Archive for the ‘South Nyack’ Category

Exit to Exit: a Whole Lotta Traffic In-between

You can see traffic slogging along westbound per EarthCam® camera at Westch. landing

Memorial Day Weekend. The. Westbound. Span. Should. Have. Been. Opened.

Woulda, shoulda, coulda says nothing about the fact that it hasn’t and isn’t.

During a late afternoon drove to Rockland for copies of this week’s Rockland County Times, which has my story about a woman who advocates for senior housing and safety at home, I got stuck in traffic.

I’m home waiting for a FedEx delivery that requires a signature so I’ll tell you about yesterday’s driving experience.

Silly me. It’s a holiday weekend, and the vehicular madness was well underway by the time I merged onto crowded, no, packed, 287 from the Sprain. Inching from Exit 2 to Exit 1 was a challenge; once on the Thruway, it took about 20 minutes to drive from Exit 9 (Tarrytown) to Exit 10 (South Nyack).

I miss Ramp E, the South Broadway (Route 9) entrance ramp to the bridge in Tarrytown. I really miss it when I’m in that area and have to travel west as its absence continues to cause traffic nightmares.

In its place the state is building a new facility, which drivers and I saw from the other side:

It’s ironic that the new bridge will change nothing about congestion choking 287 on its own and as arteries, like Westchester Avenue and the Sprain, merge onto it. This new bridge will offer cars and trucks — they NEED to be in their own lane! — an easy, breezy 3.1 miles of travel until bridge meets land, and the madness continues in Rockland.

What gives? The westbound span was set to open last December 2016, then in early 2017. Somewhere, sometime, project officials starting saying the bridge, shared use path (including in South Nyack), maintenance facility and new state police barracks will open in 2018.

When the super crane arrived at the project site in October 2014, Governor Cuomo held a press conference and was asked about potential tolls.

“We don’t know how much we will we get from the federal government, how much we will get from the state; there are state loans and grants we can access,” he said, citing the variables. Additional unknowns are the built-in contract incentives for Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) to finish the project before spring 2018 or penalties for completing it later.

Spring 2018 is 12 months from now, which is nearly summer if you consider it’s Memorial Day Weekend and an unofficial start of summer.

So crews need to finish the whole shebang before June 21, 2018, the real start of summer. Will the bridge builder be penalized for finishing the project one day later? Stay tuned.

It’s too bad New York State made this into a bridge project instead of sticking to a corridor project. The 287 construction was finished nine months ahead of schedule, and I’m sure (though I don’t remember) traffic “flowing smoothly” four or five years ago.

Several people working on the project told me it would be impossible to widen 287. What was the point of building a bridge between two congested highways without considering the motorists who use them?

I covered the Mass Transit Task Force meetings, where this exchange took place during the final get-together:

“Who will take the initiative to make sure the recommendations will move forward?” State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (88th District) asked. State DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald replied, “Our charge was to make recommendations. It’s up to the governor and the Thruway Authority to see what are the next steps.”

The governor said on January 29, 2013 — 11 days after the bridge builder received the A-OK to begin — that completion of 287’s reconstruction and the bridge project represent how his administration cut through government dysfunction. It’s all well and good to have plans; however, as my mom’s cousin Helen used to say, “You have to look down the road a piece.”

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

South Nyack and Thruway Authority agree to collaborate on residents’ behalf

The quaint village resolved to hold the Thruway Authority to its word about working together to minimize the new TZ Bridge project’s impact on residents.

At the onset of their Tuesday village board meeting, trustees convened in executive session with special counsel Dennis E.A. Lynch to discuss the agency’s EDPL non-compliance and lack of efforts to demonstrate compliance. During a brief meeting Friday morning (May 12), trustees unanimously adopted a resolution to resolve issues discussed during that session.

The Rockland County Times reported on March 9, 2017, that neighborhood group Preserve South Nyack (PSN) identified multiple deficiencies in the agency’s EDPL proceedings.

