Archive for February, 2016|Monthly archive page

Comedians in Cars: Some of the Conversation between These Noted Names Wasn’t Funny

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Jerry Seinfeld picked up Steve Martin for a jaunt and coffee, crossing the bridge eastbound. It looks very different from the way it did when Liz drove across it.

Between the two cars you can see one of the three floating concrete batch plants.

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Not to be outdone, the I Lift NY super crane makes a cameo appearance here.

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The tower cranes are visible in this pre-girder assembly placement scene below.

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They talked about the difficulties of maintaining audience interest and feeling confident onstage; however, I felt the conversation took a wrong turn at -19:00. Martin told the story of a comedian performing in a hotel atrium whose window overlooked a bay and a pier. The previous day someone had taken his or her life, and a crane was lifting the body from the water as the comedian was onstage.

They were laughing. Poor taste, right? I agree.

At -12:00 (now they’re driving across the bridge) Seinfeld said, “It is kind of beautiful out here. It looks like they’re building another bridge next to us.” “Nah, I think they’re bringing up suicides,” Martin quipped, and they laughed.

Shame on you for finding humor in sadness, desperation and tragedy. Although seconds later they expressed regret for the person’s family, I feel their comments were inappropriate both in general and in reference to the bridge.

When project officials came to Tarrytown in September 2012 I asked what precautions would be in place.

The state’s Request for Proposal for bids to replace the aging Tappan Zee Bridge included specific safety requirements. Anti-climb fencing will run along the entire length of the new span(s), including the shared use path, with steel mesh safety netting at each of the six belvederes/scenic overlooks.

While there will be no subsurface sensors or monitors to detect disabled or stopped cars, an active traffic management system will be in place — and high-tech video surveillance will monitor the eight lanes 24/7.

Lifeline suicide prevention hotline phones will connect to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, as they do now, however they will be on the approaches as well as on the spans. When the handset is lifted, the phone automatically dials a predetermined number that connects the caller to a counseling center.

Perhaps Seinfeld and Martin were unaware of the project’s extensive safety measures. It’s no excuse to joke about a very serious subject.

That part of your discussion wasn’t funny, gentlemen. Again, shame on you.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

Riverkeeper and Project Officials continue Discussions, hopeful for Out-of-Court Resolution

Talks continue between Riverkeeper, Inc., and project officials, who seek non-legal resolutions for violations Riverkeeper said result from the bridge project.

The watchdog group put the Thruway Authority and Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC on notice shortly after Christmas for violating the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act.

Riverkeeper criticized them for activities that caused resuspension of sediment on the river floor leading to turbid water and an increase in sturgeon mortalities.

Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, Inc., representing Riverkeeper in this matter, said it “would be willing to discuss effective remedies for the violations noted in this letter.” If the Thruway Authority and TZC want to settle, then they must initiate discussion within 10 days of receiving the letter to arrange a meeting and complete negotiations before the 60-day period ends.

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Since then, “The Thruway Authority and Tappan Zee contractors have both reached out to us to discuss the serious issues raised in our two notice letters,” Riverkeeper and Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic said in a statement.

The productive talks will resume to find a solution without legal action.

“However, as of now, no new measures have been implemented at the project site to reduce sturgeon mortality or sediment resuspension violations, so Riverkeeper remains prepared, if necessary, to go to court,” the statement said.

Media specialist Leah Rea said Riverkeeper’s call to the National Marine Fisheries Service to provide immediate protective measures in the construction area is gaining public support. It estimates nearly 35,000 people nationally and worldwide signed the online petition, Help Protect the Hudson River’s Endangered Sturgeon Now.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

Consultants Present Results of Study for Redeveloping South Nyack and Exit 10

Last month South Nyack residents learned possibilities for land currently being used as a staging area for the bridge project.

“Several years ago we began thinking about what we can do to protect the character and integrity of South Nyack, promote the village’s economy, along with trying to make it an affordable place for residents to live,” she said.

Using its $250,000 grant from the New NY Bridge Community Benefits Program, the village board commissioned a feasibility study for the village’s future. Holly McKay, Principal Consultant at Willdan Financial Services, and Valerie A. Minastra, AICP, Senior Project Manager at Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc., discussed the results of that study and the village’s next steps.

“One thing I would like to make clear is that this study is separate from the shared use parking plan that the village is currently working on with the New York State Thruway and with the state,” Christian said. The parking plan must be in place before the bridge opens in 2018, she said, “and this study is for the long term.”

