RIOC Tries to Speed Up Tram Repairs

August 26, 2017

At a last-minute August 9 board meeting, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) Board of Directors voted to spend an additional $160,000 to speed up construction on the Tram platforms. The project, which requires putting one car out of service for extended periods of time, was originally expected to stretch through the first couple months of 2018. With the infusion of money, however, RIOC hopes to shave some time off of the original estimate.


“We can’t make concrete or waterproofing cure faster,” said RIOC engineering consultant Mike Russo. “But demo, removal of stuff, preparation, putting down the concrete – all of those things can happen in longer days and Saturdays.” The plan is for workers to work longer hours and on weekends. Russo believes this will also alleviate other concerns RIOC has about weather, as the project will no longer extend as far into the winter.


Work on the Tram stations began on July 24 with the demolition of the south side platforms. The goal is to improve waterproofing at both the Roosevelt Island and Manhattan Tram stations.


Demolition of the southside Tram platform is complete. 



According to Russo, construction is currently running ahead of schedule. “Watch how fast that first section on the Roosevelt Island side got demolished. That surface might be walked upon as early as the end of this month,” he told Board members.


In her president’s report, RIOC President Susan Rosenthal praised Islanders’ patience while RIOC troubleshoots ways to accelerate the process.


And patience is something riders have needed a lot of. Since construction began, many commuters have complained about long lines and extensive waits in the summer heat. 



Last Sunday, Islander Troy Setiawan waited on a line that extended down the Manhattan station’s stairwell and into the adjacent public park. He sent us the photo to the right.


“People made an effort to be patient, however some quit waiting and left,” says Setiawan. “I was pondering the options of taking a taxi or hiking to the train, but taxi drivers have refused to go to our Island in the past and the subway could be even more unreliable. Does it make sense to explore other options or continue standing in this line that hardly moved? That’s what was going on in my head.” In all, he says, he waited a little less than an hour. “It felt like [an] eternity.” 


Setiawan says he’d like to see RIOC send Red Buses to Manhattan on the weekend, in addition to weekdays.


According to RIOC, though, attendance on the Red Bus shuttle service between the Island and Manhattan has been sparse. “I wish more people would take the Red Buses,” said Rosenthal in her president’s report.


Last week, RIOC sent out an alert notifying Islanders that they were cancelling the morning bus service. Red Bus shuttle service will now start at the Roosevelt Island Tram at 3:00 p.m. and run on the hour. Island-bound passengers will be able to pick it up on the Manhattan side hourly starting at 3:30 p.m. at the southwest side of Second Avenue, between 58th and 59th Streets. The last trip on the Manhattan side will leave at 8:30 p.m.

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