Village Seeks Help from Albany re SUP Terminus

Let’s talk turkey. Not Thanksgiving turkey.

Not In My Backyard: South Nyack Residents protest the terminus that will end in their neighborhood/John Cameron

Not In My Backyard: South Nyack residents protest the terminus that will end in their neighborhood/John Cameron

Disappointed that the state is moving forward with plans for the shared use path terminus without the meeting residents have anticipated since last spring, South Nyack Mayor Bonnie Christian and elected officials gathered in front of Village Hall today to criticize project officials’ decision for South Broadway and Cornelison Avenue.

“The shared use path is a critical issue for South Nyack,” Christian said. “A major tourist destination is planned, and we need the governor to review the plan for the terminus so that it meets the needs of those using it while protecting the character and integrity of the village.”

“Shocked is an appropriate word,” Legislator Nancy Low-Hogan said, concerned. “I’m really disappointed and hoping there’s more to the story that I haven’t heard yet. It’s not a good location, there were other plans for other entrances, and this (decision) raises a lot of questions.”

Engineers were studying the  NNYB_Rockland_Concepts_20141125-3.

bridge studyAfter months of intensive questionnaires and data collection for the parking demand study, it was determined that the Westchester side needed 97 parking spaces, and the Rockland side needed 54.

From the start, the village maintained the terminus can only be successful if done in conjunction with its plans for redevelopment, Planning Board Chairman Jerry Ilowite said. This is precisely why the village was awarded a $250,000 grant from the $20 million Community Benefits Program to study how to best develop the 25-acre parcel (Interchange 10).

Interchange concept suggested by resident Greg Toolan

Interchange concept suggested by resident Greg Toolan

Greg Toolan, a land surveyor and member of the South Nyack Task Force, was concerned about the intersection’s engineering and submitted one of the concepts — a reworked plan for Exit 10 at a cost of nearly $9 million ($8,850,000). It would put parking at Interchange 10 and on Route 9W Bridge, and connect to the SUP via a closed on-ramp to the Thruway eastbound. Toolan “designed it to maintain the 14-acre staging area, and the on- and off-ramps, and when the project is done, you can give something back to the village.” It was the second most expensive concept; the first cost $9,400.000.

The state said no.

“We have been working collaboratively with South Nyack, its task force and other stakeholders for months on this issue and — at the village’s request — the project team already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to relocate the end of the shared use path once,” special project advisor Brian Conybeare said.

The village liked this concept, which would cost $3,300,000

The village liked this concept, which would cost $3,300,000

“Now the mayor wants to move it again, at an estimated cost of nearly $10 million, and her plan would require a year-long closure of the South Broadway Bridge in the heart of the village, disrupting traffic and emergency services,” Conybeare said.

He reasoned the state sees no reason to opt for a plan that would cost taxpayers highly, only to find that it may have to be redone in the future once the village decides its plans for the Interchange. “While we will continue to work with the village on reasonable solutions, we also have a responsibility to protect taxpayers and tollpayers,” he said.

Each of the concepts will undergo an environmental review, same as the bridge project. While the twin spans, shared use path and its terminus will be open in 2018, South Nyack only recently released its Request for Proposal (RFP) to conduct a feasibility study.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

Seeing the Tappan Zee Bridge in a New Light

Last week, I wrote about Team Outreach’s visit to two elementary schools in Nyack. The kids loved the presentations, and two parents said they’d like more programs about the bridge project in school.

Community Relations Specialist Dan Marcy speaking to 3rd graders at Liberty Elementary School/NNYB Outreach

Community Relations Specialist Dan Marcy speaking to 3rd graders at Liberty Elementary School/NNYB Outreach

Parents and teachers wrote on Facebook that the presentation was a success, and the kids loved it. “Wow! I hope you can expand it to a walking tour,” one commented. Wait until you read what Liberty Elementary School 3rd grade teacher Marjan Perry said about the visit to her class. “We’re learning about it, and we take ownership of ‘our side of the river,’” Perry said. A new Journeys Common Core reading program introduced her class to two new books.

“In the fictional one (Pop’s Bridge by Eve Bunting), two fathers are friends, and their two kids are arguing about whose parent — worker or painter — has the more important job,” she said. This led to them learning all jobs on the bridge are important.

“The nonfiction book (Bridges by Matthew Danzeris) is about types of bridge, and my class is fascinated with bridges in general,” Perry said. “Dan showed the slide and PowerPoint presentations, and told us why we need a bridge, and talked about traffic and current construction on the bridge.”

Screen shot of falcon nest box via specially-placed camera

Screen shot of falcon nest box via specially-placed camera

They got a kick from seeing what the bridge will look like with cutouts (of cars and vehicles), and the question and answer time.

“A Solid Foundation,” year two of a five-year educational plan that corresponds with the project’s timetable, talks about the materials used to build the bridge’s foundations, illustrating via animations. Her class also learned about protecting the environment, including endangered sturgeon and peregrine falcons.