In December the Tappan Zee Bridge Task Force members presented four plans designed by Thruway Authority engineers to minimize impacts of the new bridge’s shared use path and ranging from $11 million to $24 million. The task force recommended Concept F, which village trustees approved at their January 12 meeting.

Feasibility study committee chair Jerry Ilowite spoke about the village’s history and provided background to the present time.

While it has the largest percentage of historic homes in the region, “the village lacks an identity of its own that distinguishes it from its neighbors,” Ilowite said. Residents shop in neighboring Nyack, “and while it’s a riverside community, there is no access to the river” from the village.

Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC has been using Exit 10 land as a staging area for the new bridge, which opens in two years.

“The village has long maintained that this use is incompatible with our village character,” Ilowite said. The Village of South Nyack Economic Sustainability Initiative to redevelop this lane “is first and foremost about economics and what we might be able to do to bolster our village’s revenues and at what cost.”

It would also reconnect the upper and lower portion of the village, possibly by decking over a portion of the Thruway. A new village green might serve as a hub and connect to the new bridge’s walking/bicycle path.

“The first step is economic, and then comes the real estate market,” McKay said. “There’s a lot of engineering, urban design and planning that is running concurrent with market analysis.”

As South Nyack is a gateway to the Hudson River Valley, “the village is being forward-thinking in evaluating all possibilities to attract the right kind of redevelopment and focus on urban revitalization,” she said.

McKay introduced her colleague Adrienne Teleki from the Willdan New York office and Robert Dennison, York State Regional Director of Design at VHB.

“Adrienne and I have been on the ground meeting with developers and real estate brokers, with Rockland County economic development officials and other stakeholders in the region to better understand the health of commercial and retail,” she said. They’re taking a best-use approach to this site, she said, to attract private development while retaining village character, and attract residents’ children to live in South Nyack after college.

“The first thing to do is look at options to generate new municipal revenues,” Minastra said, “and one primary way is through new development. The village’s two options are (1) to find vacant land that can be developed or (2) find land and reuse (repurpose) it to generate different revenues and a larger tax base.

Depending upon the reconfiguration of Exit 10, between nine and 14 of it 33 acres can be developed. With an average of 137,000 cars passing it each day, Minastra said, its visibility and accessibility from the Thruway and local roadways make it favorable for economic redevelopment.

These include decking parts of the area to join both sides of the village and, as Ilowite said, the village has river views. “This is the time we dream big with the understanding that we have some real estate economics behind these ideas,” McKay said.

Minastra said the next steps are to identify alternatives for Exit 10, come up with urban designs to accommodate the economic development areas and then find ways to implement the ideas.

“It was a very informative meeting, and I think we all got something out of it,” Christian said the next day. “We’ll all be looking forward to the spring, when they have the second part of their analysis for our feasibility study . . . to tell us what we can do.”

Exit 10 land currently belongs to the state Thruway Authority, which continues to work with the village of South Nyack on its future use.

My article originally appeared in the Rockland County Times January 21, 2016.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

Another Behind-the-Scenes Look: NNYB Project

You’re on the way to work and listening to the radio or to a CD. As you pass Exit 9 westbound you see fences, signs and construction equipment . . . and you look to see what’s doing.

In the meantime, crews are on their way to work via a different transit mode.

I love this river view picture showing pier towers in the background (courtesy of NNYB).

I love this river view picture showing pier towers in the background (courtesy of NNYB).

You leave work at the end of the day, maybe during dusk (a few minutes later each day), when the lights are coming on, and things look a little different.

A pretty view of the main span towers after the sun has disappeared (courtesy of NNYB).

A pretty view of the main span towers after the sun has disappeared (courtesy of NNYB).

These are two of numerous pictures on the project’s website and Twitter page.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

A Closer Look at Main Span Towers, Crossbeams

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This has been a busy few months for the project: the main span towers are now higher than the roadway — and visible to us! — and crews placed two of the four crossbeams. I remember when the jump forms were at barge level.

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Photographer Andrew Dallos took these close-up pictures of the towers — that are 1200 feet apart and will reach 419 feet tall — and the crossbeams between them.

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Temporary steelwork held the 742-ton westbound crossbeams in place while crews connected them; the 645-ton eastbound crossbeams will be connected next.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

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