Traffic, Shoulder Lanes and a Disappearing River

Bridge disappears into this rainy, foggy day/Tarrytown EarthCam® construction camera

Bridge disappears into this rainy, foggy day/Tarrytown EarthCam® construction camera

Lucky the left shoulder lane was wide enough for the emergency vehicle to pass through easily. I heard the siren before I saw the lights in my rear view mirror and looked for an opening to change lanes.

Too soon I blamed the building westbound traffic on an accident; cars and trucks started to bunch near Exit 8 in White Plains, much too soon for 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon. The traffic broke near Exit 3: no accident or other emergency vehicles in sight. Smooth ride to the bridge, when the landscape and river disappeared.

A few cars slowed considerably; maybe the lack of anything familiar except gray air was disconcerting. I saw the tops of cranes, and that was it until I was off the bridge and near Exit 10. The trees reappeared under clouds that seemed to find a comfortable place to rest. It was eery like the time I drove into a rainstorm and then drove out of it.

What happens when the new bridge opens with four lanes in each direction yet the highway retains its three? Emergency vehicles will straddle the shoulder lane as they do now when there’s traffic.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

Thinking about College and Smiling at Memories

carA recent blog post about getting people out of their cars and into public transportation made me think about my first car.

I was at a local community college studying nutrition. Don’t know what made me think science in college was easier than science in high school (read: difficult for me); however, nutrition required science. And two days at local hospitals planning meals for patients with special food needs to apply what we learned in class.

Friends gave me rides to the various facilities we visited; eventually, though, I needed wheels.

No one wanted an aqua car; no wonder. The birds loved it and found it wherever I parked at Westchester Community College; tar leaked on the inside window into the light interior panel. It was a 1978 Mustang with real chrome, and I could fill the tank for $5. It also has an even-numbered license plate, my luck when gas was rationed by odd-even days.

After three semesters of nutrition I switched to journalism and found my niche. I had a great group of friends and worked on the school paper and the yearbook, had my first love and my first heartbreak. His family moved to White Plains from San Jose; he’d graduated from White Plains High School and went to WCC.

Across the hall (in the basement of the student union) from The Viking (school paper) was WARY-FM, the other place to be. We had a blast. And I fell for Steve.

More than one year later he said goodbye in the parking lot. I could recall that moment each time I was at the campus. “I’m going back to California,” he said one balmy Friday afternoon in June. I froze.

Fast forward a few months later; his family moved back, and he stayed another semester at school and lived with friends nearby. Our December goodbye was final. I thought.

He wrote long letters telling me about northern California, talking about music and bands and what he was doing, and that he missed me and New York. I missed him so much.

Our birthdays are six months apart to the day; we joked about that. The following October — it was near the end of the month since my parents’ anniversary is October 23, and they were away for the weekend — the downstairs buzzer rang Saturday night.

Not expecting anyone, I asked who it was and heard a familiar voice. OMIGOSH!

He was in town with friends to see a football game the next day, and he wanted to see me. We spent the next hours in the city with his friends till near dawn, and they drove me home. This time it really was goodbye.

The following year I started Pace University as a junior.

Certain songs remind me of that time 35 years ago. I remember when he had a wisdom tooth pulled and smile when I drive past a certain house in White Plains across the street from the golf course. Memories do last forever.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

Using Transit Oriented Development to Plan Sustainable Futures

Rockland PLUS

Creatively thinking about future solutions/NNYB Outreach

How to build economically and socially vibrant communities that ensure a healthy environment today…and for years to come? How can transit-oriented development help create these sustainable communities? How will today’s youth help shape an exciting future?

Working with mentors including New NY Bridge project officials, students answered these questions at the 2015 Rockland P.L.U.S. (Planning Land Use with Students) symposium, its 10th anniversary at Rockland Community College. Despite the first-day-of-spring snowstorm — resulting in fewer student presenters — Pearl River remained enthusiastic as did the close to 30 professionals who mentored their projects.

They undertake a land-use planning seminar with experts talking about sustainability, alternate methods of transportation, etc. and study Interchange 14 (where it intersects with Route 59 and the long-term parking area). Then they study the downtown area where they live: how to improve it, add trains, buses, mixed-use development, etc., and present their ideas for improvement.

Rockland PLUS1

Team confers/NNYB Outreach

“Rockland P.L.U.S. introduces high school students to concepts in sustainable planning, asking, ‘What kind of community would you want to build if you could start from the beginning?’ ‘What would be the needs and wants of people in your community at all ages and stages of life?’” Keep Rockland Beautiful Executive Director Sonia Cairo said.

The weather prevented students from participating in the second half of their planning sessions for Spring Valley, which keyed into corridor recommendations made by the mass transit task force.