“They kids also liked seeing pictures of the cranes working, and the construction camera views, and the falcon nest,” Perry said. And they were mesmerized by the time-lapse video of progress to date. “It felt like they had a deep local connection because some of them cross the bridge with their parents.”

Her thoughts? After living in Rockland County for 20 years, she said, “I won’t ever go over the bridge without thinking like this again.”

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

Lane Closures Tonight thru Tomorrow A.M. Only

This a.m. via EarthCam® construction camera in Tarrytown

This a.m. via EarthCam® construction camera in Tarrytown

“Walk between the raindrops,” mom would say. And still does. If you’re driving in them today, you’ll want to watch out for three northbound lanes on I-87/I-287 to apply lane markers and shift lanes:

• From Monday (tonight) at 11 p.m. to (Tuesday) tomorrow at 4:30 am. — from Exit 9 to and including Exit 10 (closed at 10 p.m.). Only one lane will be open. Use Exit 11, then follow signs to Routes 9W and 59.

Rain or snow means all best are off, and plans move to Tuesday night.

Thanksgiving Day this week means no lane closures from Wednesday to next week, thanks to Governor Cuomo’s Drivers First Initiative. There’s more:

• From tonight at 8 p.m. to tomorrow at 4:30 a.m., and again from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. — to remove part of the Westchester landing and make room for construction.

And pile driving for the new foundations is from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays; occasionally, from 12 noon to 7 p.m. on Saturdays.

Details, including pile driving and boater safety, are the November 21 press release. Check out the Coast Guard’s weekly Local Notice to Mariners, excerpted and in its entirety, listed under Boater Safety Information on the New NY Bridge website. A LNM primer is here.

Stay safe!

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

TZC President Honored with “Good Scout” Award

Good Scout Honorees Jeff Loughlin, Jeff Randolph and Darrell Waters/Photo: WPC

Honorees Jeff Loughlin, Jeff Randolph & Darrell Waters/WPC

Members of the labor, real estate, and construction industries honored Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC’s) President Darrell E. Waters with the “Good Scout” Award Wednesday. Waters, a Senior Vice President of Fluor Enterprises, is also Project Director of TZC and brings more than 40 years of high‐level construction industry management experience to the New NY Bridge venture.

Darrell Waters updates reporters during a July media boat tour/© Janie Rosman 2014

Darrell Waters speaking with reporters during a July media boat tour of the NNYB project site /© Janie Rosman 2014

He holds a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering and M.S. in Civil Engineering and Construction Management from Stanford University. He and his wife of 33 years, Jenene, have two grown sons.

Also honored were Jeff Loughlin (Local 137 IU Operating Engineers) and Jeff Randolph (PepsiCo). The celebratory evening raised close to $200,000 for the Westchester-Putnam Council, Boy Scouts of America.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

Report faults handling of TZ Loan loan approval

Now-familiar sight greets motorists/© Janie Rosman 2014

Now-familiar sight greets motorists/© Janie Rosman 2014

By MICHAEL VIRTANEN, Associated Press
Updated 3:17 pm, Thursday, November 20, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A New York oversight office on Thursday criticized the way a state board approved loans for a new Tappan Zee Bridge, concluding members ignored federal concerns that led the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reject most of the $511 million sought.

The Environmental Facilities Corp.’s directors authorized low-interest federal clean-water funding for Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s signature public works project in June.

The board had been directly notified by the EPA a day earlier about concerns and should have waited until federal questions were resolved, the state Authorities Budget Office said in its Thursday report. EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck specified federal officials hadn’t approved New York’s “unconventional” approach and questioned how the construction project would improve water quality.

The Cuomo administration proposed using that money to mitigate damage to the lower Hudson River and its wildlife from building two new bridges and later demolishing the old one.

Environmental groups opposed the bridge loans, saying the EFC’s revolving fund is meant for sewer upgrades and clean water projects. They filed a complaint about the EFC board‘s actions, requesting the oversight review.

The report noted that EFC directors were initially briefed about the proposal behind closed doors last year, that their “lack of transparency” contributed to the complaint and that they didn’t open the process for public comment.

EFC spokesman Jon Sorensen said the oversight report correctly determined that the board upheld its fiduciary responsibility and protected the revolving fund’s assets but contained inaccuracies and omissions. He said staff made a detailed public presentation before the board vote and the board actually approved only half the loan amount.

The board in July formally authorized a $256 million, five-year, no-interest loan, postponing a vote on a second $256 million loan at 4 percent interest.

Cuomo is appealing the EPA’s approval of only $29 million in Tappan Zee borrowing from the environmental fund. He said the $3.9 billion bridge replacement is continuing with or without those loans. Its funding already includes a $1.6 billion low-interest federal loan.

Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of Environmental Advocates, said communities across the state are struggling to fund crumbling sewage and drinking water systems while the Cuomo administration worked secretly for a year trying to divert $500 million of that money to help fund a new bridge.

Joe Martens, the state’s conservation commissioner, said Thursday that based on the EFC staff’s legal and program analysis, he’s confident the loans are eligible and appropriate.


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