In a resolution dated March 22, 2017, trustees said the Thruway Authority “must demonstrate full compliance with all notice and other provisions of the EDPL . . . “noting the village’s rights under appropriate EDPL provisions. It also said the village notified the agency of its concerns “and needs a more definitive, concrete and direct response and prompt resolution of those concerns . . . “

State representatives met with Christian and village officials on May 4 to discuss concerns and to suggest appropriate ways of moving forward, addressing all impacts and definitively satisfying village concerns and impacts expressed that were not previously discusses or resolved.

In a letter to Christian dated May 8, 2017, Thruway Authority Acting Executive Director Bill Finch confirmed the May 4 meeting and indicated a desire “to help preserve the character of your village and to mitigate the impacts associated with the construction of the new NY Bridge Project.”

Citing the state’s willingness to relocate the path’s terminus in 2015 as “perhaps the most indicative of our enduring commitment to the Village,” Finch said the Thruway Authority reaffirm(s) its commitment to support South Nyack’s goal of achieving fiscal sustainability helping it apply for non-bridge-related grants.

He continued, “In addition to the Community Benefits Program (CBP) study of Interchange 10 mentioned above, the Authority stands ready to work with the Village in its acquisition and redevelopment of surplus property at Interchange 10 once any future reconfiguration of the Interchange is complete.”

If South Nyack determines the agency does not keep its word re the mitigations and its “acquisition and reedevelopment of surplus property at Interchange 10 once any future reconfiguration of the Interchange is complete,” then village officials will consider appropriate action.

My article originally appeared in the Rockland County Times May 18, 2017.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

Thruway Authority replies to Residents’ Concerns

Trail head of walking/bicycle path and Esposito Trail/K. Wolf

With the new bridge and path set to open sometime in 2018, the South Nyack Tappan Zee Bridge Task Force and village board held a workshop last Tuesday prior to the bi-monthly board meeting. Task force member Don McMahon moderated the meeting aimed at clarifying concerns brought to the Thruway Authority regarding traffic, safety, lighting and maintenance.

Now that the exit ramp at Clinton Avenue and South Franklin Street will become a T-intersection — with one stop sign at the ramp’s end to streamline traffic and lessen the occurrence of motorists who make less-than-full stops — some asked how buses will make the sharp turn. As the design was requested by the village and recommended by the state DOT, project officials will check for additional details.

Conceptual rendering of side path and Esposito Trail/K. Wolf

Speed calming measures for bicyclists will be added to the path, and two sets of spring-loaded gates will be added where the path and the Esposito Trail meet the street. Bicyclists will need to dismount to cross Clinton Avenue; pedestrians will have a signal designed in accordance with federal guidelines.

“We send two guys down the trail to do maintenance,” Superintendent of Public Works James Johnson noted, “so if we have spring-loaded gates that we have to hold open, now three of us have to go down there to do maintenance.”

Emergency vehicles will have access from the parking lot and the Esposito Trail/side path. Physical impediments, such as the bollards at the trailhead on Clinton Street, will be removable.

The path will be maintained by the state, and state police will provide security for the path and facilities. Mayor Bonnie Christian said a future meeting with the village police chief, state police and a representative from Governor Cuomo’s office will discuss security and maintenance.

Parking lot at Rockland terminus; stairs lead to path/K. Wolf

Where will small children ride their bicycles? “My kids ride their bikes on that side, and that’s one of my worries,” Kendol Leader said. Project officials agreed parents may want their children to use the trail.

Both the trail and path will measure 10 feet wide save for the first 150 feet from the trailhead at Clinton Avenue and South Franklin Street, where the side path will be eight feet wide as an additional bicycle speed calming measure.

One person commented about feeling “fenced in” when walking the trail after its redesign; another wanted to know about the new lighting. Fences will range from 42 inches to 72 inches, depending upon location, and final dimensions may change slightly.

“Dark sky lighting is significantly different from lighting we’re all used to,” trustee Catherine McCue explained. “The lighting cast is much softer, and the area it’s cast in is much more contained. It’s significantly softer and easier on the eyes.”

McMahon said it’s his understanding that contracts will be completed by summer, and work will commence by early fall, McMahon said.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

ICYMI: Rockland SUP plans may face legal snag

Snowy Eesposito Trail/Credit Jess Hans Smolin

When one door closes, the saying goes, another one opens. What happens if the closing door — all but shut — is suddenly stopped by a situation that metaphorically says, “Not so fast!”

