David Stone
Wheelchairs, pedestrians, strollers forced into Main Street by 40 River Road construction. With no lights, it's worse after dark.
Wheelchairs, pedestrians, strollers forced into Main Street by 40 River Road construction. With no lights, it's worse after dark.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

"Why is this being allowed?" We asked RIOC President/CEO Susan Rosenthal and other executives, last Wednesday, attaching photographs of Manhattan Park's extreme violations of public safety. RIOC is Manhattan Park's landlord and responsible for protecting residents and visitors. No one from RIOC answered, and next to nothing was done. It may get worse.

After two days during which a slapdash set of barriers erected by Manhattan Park was the only, deeply inadequate response to protests, we posted Anything Goes Roosevelt Island, highlighting this disaster waiting to happen as one of several lapses by RIOC.

On the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association's Facebook Page, Sylvia Madden posted additional details and a video.

Neither woke up RIOC or altered Manhattan Park's bad behavior. What's worse, a longer look tells us that the risky disruption is permanent. 40 River Road's exterior is being built out within a foot of the active roadway, eliminating the sidewalk with no alternative on the other side.

No signs, no lights: women, children, wheelchairs either enter a lightless tunnel or enter an active roadway to pass. No crosswalk or sidewalk on the other side.
No signs, no lights: women, children, wheelchairs either enter a lightless tunnel or enter an active roadway to pass. No crosswalk or sidewalk on the other side.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Was this approved by RIOC? We don't know because they don't answer. Is there a Department of Buildings permit allowing this intrusion on public space? A Department of Transportation okay for encroaching on the roadway? 

Manhattan Park but up protective barriers but didn't bother with signs or lighting to let cars, trucks and pedestrians know what to do.
Manhattan Park but up protective barriers but didn't bother with signs or lighting to let cars, trucks and pedestrians know what to do.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Really, is anyone looking out for Roosevelt Island residents and visitors?

So, what's wrong with this construction?

Almost everything:

  1. The immediate problem is the blocked sidewalk forcing people into the street. There are no signs showing anyone where to go to safely get around the construction area.
  2. If you're lucky enough to figure out that entering the dark, lightless tunnel will get you to the alternative passage around 40 River Road, you'll encounter a 4 inch drop off from the curb, a difficult obstacle for strollers and carts, impossible for wheelchairs.
  3. All prior lighting in the area is blocked off by construction. Women, children, wheelchairs, etc. after dark, can either walk into an unguarded cave-like area or out into street traffic, also without any lights or warnings for drivers.
  4. You may wonder who could be brainless, incompetent or inconsiderate enough (take your pick) to create such a hazard, but it gets worse when you consider that it looks permanent. Yes, it takes a village, even to tolerate stupidity as routine practice.

Will RIOC, Manhattan Park or appropriate City agencies wake up soon to take action against this looming permanent hazard? 

That's the question of the day.