Archive for January, 2015|Monthly archive page

South Nyack Mayor Continues to Protest Concepts

Earlier today I had a conversation that changed my thinking.

in focus

After I hung up the phone I made a call and made amends for (fill in the blank) because I felt it was the right thing to do. It felt right inside, and I did it. And vowed not to repeat (fill in the blank) again.

What does this have to do with South Nyack?

A village that was torn apart 60 years ago is speaking out against the state and its own village officials, who need to be transparent. Instead of further separating, make amends: have public meetings with constituents and keep records (take minutes). Every minute counts.

FACT: The project is now in year three, and the bridge builder is on a schedule. It may not be South Nyack’s schedule; however, it is a schedule that will not waiver.

FACT: South Nyack was granted money for the feasibility study per the Mass Transit Task Force recommendations last February.

FACT: Nine months later the village released its Request for Proposal (RFP) to conduct a feasibility study with a December 31 deadline. The project continues whether or not the village does its study.

Lines are drawn more deeply in the sand as South Nyack Mayor Bonnie Christian continues to protest what the state is doing. In her recent update (1/29/15), Christian wrote:

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“Statements in the postcard misrepresented the position of both the Task Force and Village Trustees as we sought to find better solutions for the location of the terminus. Village officials believed that possible locations needed to be presented to the residents before any parking solutions could be considered.”

South Nyack residents feel the information — which discusses improvements to the dangerous turn, traffic and parking options, and exit 10 redevelopment — flies in the face of what the mayor has been saying.

Christian told residents the Thruway Authority spent $900,000 on its concept before the March meeting without knowledge or approval from the village board, calling the action presumptuous and premature.

Village officials helped devise that concept per the mayor’s Chronology of Events:

“Working with the New NY Bridge team, we considered a plan to bring the path out to the corner of Cornelison Avenue and South Broadway with a small parking lot where Village Hall is. We felt this compromise would get the terminus away from the middle of a residential area to at least the edge of one.”

“As part of the New NY Bridge project’s ongoing community involvement efforts, we are asking residents to provide their input and comments on the parking concepts for the shared-use bike/pedestrian path on both sides of the river,” Special Project Advisor Brian Conybeare said via email. “We continue to work on reasonable, cost-effective solutions with leaders from both South Nyack and Tarrytown as the environmental assessment process moves forward.”

The mayor said the village is being pressured to comment on the parking concepts by the February 13 deadline, and is asking residents to copy her on all correspondence to Conybeare.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

K’NEX Creativity: Super Wheels at The Trove

Following the successful K’NEX Special – The New NY Bridge and I Lift NY Super Crane Project at White Plains Public Library, a 6th Grade Special: Connect with K’NEX program last week invited students to The Trove to pool their creativity by designing and building their own K’NEX models.

Go, teams! Proudly displaying their new certificates, New NY Bridge and I Lift NY models/New NY Bridge Outreach

Go, teams! Proudly displaying their new certificates, New NY Bridge and I Lift NY models/New NY Bridge Outreach

“It’s a fun way to learn teamwork and use their imagination to with the K’NEX,” children’s librarian Terry Rabideau said. “They learn how the various shapes and sizes fit together, they’re looking at colors. It’s a chance to be creative.”

Teamwork plus creativity yields a cool model K'NEX jeep/TR

Teamwork plus creativity yields a cool model K’NEX jeep/TR

The result: a colorful vehicle that would’ve stood up to the recent snowstorm.

* * * * *

Children in grades 3 through 6 living in White Plains are invited to “Make A Superhero Cape!” program on Friday, Jan. 30, at 3:30 p.m. Details are here.

Super crane draws fans in all weather/© Janie Rosman 2014

Super crane draws fans in all weather/© Janie Rosman 2014

Check out K’NEX replicas of the New NY Bridge and the I Lift NY super crane at The Trove — and the super crane via the viewing area in Tarrytown.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

Part of Settlement $ Will Keep TZB Fares Steady

“The State will drive New York’s growth forward by investing to repair and maintain key infrastructure. It will invest $1.3 billion in the Thruway system to keep tolls down and allow for critical repair and maintenance, support the construction of the Tappan Zee Bridge and alternative transit options.” — New York State Governor Andrew Mark Cuomo, 2015 Opportunity Agenda

Signs informing drivers of toll plaza lanes/Photo: Steve Alpert, http://www.alpsroads.net

Signs informing drivers of toll plaza lanes/Photo: Steve Alpert, http://www.alpsroads.net

“We also propose to use $1.2 billion dollars of our settlement funds to protect Thruway toll payers for a year so there will be no increase in the Thruway toll for the next year and to help finance the Tappan Zee Bridge,” Cuomo said during his State of the State 2015 address.

The approximately $5 billion is from BNP Paribas SA and Credit Suisse Group AG over economic and tax improprieties.

* * * * *

Summer 2012 alarm that fares would triple — $14 cash, $13.30 with E-ZPass®, and $168 for commuters ($8.40 per trip) — prompted him to ask the Thruway Authority to create a toll and finance task force.

