By Gabriela Resto-Montero
ROOSEVELT ISLAND — Residents have watched cabs for the Roosevelt Island Tram running for safety tests, but they're still waiting for the tram to reopen.
The project to modernize and upgrade the tram system began in March and is in its final stages. Officials expect the tram to be back in service in late November. For residents who have had to rely on the F train and buses, the tram's return can't come soon enough.
"We definitely need it," said Greg Alcock, 30, a resident who takes the F train to work in Midtown. "To have just one train is a hassle."
With its direct access to East 59th Street, the tramway was a convenient way to get into the city, said Amy Lauren, 41, a resident.
"One of the reasons we moved here was the ease of getting into Manhattan," said Lauren, who has lived on Roosevelt Island for four months.
Other neighbors said the tramway's opening would relieve them of inconvenient trips up and down subway stairs.
"Everybody will be relieved, especially the moms with strollers," said Francisca Mende, 28, who has had a hard time carrying her 18-month-old son in his stroller up and down the escalator at the Roosevelt Island F train stop.
"If the elevators aren't working, we don't leave the island," Mende said.
In March, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation announced that the tram would be out of commission for "approximately six months." In September, Roosevelt Island officials said they expected the tram upgrades would be completed by Oct. 15. They said then that the tram would reopen some time in November.
"We certainly don't want to rush safety," said Rosina Abramson, vice-president of planning and intergovernmental affairs for the island.
Jane Deckoff, 73, said she travels to Roosevelt Island once a week to play tennis at the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club and the F train steps have been murder on her knees.
But Deckoff said she's looking forward to the tramway's opening for another reason.
"It's just a nicer trip," she said, "and a prettier view."