ADA, go to hell! That’s the message, loud and clear, from Roosevelt Island. Once the “City of Tomorrow,” it’s now the “Village of We Don’t Care” for the disabled and frail.
Update 8-21-2019: After a walk through this morning, RIOC emailed, “They’ve been told to repair this ASAP to make it ADA accessible. We’re holding them accountable.
But as we so often find, reality is not what the authorities say it is. Here’s the scene at 3:00 p.m.
Street level construction at 40 River Road in Manhattan Park was a problem from the start.
Over two weeks ago, a contractor told me, “You can walk on the curb,” when I found the sidewalk blocked. I objected, and he offered to carry me.
I had three concerns:
- Could he really hoist 185 pounds?
- What were physically challenged residents and visitors supposed to do? Wait to be carried?
- Was Manhattan Park permanently eliminating a stretch of sidewalk without any alternative?
And if this guy was that rude to me, 6′ 2″ and 185 pounds, what chance did a stroller mom or a guy in a wheelchair stand?
Hounded for 5 Days, RIOC Acts
Five days after we published a photo of a wheelchair navigating Main Street like a car because the sidewalk was gone…
…RIOC sent PSD acting chief Kevin Brown to check things out.
Brown ordered Manhattan Park to build an alternative, ADA compliant passage. They did, but it was half-assed.
They installed a cheap, plywood ramp that allows wheelchairs to get through, but they left a barely passable pothole, obstructing travel for some, in the middle of the detour.
Not a single sign directed anyone to a safe passage in any direction.
Still, RIOC green-lighted the work, even without a permit, and got out of the way.
Until we pointed out that the whole project may lack permits from the Department of Buildings. And did anyone ask the Department of Transportation for an okay to take-over the roadway?
Yesterday, RIOC reported finding an approved permit on the DOB website, although none are posted at the work location, as required. At the same time, RIOC signed a permit of its own, according to a spokesperson.
But what about ADA compliance?
“We’ve told them the ramp needs to be compliant but they have not responded yet. They will,” RIOC promised.
But the situation got worse, instead, and it’s RIOC’s contractor’s fault.
Crown Castle, a contractor hired by the State, began dumping slurry from a cable laying project into the alternative sidewalk. It flooded the plywood ramp and left a gray pool where it overran the nearest drain.
Crown Castle is already responsible for the ugly, monster streetlights abusing Good Shepherd Plaza and other locations.
ADA go to hell…! And then some.
This morning, the situation worsened. Wheelchairs are again forced into Main Street, and a hose set up to detour the slurry crosses the ramp, blocking safe passage in either direction.
And a saw operator spews grit and water at anyone walking by.
Crown Castle crews, early today, built an obstacle course for pedestrians, wheelchairs and stroller moms.
There still aren’t any useful signs, and anyone finding a crosswalk in the direction of the arrow gets a reward.
Bottom line: The area is even less ADA compliant than it was before.
Sometimes, you just throw up your hands, but credit where credit’s due, RIOC acted swiftly this morning. They appear ready to put some muscle into a commitment, but not until next week…
In the meantime, you are on your own. Be careful.
What’s it going to take to get this right?