More specific information is needed “before we can figure out what the tolls could be,” Cuomo said when in Piermont last October.

And for now, we know! Take advantage of E-ZPass® tags and low gas prices: this year as last, and even with the construction, it’s still a pretty $5 view.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

Safety First: Severe Weather Statement from TZC

Severe weather conditions and a State of Emergency/ EarthCam® construction camera

Severe weather conditions and a State of Emergency/ EarthCam® construction camera

“Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) expects severe winter weather with 15-25 mph winds with gusts up to 40 mph at The New NY Bridge Project site today through Wednesday,” TZC spokeswoman Carla Julian said in a statement Monday afternoon.

“The safety of our employees and the traveling public is our top priority,” Julian said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a State of Emergency for all downstate counties throughout the Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island.

“As a result of this severe weather, TZC will suspend all field operations today through Wednesday, implement our Inclement Weather protocol which includes, among other preparations, multiple tugs on the water 24/7, inspection and adjustment of all mooring lines prior to the event, all crane barges inspected and equipment firmly secured, a large majority of cranes moved to shallow water moorings and all of the smaller crew boats removed from the water,” she said.

“TZC will monitor the entire fleet from its Security Operations Center, including video and GPS monitoring, throughout the storm event.”

Limited crews will remain on site to secure equipment and materials as long as safe conditions will allow them to continue, per a press release from project officials. Crews are currently on the river currently positioning and securing equipment in preparation for the storm which is slated to arrive later today.

Overnight lane closures planned this week for the southbound New York State Thruway (I-87/I-287) are postponed.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

Safety Features on the New Bridge Will Aid Fire and Emergency Services

What better way for fire and emergency services personnel to kick-start the New Year than with a meeting about safety features on the new bridge?

 Lane configurations on the new bridge were of interest to fire and emergency personnel/Photo Cr: NNYB Outreach

Lane configurations on the new bridge were of interest to fire and emergency personnel/Photo Cr: NNYB Outreach

About 80 members of the Rockland County Fire Chief’s Association learned how its lane configurations and water system would aid their all-volunteer services.

“It was a great program, and all of the members at the meeting took some good information away from it,” RCFCA President Harold Straut said of Special Project Advisor Brian Conybeare’s presentation. “This is such a large project that will affect Rockland County, especially rescue personnel, and I felt it would be beneficial for fire services.”

Formed in 1952 so the fire chiefs and officers could meet on a regular basis to talk about fire service concerns in their county, the association’s membership grew from 37 charter members to more than 600. Its monthly meetings cover events, training issues, ideas, scheduling educational fire, rescue, and leadership-based seminars, and any other issues affecting Rockland’s emergency services.

Many fire personnel cross the bridge for work, “and it’s important for them to know about the project and the new bridge,” Straut noted.

Project officials sought input from fire departments, including several RCFCA members in Tarrytown and Central Nyack, law enforcement, EMS teams and municipal agencies to help identify safety and security issues. Teams bidding for the project nearly three years ago had to respond to very specific safety requirements in the state’s Request For Proposal.

“It was a pleasure meeting with the Rockland County Fire Chiefs Association to give an update on the remarkable progress being made on the New NY Bridge project and answer questions. From the planning to the design and now construction of the new bridge, the project team continues to meet proactively with local fire, police and other emergency personnel to get their input and ideas on how to enhance and ensure safety for the traveling public and for the first responders themselves.” — Special Project Advisor Brian Conybeare

Of specific interest were the safety nets underneath the viewing areas, the lane configurations and the new bridge’s water system. Three graded turnarounds will operate much like crossings in preparation for light rail.

Safety features will aid fire and emergency personnel response time. Photo credit: NNYB Outreach

Safety features will aid fire and emergency personnel response time. Photo credit: NNYB Outreach

Nanuet Fire Department Assistant Chief Brian Ready, who commutes to Elmsford, appreciated the presentation and hearing about the new safety additions.

“It was very informative, and a push in the right direction towards safety,” Ready said. “I didn’t know there would be two spans or how they’re building the first one, then shifting traffic, and taking down the bridge, then building the second span,” he said.

Ready explained fire departments use a standpipe, like those outside high rise buildings, and open a valve through which water flows from the tanker truck.

The new bridge will have a fire department connection with valves at each end that allow water to flow through pipes directly to hydrants. Staggered on the inside and outside lanes at 350-feet intervals and not more than 175 feet apart, hydrants will be fed from a dry system (not filled with water until needed) in winter and a water-pumped system during summer months.

These all-volunteer firefighters and rescue personnel protect and answer the call in all weather, and last Sunday’s freezing rain was an extreme example of what they can encounter, Straut said. They’ve a two-fold concern: getting to the firehouse, and once there, response time is compromised because of road conditions.

“That is one of the reasons we had the presentation on the new bridge,” he said. “It not only affects us now (rescues and accidents during construction) but we need to learn what it will be for us as they progress and when it is completed.”

My article originally appeared in the Rockland County Times January 22, 2015.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

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