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.

1 comment:

  1. A few comments. There almost never was a wait for the tram, because the service was every 7.5 minutes during the weekday morning and evening rush hours. At other times, it was every 15 minutes. Because Patrick does not commute by tram daily, he is not a reliable source on this point.

    The normal life-span of a tram is 30 years; the Roosevelt Island tram began operation in 1976; therefore, it was in operation for more than 30 years. It is not surprising that it would benefit from a modernization program.

    The subway has not been more crowded, even though the MTA did not indicate it would make the following changes. The trains have been running a bit more often and sometimes they are held in the station for a minute or two, so that more people can board them.