views and the uncrowded freshness of isolation in the middle of the East River.
Visitors feel like they’ve escaped. And they have.
But for those of us living here, these weeks are a burden. Overcrowding reduces vital transportation availability, especially with the Tram, and in recent years, the state agency overseeing the Island did little to help out.
This year, though, is suddenly different as RIOC stepped up with plans for keeping things under control and running as smoothly as possible.
The Unexpected Cherry Blossom Prep
Persons unknown within RIOC’s walls released detailed plans for relieving the disadvantages of living on Roosevelt Island in cherry blossom season:
Overcrowding Safety Controls:
- Large crowds will be managed by PSD officers with the assistance of the 114th Precinct.
- Parks will be monitored by PSD throughout the day. Please note that parks will close in the occurrence of overcrowding on the island.
- Cornell security has been alerted and will monitor and discourage large gatherings on the Cornell Tech campus.
- Additional signage will be placed near the entrances and exits of the Tram on the Manhattan side to help ensure an orderly travel process.
But RIOC adds significantly to that with details and this reassurance:
“Tram: PSD officers will be present at each station. Passengers should plan accordingly as they may experience long lines. (REMINDER: If possible, please purchase your Metrocard in advance of arriving at the Tram to help expedite your travel.)”
More important for many, especially physically challenged visitors, is the much-requested addition of a Tram Shuttle Bus on weekends in April.
Red Buses doubling the Tram route operate from 11:00 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The first bus leaves the Roosevelt Island Tram Plaza, picking up passengers from there to the Roosevelt Island Bridge. Drivers will pick up riders at 2nd Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets for a return trip.
While RIOC envisions one-hour intervals, traffic across the Queensboro Bridge is unpredictable and requires patience. But this being a tough route, RIOC and its drivers get credit for making this ride available.
And one last thing.
“Bicycles: Citations will be issued to any cyclist/motorized scooters who do not adhere to NYC bike laws.”
That, if true, is a change we can all appreciate and hope continues.
Read the full advisory here.