Train to Nowhere for Transit Woes?

Formed in December 2012, the Mass Transit Task Force — co-chaired by Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas J. Madison and DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald — has been brainstorming county-specific and regional solutions.

What will be the final transit recommendations?/Courtesy of LEGO® City Public Transport

What will be the final transit recommendations?/Courtesy of LEGO® City Public Transport

In February (its third, and first open, meeting), members agreed that peak and rush hour travel times are gone; commuters ride the rails — and reverse commute — days, nights, and weekends, partly because of expanding health care, education and technology.

Several holidays after its November (and most recent) meeting, the group is ready to roll up its sleeves once again.

Since last year, I’ve been writing that the transit task force is getting closer to solutions — and it is, via a process. It was on a roll in early 2013, and had potential answers, followed by changed minds, dissatisfaction, revival of the ramp idea, and realizations.

We’ve been told, “The New NY Bridge will reduce congestion, increase driver safety, and create a new foundation for mass transit in the region.”

Courtesy of the New NY Bridge

Courtesy of the New NY Bridge

We can attest to traffic jams that stretch across I-287 as far back as Exit 8 in White Plains, and beyond. And we know the current bridge has no mass transit capability.

When his suggestions were met with surprise, curiosity and some concern during the June meeting, Trent Lethco, AICP, principal at ARUP engineering, told the group, “Where it (mass transit) connects is less important than how it connects.”

I have an idea.

Put the bus transfer station idea back on the table, and include a train (shuttle) across the bridge. Future rail service is integrated into the new bridge’s design; why does it have to extend beyond the bridge? It would take people from landing to landing, where they’d meet their respective buses.

Is it feasible? There would be need for a small station on the Rockland side, too; however I bet these will cost a fraction of a regional rail system, and allow greater bus service flexibility within each county. Which authority would oversee the rail service? That’s another consideration.

How close is the group to finding transit options for two counties, the region — including local airports, and Amtrak — for 2018, when the new bridge opens, and beyond? Maybe it can start with a train to nowhere.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

2 comments so far

  1. […] LLC (TZC) began its second year on the clock, our toes froze, and the Mass Transit Task force was one meeting away from our travel futures. A monorail would have been […]

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  2. […] begin its second year on the clock (and is now approaching the start of its third), and there were several transit options for the new bridge and the […]

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