With the bridge project progressing steadily, and final designs for the walking/bicycle path due in June, it seems unlikely anything would intercept construction plans — until now.

The group Preserve South Nyack contests plans to intersect the Esposito Trail with the new bridge’s walking/bicycle path and whether or not the Thruway Authority followed legal protocol to acquire 0.81 acres next to the trail for a bicycle path.

PSN identified multiple deficiencies in the agency’s eminent domain proceedings, which include neglecting to serve the village (as condemnee) proper notice. The condemning authority (Thruway Authority) has to conduct a public hearing to determine if the greater public purpose being served by eminent domain.

Notice is to be published five times prior to a meeting and one or two times after the meeting within 90 days of its occurrence.

Drawing/Credit Reese Leader, 6, regular trail user and visitor

Members maintain the agency neglected to notify residents with the appropriate number of public notices prior to the March 2016 meeting — and neglected to notify the village either in person or by certified mail — per Eminent Domain Procedure Law (EDPL) Section 202, which governs the notice for the hearing and requirements to be met.

An inadvertent failure to meet the requirements of Section 202 is not jurisdictional. Further, the agency neglected to follow protocol re EDPL Section 204(C)3, which mandates it notify the village of findings and determination after a public hearing — March 2016 — in person or by certified mail.

PSN’s position is the 30 day Statue of Limitations doesn’t start until after the notice is delivered by certified mail or in person.

To date the Thruway Authority has not provided proof of compliance with EDPL Section 204. If this defect is deemed jurisdictional in court, then South Nyack can challenge the ruling. If not, then the village cannot challenge it. This specific issue has no court precedent.

That the Thruway Authority published 91 days after the meeting may hold less material or jurisdictional importance as its failure to notify the village of a proposed condemnation via personal delivery or certified mail.

Esposito Trail/Credit Kristy Leader

Months earlier, Village Trustee Andrew Goodwillie proposed a plan that would end that shared use path (SUP) at the Exit 10 on-ramp at South Broadway, which will close as part of the Concept F plans.

Proponents maintain this viable alternative will keep bicyclists off South Franklin Street, which is narrower than South Broadway, leaving the Esposito Trail intact for residents.

The Thruway Authority would save money as it would neither need to build a trailhead at Clinton Avenue and South Franklin Street nor make improvements alongside the trail, and no easement would be needed from the village.

PSN feels moving the SUP entrance would also negate the need to build a ramp to the trail and would afford police security from nearby Village Hall.

Dennis E.A. Lynch, representing South Nyack, explained if the village owns the property (Esposito Trail), then its officials can pass legislation to make it parkland. It can also be deemed parkland via deed or use.

South Nyack is awaiting results of a title research/confirmation that it owns the property (0.81 acres of Esposito Trail) and a legal opinion as to its rights and responsibilities to then determine what it can do regarding the Thruway Authority’s actions. When and if the deficiency is corrected, then the village will take appropriate action in the best interest of its residents.

My article originally appeared in the Rockland County Times March 9, 2017.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

Renderings for Walking/Bicycle Path Terminus

rendering

This morning the store was empty. Its parking lot offered numerous spaces from which to choose, and there was no line waiting to pay for items.

“You should have been here yesterday,” the cashier said as she rang up my purchase. “The lines were around the store, and people were complaining that they had no place to park.”

Yesterday I had no interest in crowded places and worked on an article that will post next week. My neighborhood was quiet, the roads were as empty as the store I went to this morning, and it felt like everything stopped.

The previous weeks were busy, and I missed the meeting in South Nyack during which the village and the Thruway Authority presented renderings for the shared use path terminus in Rockland that will open in 2018.

Good news continues for the village. To recap:

In spring 2015 the state agreed to relocate the Rockland terminus (landing point) away from residential village streets to Thruway property near Exit 10 with adjacent parking.

The above rendering, courtesy of the New York State Thruway Authority, is one of four presented during the November 15 meeting.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

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