Each mentor critiques the presentation, a learning experience as students learn about land use, planning and sustainability. — New NY Bridge Public Outreach Administrator Andy O’Rourke

Talking with mentors after presentations/NNYB Outreach

Talking with mentors after presentations/NNYB Outreach

Students benefitted from immediate feedback after sharing their ideas. “The mentors listened carefully, giving their unique expertise to help students shape a sustainable plan for the community and balances social, economic, and environmental needs,” she said.

This year and last year students did an environmental redesign of the Pascack Valley Line and the Bergen County Line (NJ Transit).

“We started talking about healthy transit hubs to get people out of their cars and using mass transit more, and then we talked about the new bridge,” Cairo said. “We introduced ‘green’ concepts and had students think about some of the things they’d want to add to the stations. They were asked to visit their local train station and take four pictures of the station:

(1) What does it feel like to be at this station?
(2) What do you think needs to be removed from the station?
(3) What needs to stay or needs to be enhanced?
(4) What can you do here if you had 30 minutes before your train arrived?

Their two-month project culminated with an array of photos as students guessed which pictures fit into which category.

Rockland P.L.U.S. is a partnership of Columbia University Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Keep Rockland Beautiful, Rockland Conservation and Service Corps and SUNY Rockland Community College, and is made possible by support from event sponsors Orange & Rockland, Frank and Joanne Gumper and First Niagara Bank, as well as Airport Executive Park, Behan Planning and Design, Ira M Emanuel, P.C., and Inserra Supermarkets.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

This is Not the Last Exit Before the Bridge

Dateline — Saturday morning after a snowstorm en route to a meeting in Tarrytown. Roads are clear (I waited a bit since they were icy where I live), the sky is clear. Why this?

visibilty1

To whoever is driving this car, how long does it take to wipe the back window?

This person was outdone by someone a few exits later. A dark blue car with no hub caps zipping along at 60 miles per hour suddenly slowed to 30 miles per hour. I was a distance behind and heard horns honking. The car that slowed had no working brake lights. What? No lights?

Its driver moved into the right lane toward Exit 1, changed his/her mind once on the exit ramp, stopped again, then crossed left into the marked-off area. I bet he or she was looking for Exit 9 off the Thruway, the last exit before the bridge.

I’ll give this person credit for not backing up. Have you ever been behind a driver who drives onto an exit ramp, changes his/her mind, puts the car in reverse and backs out to the highway? Happened to me twice last summer.

Which brings me to another point: signs.

We who travel 287 know Exit 1 to Route 119 (White Plains Road) is not the last exit before the bridge. A little courtesy for other drivers, please, and what about safety? It is NOT safe to back up if you take an exit ramp and then change your mind. And if you cross the marked-off area to re-enter the highway, then please use your left-turn signal so those behind you know what you’re doing.

I suggest the Thruway Authority add a “Not the Last Exit Before Bridge” sign at Exit 1 off 287 for people unfamiliar with the area.

Just saying.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

Protecting, Defending – Learning about the NNYB

CAP members meet with project officials/NNYB Outreach

CAP members meet with project officials/NNYB Outreach

Last month Civil Air Patrol members got a first-hand look at the New NY Bridge project when Maj. Joseph E. Wooley’s squad and group commanders from Catskill Mountain (from Rockland County to Sullivan County) and New York City converged in Westchester.

An auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, CAP falls under the Department of Defense; its primary mission areas are are emergency services, aerospace education and cadet programs. During Hurricane Sandy, CAP took pictures for FEMA, which the agency used for its purpose.

Last September Wooley assumed command of the New York Wing’s South Eastern Group at the Westchester County Airport. Headquartered at Westchester County Airport, the group is comprised of eight squadrons encompassing Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties.

“We were formed in 1941, one week before Pearl Harbor, because they realized many of the people flying airplanes would be flying them overseas and realized they’d have an issue with guarding the (United States) coast,” he explained, adding, “members flew their own planes then.”

CAP’s aerospace education mission is to make presentations to schools and civic organizations. Its cadet program is for ages 12 to 18 years old; some remain until age 21, and many become senior members while in college.

One of its milestones is when cadets become officers and receive the Mitchell Award. “It’s akin to the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Scouts Awards. We’ve also had several Spaatz cadets here,” Wooley explained, referring to the General Carl ‘Tooey’ Spaatz Award that must be presented by either a member of congress or a flag officer.

In December, Speaker of the House John Boehner presented the Congressional Gold Medal to CAP National Commander Maj. Gen. Joe Vazquez and former U.S. Rep. Lester Wolff, who served in CAP’s New York Wing during the war.

“We had a lot of questions about the project,” Wooley said. “It always amazes me when a public works project is brought in on time, and they’re a little bit ahead of where they anticipated.”

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

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