Making RIOC Accountable to Mobility Challenged Gardeners

May 31, 2019

When the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) took away the bus stop near the Community Garden last month due to a road construction project, they took the rug out from under some people who relied on it to get to their happy place.

 

What to some may not be much of an issue, for mobility-challenged Islanders, suddenly having to walk a half mile from the next nearest bus stop at 40 River Road to the garden became an arduous journey. Some garden club members with mobility issues could no longer access their garden plots at all. According to Neal Weissman, President of the Roosevelt Island Club, when they approached RIOC to request the bus stop be replaced, their request was denied.

 

 This red bus stop is currently out of service until June 9

 

 

While it may have been only a “temporary” inconvenience, we all know that RIOC has a

strange concept of time when it comes to projects being completed. A fence goes up around a soccer field, another one severs Lighthouse Park, and the community waits… and waits… and waits.

 

In their understandable frustration, the Roosevelt Island Garden Club leadership reached out to The WIRE to bring some light to what is clearly a serious issue. Once we started to ask questions, RIOC changed their tune. They have promised to reinstate the former bus stop on June 9th.

 

Though two weeks may be a long time in the short season of vegetable and flower growing, it is certainly an improvement over the grim prospect of losing access to the garden completely.

 

On May 22 we reached out to Jessica Murray, Supervisor of Community Affairs at RIOC. The following day she responded, explaining that “RIOC is currently evaluating options for the bus stop to accommodate this need. We will notify the public when updated information is available.”

 

By May 24, Ms. Murray had another, better, update: “Please be advised that RIOC will

provide a temporary stop near the main entrance of the Garden Club. This temporary stop will commence after Roosevelt Island Day, June 9, 2019. Signs will be posted to inform Garden Club members and they can request this stop to the main entrance. This information has been communicated to the Garden Club leadership.”

 

For those who are relying on this stop to tend to their plants, just keep in mind that the stop will have to be requested by pressing the yellow wire on the bus. It will not be an automatic stop on the route.

 

Please spread the word, and Happy Gardening!

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