David Stone
Construction at 40 River Road left a narrow path far too narrow for wheelchairs, strollers and many pedestrians.
Construction at 40 River Road left a narrow path far too narrow for wheelchairs, strollers and many pedestrians.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

No, RIOC's still not doing anything about gross bike safety violations on Main Street and our sidewalks, but the State agency may have had something to do with yesterday's fast correction at Manhattan Park. Or not.

Shortly after noon, yesterday, I stepped out of 40 River Road where I was visiting a friend and found that, with exterior construction underway, pedestrians, wheelchairs and moms with strollers were being forced to walk, completely unprotected, in the street.

In a stretch with regular bus traffic sharing the road with cars and people, workers had blocked all access to the sidewalk. There is no alternative across the street as the AVAC dumping area yields here to a lawn but no sidewalk.

I confronted a foreman.

"You can walk on the curb," he said.

Not sure what his plan was for strollers, wheelchairs and less able pedestrians, but I wasn't all that keen on balancing on the curb while buses wheezed to a stop nearby either.

Reaching Out to RIOC

I took a couple of quick pictures and forwarded them to RIOC, including VP Shelton Haynes and President Susan Rosenthal.

"Why is this being allowed?"

It should come as no surprise to anyone here that there was no response. That's just RIOC being RIOC.

Quicker than most, a partial fix was in place in just a few hours.
Quicker than most, a partial fix was in place in just a few hours.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

But three hours later, a flash in Roosevelt Island reaction time, the situation had been partially resolved.

I don't know whether to thank Manhattan Park, the construction foreman whose rudeness stiffened into caution when he saw me snapping some photos, RIOC, a combination or none of the above. But by 3:00, temporary fencing was up to protect people needing to pass by 40 River Road.

True, there is no curb cut or ramp for wheelchairs and strollers, but it's a start and a rare quick response.

Note: a half-hour later, my sense of accomplishment withered when I was forced to dodge Fuji East's delivery guy racing down the sidewalk on an eBike. Again. He looked baffled when I asked him what the hell he was doing on the sidewalk. Can someone responsible please tell him or contact the restaurant's management before someone gets hurt?