Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Q & A with a resident of Roosevelt Island

I interviewed resident Patrick, of Roosevelt Island. In this Q & A he states his opinion on the reconstruction, the changes to his commute, and his idea of what the tram means to Roosevelt Island.

1) Before reconstruction, was the tram apart of your daily commute? If so, how are you adjusting to the change?

Generally my daily commute involved using the subway. I take the "F" train to 42nd street which leaves me one block away from my office. This would be about 30 minutes door to door during rush hours. However, on days I'd work late, say past 11 pm, I would sometimes take a car service to the tram. Since the Tram had a regular schedule, I could almost count on the same time in commuting. This would be much shorter than waiting for a subway that late at night.

2) In your opinion, what does the tram mean to Roosevelt Island?

The Tram is to the Island to say the Empire State Building is to Manhattan. It is an icon, tourist attraction and it's unique to the city. This makes the Island special and a beautiful place to live and visit. The site of the Tram as it seems to float over the East River is very eye catching. And for visitors to Roosevelt Island or NYC, the tram is a romantic attraction. It offers a spectacular view of the skyline. It's safe, warm, quiet and yet the idea of riding on wires suspended in midair is exciting. The tram also offers a great alternative to commuting to and from Manhattan quickly and reliably. Again, because of it's regular schedule, one can plan trips off the island with more precision. The subway is reliable, but is less convenient to planning.

3) Do you believe the tram needed to be rebuilt entirely?

I don't know. I am trusting that the engineers know more about it than I do. The tram has been in service from over 3 decades at least. It has been shut down before for about 3 months. (Check the research on this)

4) How do you think this summer will differ without the tram?

I think it will mean very, very fewer tourist will visit the Island which will effect business. It will mean it would be harder to quickly leave the Island for say a visit to Bloomingdale's, to see a film or to commute down 2nd Avenue. Catching the bus from the tram or the N train on 3rd Ave is very fast. I will find it harder to visit stores and shoppes along 1st, 2nd and 3rd Avenue.

5) Do you now feel limited by the only options available for transportation to and from Roosevelt island?

Yes, particularly if traveling late in the city on the weekends.

6) How do you think local businesses of Roosevelt island will be affected by the reconstruction?

As I mentioned above, I think this will effect tourism on the Island greatly during the summer months.

7) Have you noticed overcrowding on the F train during rush hours even more than before?

Actually, no I have not. But I leave rather early in the morning. However, I have not seen more crowding during my evening commute either, but it could be that more trains have been added because of the tram shutdown.

8) Do you think 6 months without a tram is really worth it?

Yes, there was more traffic and use of the tram as the Island population has increased. And anyone who has taken the tram during rush hours will have noted that there's a queue (a wait for the next tram) since there it was just not possible to get everyone on.

9) Do you have any memorable/ frightening experiences while riding the tram?, not really. I've been a bit nervous on a windy day. But I've been skydiving, so I find it kind of fun. Like I said the tram is fun to bring visitors to. Particularly a beautiful friend on a date.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Leitner Poma

Leitner Poma is the design company working toward remodeling the new Roosevelt Island Tramway. They have achieved a great deal of success over the past five decades since their start in 1888. The company was founded by Gabriel Leitner. The business has grown from a workshop with just ten employees to a resource for major arial tramways, amusement parks, ski resorts, etc. in various countries.

These are the current 2010 projects under construction by Poma.

Roosevelt Island, New York USA Tramway

Coronet Peak Queenstown, New Zealand Meadows Express

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado USA Black Mountain Press

Monday, March 8, 2010

Tram Modernization Project

The Roosevelt Island Tram has temporarily discontinued service for reconstruction. Early morning on March 1, 2010, the service was officially suspended, changing the commute for thousands of Roosevelt Island residents, workers, and tourists. Service is expected to continue on August 31, 2010; just in time for the back to school season in New York. Although the commute of many people will be affected, Roosevelt Island Operating Corp states it will benefit everyone in the long run. Cabins will be able to operate Independently, rush hour will be improved, reliability will increase, there will be uninterrupted service during maintenance, and better energy efficiency.

The last week of February was all about preparation for this project. Schedule changes took place, inconveniencing commuters even before the reconstruction process began. A series of signs were posted throughout the Manhattan and Roosevelt Island Tram and Train stations. This is currently the talk of the town. Commuters are re-routing their daily commutes due to the inconvenience. Although there will be shuttle bus service in place of the tram, some predict very heavy traffic on the F train; the only train line that runs on Roosevelt Island. Another option is the Q102 bus which runs on the Island.
Tim, 65, resident of Roosevelt Island commutes to work daily on the F train. He observed that during the first week of reconstruction of the tram, the F train hasn't been as over crowded as predicted.
"I haven't had any trouble getting to work these past couple of days. Lets see if it stays that way."

While some commuters and workers are dreading the changes, others are not affected. Some even celebrated the changes with a rather optimistic view. Sunday, February 28, 2010 was the last time anyone could ride the tram. Residents used its convenience of getting over to the city for the last time, making plans to have food and drinks at a local bar.