Was a RIOC driver as reckless as a furious and frustrated resident says? We can’t know for sure, but some facts are known. And they don’t reflect well on RIOC.
“They almost hit the stroller with my two kids in it,” Moustafa Elsayed wrote in an email. “And he kept going towards 560 breezeway, then stopped only because I started yelling and cursing at him.”
The 30 year Roosevelt Islander was still upset, an hour after the incident.
“All parents need to take care,” he fumed. “RIOC needs to respond to this incident ASAP.”
“ITS ALL FUN AND GAMES UNTILL SOMEBODY GETS HURT.”
“What if a kid was running or on a bike? Or a blind or deaf person or a person walking with a pet? What then?”
Here’s what we know, and, yes, it’s one-sided. But RIOC declined to give their side of the story. The Daily’s email to multiple executives did not generate a response overnight.
Late Saturday afternoon, Elsayed, his wife and their two children were about to enter the East Promenade when a RIOC pickup nearly smashed into their stroller.
Elsayed believes the driver’s speed was over 15 mile per hour and that he wasn’t looking out for pedestrians. The family was entering the roadway behind 556 and 560 Main Street.
Incident to Outrage
Even on a lazy Saturday afternoon, dangerous situations arise. Any parent believing his or her child is endangered will react. That’s a given.
But what should we expect from public servants?
Courtesy, at least, right?
RIOC sometimes fails to be the adult in the room, and here, they did it again.
RIOC’s truck driver did not stop until Elsayed yelled at him, and then, instead of acting to deescalate, he blew the residents off.
According to Elsayed, the driver accused him of “exaggerating.”
Think about this for a minute. Why exaggerate? What was there to gain? Why not acknowledge the parent’s understandable exasperation, apologize and move on?
A sturdy pickup truck on a roadway unprotected by stop signs is a hazard in the works. Extra caution is a no-brainer, except with RIOC’s driver who too often act like outsiders annoyed with obstacles. Like pedestrians and other residents.
Was RIOC’s Driver Reckless?
You bet he was, if not for how he handled his vehicle, then for his attitude.
Irritating an already upset parent by blaming him is childish and unprofessional.
Again, I remind you, this is just one side of the story, but that’s because RIOC declined to offer any balance.
And you might as well take for granted that, given the driver’s attitude, nothing will change.
And it went from bad to worse…
A second RIOC driver made it worse after the first blamed Elsayed for not “checking the roadway.”
Pulling to a stop behind Elsayed’s shopping cart, a second driver “started saying, “Move out the way. You’re obstructing traffic.”
That’s “what actually pushed me to the limit,” Elsayed said.
His wife immediately filed a complaint with Public Safety.
The email from Moustafa Elsayed hit my inbox just 24 hours after I had a conversation with PSD acting chief Kevin Brown.
Friday afternoon, I watched a RIOC pickup like the one in the Elsayed incident roll straight through a pair of Main Street stop signs.
It wasn’t exactly an isolated incident. RIOC drivers of all vehicles can be witnessed doing this every day.
The difference, this time, was that I ran into acting chief Brown a short distance later.
To Brown’s credit — he’s always a standup guy — he didn’t make excuses or deny anything. He knows what many of the RIOC drivers are doing.
It’s not all of them, not by any means, but it’s far too many.
What’s worse is RIOC, from the top down, is helpless to do anything about it.
It goes on unabated.
Roosevelt Island residents share Moustafa Elsayed’s frustration and fear. If RIOC can’t control its employees, who can?
And how soon before a near miss becomes a solid hit?