Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In

Roosevelt Island Leadership Quashes Proposed Bike Ban on Bridge Ramp

It looks like bicycles aren't going to be banned from the Roosevelt Island Bridge helix ramp after all.

Too dangerous for Roosevelt Island? Image: Frank Farance/YouTube
This won't be banned anytime soon. Image: Frank Farance/YouTube
Too dangerous for Roosevelt Island? Image: Frank Farance/YouTube

Last night, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, the state authority that manages the island, held a meeting of its operations advisory committee, reports the Roosevelt Islander blog. Its members came to an agreement that without a viable alternative for getting between the bridge and ground level, banning bicycles from the helix ramp wouldn't be feasible.

"I don't really think it's safe for cyclists to be on the helix because of the nature of car and truck traffic on there. The problem is we need to come up with a viable alternative," said RIOC Director Michael Shinozaki, who suggested repairing the long-dormant escalator within the Motorgate parking garage. No one at last night's meeting knew why the escalator had been shut down for years, but RIOC President Charlene Indelicato said Cornell Tech, which is building a campus on the island, has agreed to investigate possible escalator repairs.

Until then, RIOC will study striping and signage to calm traffic on the helix. Bike New York, which has worked with RIOC to offer bicycle education courses, offered to distribute flyers to cyclists about how to properly ride on the helix. The group also provided recommendations to RIOC about improving helix safety, including speed enforcement, signage, sharrows, and education of construction truck drivers working at the Cornell Tech campus.

Frank Farance, a Roosevelt Island Residents Association public safety committee member, also offered a 24-page report about bike safety on the helix ramp, in addition to a video of Bike New York leading cyclists down the ramp, which he claims is inherently dangerous behavior.

Members of RIOC leadership, who regularly referred to cyclists during the nearly 30-minute conversation as "they," seemed to fear potential backlash from banning cyclists. "Banning is not going to work," Indelicato said. "We don't have the manpower to enforce it, and secondly I think there are a lot of groups -- not Bike New York -- who protest these things feeling it is some sort of infringement on peoples' rights."

Over the summer, the public safety committee of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association, which plays an advisory role on the island, unanimously passed a resolution requesting that RIOC ban cyclists from the helix ramp. Although it now looks unlikely RIOC will support that request, it will still go before the residents association's common council meeting, scheduled for 8 p.m. tonight at Chapel of the Good Shepherd, 543 Main Street on Roosevelt Island.

The RIOC board of directors meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Main Street Theatre, 548 Main Street.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Friday’s Headlines: Hochul’s Fantasy World Edition

The governor has gone off the deep end. Plus other news.

July 19, 2024

Speaker Adams: Council May Not Use its ‘Sammy’s Law’ Power to Lower Speed Limits

The Council may not lower the speed limit, even though it fought so hard to get that very right from the state legislature.

July 19, 2024

Parks Dept. Has Money But No Timeline to Finish Eastern Queens Greenway

There's tens of millions of dollars for the greenway, so when will parks build it?

July 19, 2024

Thursday’s Headlines: Paris is a Lot Cooler than NYC Edition

The City of Light has figured out how to reduce the heat island effect. Plus other news in today's daily digest.

July 18, 2024

Exclusive: Legal Team Announced for Suit Against Hochul’s Congestion Pricing ‘Pause’

Attorneys from three firms have inked a joint defense agreement to fight "the governor’s illegal decision to cancel congestion pricing," Comptroller Brad Lander said.

July 17, 2024
See all posts