Commuter, and Leisure Travel, Issues Remain Unresolved

Courtesy of New NY Bridge Outreach Team

Courtesy of New NY Bridge Outreach Team

Remember the June transit task force meeting?

Proposed suggestions drew surprise, curiosity and some concern during the three-hour session at Dominican College. “Where it (mass transit) connects is less important than how it connects,” Trent Lethco, AICP, principal at ARUP engineering, told the group.

Lethco had suggested two routes in Rockland County and three in Westchester County, based upon earlier data and travel patterns that included expanding the TappanZEExpress service to White Plains Train Station via I-287’s Exit 5 — bypassing Tarrytown Train Station, and alleviating added traffic on Broadway.

Last month’s meeting had its own concerns, as did yesterday’s, which evoked strong reactions from several attendees.

Lethco showed charts about travel patterns and delays that agreed with task force members’ experiences on I-287, including that morning. His team — which drove in the corridor Tuesdays through Thursdays last month for only 12 days — was forced to slow down considerably, he said, from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., eastbound between Exits 9 and 5.

And ARUP finally got it.

“I’m dismayed because there’s no room to get transit priority (no space),” Lethco said. “We realized what people were saying about a problem at the interchange.”

Exit 5′s two-lane ramp feeds into often-crowded Route 119; I blogged about it three months ago. “This raises a question about Tarrytown to White Plains,” he said. “There is no place to chip away more space.”

Tarrytown Mayor Drew Fixell asked for a breakdown of traffic congestion; Lethco said he would expand the charts to include time frames.

Is 12 days enough time to observe traffic patterns, and, based upon those observations, make crucial decisions that will affect local, regional, and most likely state, transportation?

Proposals for two bus routes in Rockland County, and three in Westchester County, would expand the TappanZEExpress service to White Plains Train Station.

Proposals for two bus routes in Rockland County, and three in Westchester County, would expand the TappanZEExpress service to White Plains Train Station.

Note: The July meeting was postponed; in August, ARUP planner Anthony Durante dissected those routes into categories (needs) and concepts “packaged into groups that made sense” for short, medium and long-term plans, defined as:

  • Short-term is January 2014 through completion of the new bridge
  • Mid-term is 15 years after completion of the new bridge (2018 to 2033)
  • Long-term is more than 15 years after completion (2033 and beyond)

Business Council of Westchester president and CEO Marsha Gordon objected to bus routes ending at White Plains Train Station, omitting a good stretch of the I-287 corridor and the Platinum Mile. Lack of HOV/HOT lanes in short-term plans got the attention of Tri-State Transportation Campaign Executive Director Veronica Vanterpool.

They’d have to wait until 2033, as would west-of-Hudson rail improvements. Harriet Cornell, Chairwoman, Rockland County Legislature, felt postponing those improvements insulted the county, and said the Rockland-Manhattan market needs a Tarrytown connector in short-term plans.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority director of special project development and planning William Wheeler raised the important point that buses are recycled. “If a bus going one way doesn’t work (is slowed in traffic), it all (plan) doesn’t work,” he said. Near the end of the meeting, he reiterated they (ARUP) hadn’t thought through bus recycling, and the reality of the situation.

Commuters who buy roundtrip tickets from White Plains Train Station return to that station at the end of the day. Westbound traffic begins early, especially during holidays, and yesterday — Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow had respective Halloween events.

It remains to be seen if Tarrytown will be reconsidered as the Rockland-Manhattan commuter connector for Metro North.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2013

2 comments so far

  1. Ferrett62 on

    It remains to be seen if Tarrytown will be reconsidered as the Rockland-Manhattan commuter connector for Metro North.

    I’d like to know what you think

    Build a train station @ Lyndhurst castle…

    nothing has been mentioned about this strategic site: it’s almost equal distance between the existing Tarrytown & Irvington MNRR stations and an easier point of access from the bridge than Tarrytown or White Plains train stations. On top of that a series of paved driveways currently exist on this site btwn 9A & the MNRR tracks situated along the Hudson, which I imagine could be widened to accommodate mid-sized buses. The site can also cater to not only commuters but regional tourists as well, making it the Hudson Valley’s version of Wave Hill.

    What am I missing here, non-interest from the MTA, historical site exclusions to build such n’ such??

    Liked by 1 person

    • nykeypad on

      Thank you for your comments and ideas, which encourage using transit. Another stop at Lyndhurst is attractive; however, Lyndhurst is part of the Historic Commons zone (no building there, or widening the driveways on its property). The Wave Hill reference is interesting; that estate is not private.

      Per someone close to mass transit planning for the region, ridership would have to justify another train stop; additionally, Metro North has critical switching facilities on the Hudson Line that would not work elsewhere.

      There are two populations to consider: Rockland-to-Manhattan commuters, and leisure travelers who, while not pressured by a train schedule, need effective, reliable transportation within their respective counties, and the region. Mass Transit Task Force meetings since February 2013 have been open to the public, which has an opportunity to address the group prior to the session’s conclusion. The next meeting is November 22 (location TBD).

      Like


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