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Posted on: November 29, 2018

The 11.29.18 edition of HEY SUSAN!

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HEY SUSAN!
Can we get the NextBus app to be more reliable? I’ve found that it sometimes doesn’t have all the buses on there, sometimes shows them early or later than they are and lately it’s even been showing the express octagon bus like it’s going to stop at the church when that isn’t a stop for it. I rely on this app daily when deciding whether to wait for the bus with my kids or walk and it’s so frustrating when it’s not working properly.

SUSAN: This app has been the subject of many questions. I get it, I really do. First of all, when we received our two new buses, this past summer, they were delivered without the pre-installed GPS equipment. Those parts have been ordered.

We’ve also had to make updates to the equipment as the buses’ signals were being dropped when driving under the 59th Street Bridge. And then, the signals would mysteriously re-appear once they went past the MTA subway station.

Know that we’re working to get these issues corrected quickly. As an alternative, give the Moovit and Transit apps a try. They offer real-time information not just about the Red Bus, but the Tram, NYC Ferry and the MTA subway too. They use the GPS data when it’s available and use our bus and Tram schedules to fill in the gaps and insert the vehicles where they’re supposed to be, according to the official timetable.

HEY SUSAN!
Is there any way to add just ONE additional stop to the Express Red Bus morning service? A Southbound Stop at the current local stop across from GRISTEDES by Manhattan Park would alleviate the crowds on the local bus, and not be too great a delay to Express bus riders (after all, even NYC Express buses make more than one pick-up stop.) The local buses are overcrowded in winter and bad weather and it’s so very FRUSTRATING to watch 3/4 empty Express buses pass us local riders by.

SUSAN: Thank you for your question. I’ve asked Transportation Director Cyril Opperman to review this situation, so stay tuned.

HEY SUSAN!
Just wondering how the stabilization work on the Smallpox Hospital is going and when it might be completed and open to the public. Can you direct me to an information source? Thanks very much.

SUSAN: In the summer of 2017, RIOC applied to the NYS Environmental Fund for a $500,000 grant (the maximum allowed under that program) to undertake planning and create construction drawings for stabilization. A previously-completed schematic design report concluded that the stabilization costs were estimated to be approximately $20 million. RIOC and all our public officials believe we should save the Smallpox Hospital.

Last year, we visited with NYS Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul and discussed several potential ideas for the future of the Smallpox Hospital. Is the greater community ready for a $20 million fund-raising challenge which should start sooner rather than later?

HEY SUSAN!
Do you have a place for lost items from the Tram? I may have lost a grey/fur mitten/glove 21 November. Would be happy if I got it back. Thank you!

SUSAN: All lost items we receive are taken to the Public Safety Department's office on 550 Main Street, 212.832.4545. Our officers keep a log of all items turned in.

HEY SUSAN!
Yesterday, November 25, my nine-year-old daughter was swiped by a bicyclist who made no attempt in yielding as he was proceeding down the ramp to the path (West side of Island), heading north.

My husband tried pulling her out of the way, yet the bike still nipped her in her ribs and ankle. There were at least two other witnesses, who also almost got hit. My husband asked him to stop, and asked for his ID. At that time, he cussed my husband out dropping F bombs everywhere (there were many kids around), and then sped off. The EMS arrived quickly with PSD. Luckily, she only had a few abrasions and was just a bit shaken.

PSD said they didn’t find him, and would look at cameras, but we never heard from them. I asked them about the rules for bikers versus pedestrians assuming bikers should always yield, and pedestrians always have right of way. They stated on the path, there are no rules?!!!

Which brings me to my biggest concern/request. On an island where many people use bicycles as transportation why aren’t there bike lanes on the path?! I find the path dangerous at times as PSD vehicles or other authorized vehicles speed down in either direction. Many bicyclists have no regard for common courtesy, and do not abide by any rules.

Driveways just off Main Street or the path do not have yield signs, and cars have sped through or turn quickly on more than one occasion. My 9.5-year-old is at the age where I should be allowing her to walk around on her own. Especially on the path where it should be safe.

When will we have bike lanes and why haven’t they been implemented yet? I feel pedestrian safety should be a top priority.

SUSAN: I’m so sorry that this happened to your daughter. It seems that whenever pedestrians and cyclists share the same spaces – whether that be sidewalks, or promenade paths as is the case here on Roosevelt Island, there seem to be conflicts as well as complaints.

Would the addition of more signage help? Maybe. Would increased enforcement of common sense courtesy and the law decrease the number of encounters? Perhaps. While I’m discussing these issues with the Public Safety Department, here are some of the rules:

• Bicycles must follow the rules of the road just like motor vehicles. When entering or exiting from an alleyway, building, private road or driveway, they must yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian.

• Bikes on the promenade must travel on the right side of the path. Bike riding is not allowed on sidewalks (unless the wheels are less than 26 inches in diameter and the rider is 12-years-old or younger).

• Bicycles that violate these rules may be confiscated and riders may be subject to legal sanctions.

As for bike lanes, we announced earlier this month our bike ramp and bike lane project that is being planned for the East side Promenade first and our plan is to eventually extend the lane so that it encircles the entire Island.

Do you have a question you’d like to have answered by RIOC President Susan Rosenthal? Send it to HEY SUSAN! at information@rioc.ny.gov. Want to receive RIOC’s email alerts and press releases? Send your email address to alonza.robertson@rioc.ny.gov. Want to report a problem, send us a FIX-IT Ticket at http://rioc.ny.gov/Requesttracker.aspx.

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