A perfect storm brewed and Roosevelt Islanders worst fears became real yesterday. While RIOC bumbled through its coldhearted indifference, a major flaw exposed unguarded risks in the 63rd Street Tunnel Track Fixation Project.
by David Stone
It didn’t take long. The poorly thought out plan for relying solely on a single track shuttle for serving Roosevelt Island hit a serious snag when the elevator on the Manhattan-bound side of the subway station broke down.
This leaves strollers and wheelchair passengers stranded until a return to service projected for October 31st. The MTA rarely meets these schedules. For example, the idle Manhattan-side escalator was supposed to open six months ago.
In our reporting on the Track Fixation Project, we noted the glaring absence of alternatives if anything goes wrong. If, for instance, the single track shuttle train breaks down or a passenger gets sick, the whole system fails. The other track is out with rails removed.
Illustrating the MTA’s thoughtlessness, a spokesperson said that, if anyone needed an elevator, they should “take the Q102” to Queens.
That’s how bad the planning is.
Now consider the possibilities. Or risks. With the repaired escalator still closed with no projected reopening, what happens when either of the other two breaks down? It happens all the time, leaving no alternative except climbing the long stairs.
And now, the elevator is not an option, even in an emergency.
Meanwhile, RIOC Does What RIOC Always Does
But with the elevator down, that simply emphasized their lack or awareness and/or indifference.
The state agency that can afford a bloated, top heavy employee roster and pay its CEO more than any state governor in the U.S. – including New York’s – has no plans for emergencies during the project at all.
Factor in the absence of support from any elected officials or oversight from its lackadaisical board and you have a community fending for itself with the results of an inadequately planned project.
Consider that the first major flaw hit the project before its official start and Roosevelt Islanders have plenty to worry about.
But virtually no help from the governing body they pay for without consent.