The latest scary Tram incident sickened at least one Roosevelt Islander on Friday, but more shocking was the official response: From Governor Kathy Hochul’s assigned board chair to the elected officials sworn to protect us, there was absolutely nothing. Has ROIC turmoil stalled all responsibility for public safety?
by David Stone
Friday’s Tram Incident
If you hoped that the recent series of frightening incidents with Tram cabins rocking out of control as they crossed the East River, coupled with a 6-hour shutdown attributed to losing control of the cabins, would spur responsible action, your hopes were dashed with indifference on Friday.
Here’s an exact transcript of an email we received late on Friday:
“I took the tram to come home around 4:15 . It was the one from North side . Just a little before landing on RI it started to swing in the air so bad for a while that I got so dizzy and a terrible headache that I still have.
“I don’t understand what is going on. What is RIOC doing about it as it is a repeated occurrence and is not safe! Maybe you can find out when they will do something and show they care about us residents of the island.“
The message came from a longtime Roosevelt Islander who’s highlighted the positives of Roosevelt Island many times. And while she is a senior, she is also fit and able.
Many older adults and otherwise physically challenged locals have quit the Tram entirely because it’s unsafe, but this incident should keep others off.
The above video from one of several earlier tram incidents shows, from the outside, just a hint of how scary things must be inside.
And yet, RIOC has no answer, has never commented anywhere… Where are the public officials, including those we voted for…?
Sadly, we can answer.
Here’s What Our Allegedly Responsible Officials Did After Being Notified
Of course, after learning about the latest Tram incident, we took the responsible step of notifying every official with some responsibility for Roosevelt Islanders’ safety and well-being.
We copied them on the email and our concerns about the Tram system’s threat to unwarned passengers. Here’s who we notified:
- RuthAnne Visnauskas, NYS Commissioner of Homes and Community Renewal, appointed by Hochul and RIOC Board Chair
- RIOC President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes
- RIOC Chief Counsel Gretchen Robinson
- RIOC Public Safety Director Kevin Brown
- RIOC Board Members David Kraut, Howard Polivy, Ben Fhala, Fay Christian, Michal Melamed and Lydia Tang
- NYS Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright
- NYS Senator Liz Krueger, plus top aide and Roosevelt Island resident Audrey Tannen
- NYC Council Member Julie Menin, plus top aide Anna Corea
We added this summary:
“We see this as a natural extension of RIOC’s and its administration overseers’ long-term disrespect and disdain for Roosevelt Islanders.
“Not only is there a risk for passengers being flung around in an out-of-control cabin, but the system cannot sustain this extreme stress indefinitely. Someone is going to be seriously hurt, if they haven’t already.”
Not one of them answered, not even an objection or a promise to look into it.
Roosevelt Islanders are left hanging by their you-know-whats, and the official silence should be heard far and wide. We’ll try to make sure it is