Archive for the ‘Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge’ Tag

Second Outreach Center Closes; SUP Progressing

There’s an empty space on Main Street in Nyack, where one Outreach Center had been since early 2013. If you thought they posed with a cross steel section of pile for a reason, then you were right. It was moving out day; both Centers are now part of the project’s history (Tarrytown closed last year).

I parked on Clinton Avenue to see the Esposito Trail and side path, separated by a divider and newly-planted young trees (November 15 per the tags around those I checked). A young boy was bicycling in the center of the trail while his father ran in the center of the new spur path.

Local cycling groups want the path open 24/7, claiming it’s a transportation mode to which they need uninterrupted access. Hours have not been decided.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2019

Good News for Westchester and Rockland Residents: Minimal Toll Raises on New Bridge

Commuters and residents see the bridge as the most convenient way to get across the river; the Thruway Authority views it as part of a bigger revenue picture. Yet its members heard Westchester and Rockland residents explain how toll increases would impact them “loud and clear,” Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said at the agency’s Board of Directors meeting December 19.

As tolls have not increased since 2010 and were frozen through 2020, the $.50 annual increase during the next two years for New York E-ZPass® drivers brings a sigh a relief: costs will only rise from $4.75 to $5.25 in 2021 and to $5.75 in 2022. The Board proposed a 40 percent discount to commuters at the New York E-ZPass® rate and a new program for Westchester and Rockland residents with no toll increases through 2022 for those who qualify.

Citing speculation about soaring toll hikes on the new bridge, Thruway Authority Chief Financial Officer Matthew A. Howard revealed the numbers and said the policy is “very consistent” with what other states have done with cashless tolling and will apply throughout the 570-mile Thruway system.

Those without E-ZPass® (who pay by mail) will see a 30 percent increase from the current $5 or $6.83 in 2021 and $7.48 in 2022 and will have an added $2 surcharge. “The key to all of this is get E-ZPass®, and your tolls outside of the bridge will be unchanged,” Howard reminded.

He emphasized, “It’s really important to note that under the plan, 45 percent of the traffic on the bridge will be receiving a commuter, a resident or a new resident discount in 2022, paying $5.75 or less. When you incorporate the discounts that are standard New York E-ZPass® rate customers receive, basically 74 percent of the traffic on the bridge in 2022 will be paying at a rate that’s $5.75 or less.”

Even without E-ZPass®, it’s not a double-digit fare and nowhere near the once-suggested $14.

After a public comment session about the proposed changes, recommendations will be made to the Board. Charts courtesy of the New York State Thruway Authority.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2019

Flashback Friday: Bridge Path Survey yields Different Views, Concerns for South Nyack

The walking and bicycle path is set to open within months (no date has been confirmed). Two and one-half years ago the project asked for input on the new bridge’s path; one sticky point was will it remain open 24/7, be open from dusk to dawn (that will change with the seasons) or have set hours? The debate continues as bicycling groups push for round-the-clock access to a path that will be monitored how? What about safety issues? Noise? Its side path opens into a quiet South Nyack neighborhood.

Catty-corner to the house Jessica Hans-Smolin shares with her husband, Pete Smolin, and their one-year-old, is where the Raymond G. Esposito Trail crosses Clinton Avenue. It’s also where the spur path and trail entrance for the new bridge’s path will be built.

“It’s not just about my backyard, nor many people’s yards,” Hans-Smolin said, speaking for the group Preserve South Nyack. “It’s about having a comprehensive plan with foresight to ensure safety, maintain the integrity of our residential community and respect South Nyack’s rich history.”

Citing a misconception that local residents aren’t in favor of the new bridge’s path, she clarified, “The controversy is where it ends, where it outputs, where it impacts on a trail in a community (and) mixed feelings about the additional spur path.”

Concept F—one of four plans presented to South Nyack by its Tappan Zee Bridge Task Force in December 2015—indicated a paved side path would be an advantage. Rockland County Times reported in February that PSN members voiced concern about the path throughout 2015 and 2016 and were told they’d be consulted as the timeline pertaining to the trail got closer.

The Task Force meets as needed with project officials, bringing recommendations to the board for consideration and “has a good relationship with the state and the Thruway Authority,” Mayor Bonnie Christian said. “We’re trying to do what’s best for our community while keeping the character and integrity of our village intact.”

Thanking the 2,200-plus people who participated in the project team’s recent 10-question survey, spokesman Khurram Saeed said in a statement, “Their input is enormously useful to help the team better understand how people plan to use the path as we continue to work on operational details, including way finding, hours and amenities.”

Encouraged that South Nyack resident was one of the survey’s responder options, Christian emphasized it’s a way to let the project team know a villager answered and doesn’t want the path open 24/7.

Tarrytown Mayor Drew Fixell agrees with her about curtailing path hours albeit for a different reason: he has yet to see that benefits outweigh potential negatives, while she stressed it would be unfair to — and potentially dangerous for — residents.

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

“Though there may be some ‘good’ uses for it at 2 a.m., I can’t imagine the legitimate demand for it would justify the risks and potential costs,” Fixell said. “Perhaps we’ll find that there really is a lot of demand for crossing in the wee hours, but I don’t believe that keeping it open all night makes sense in advance of the demand being demonstrated.”

Metro North’s first Manhattan-bound train leaves Tarrytown at 4:45 a.m., and the last train arrives in Tarrytown from Grand Central Station at 2:43 a.m., begging the question: Will the path be available to late evening and early morning commuters?

“The idea of keeping it open only dawn to dusk (when the Esposito Trail is open) makes it unusable for anything but recreation,” Rockland Bicycling Club board member Mike Benowitz said. “The bridge is almost three miles across. Someone looking to cause trouble is not going to cross three miles.”

The New City resident takes the ferry from Haverstraw to Ossining, and, from there, bicycles to his job in White Plains. He feels closing the spur path from dusk to dawn would be better than closing the entire path overnight.

South Nyack neighbors worry about safety when the Lower Hudson Transit Link replaces the Tappan ZEExpress in fall 2018. Stops include the South Franklin Extension (within Interchange 10)—the bridge interchange—and at Artopee Way in Nyack.

“This is way too much traffic at one intersection in an exclusively residential community. We have a lot of young children here,” Hans-Smolin said, citing a recent block party where kids played freely.

Most recreational cyclists aren’t riding after dark, Benowitz said, and clubs that organize special rides will use a road and not the trail. “Large bicycle groups will avoid shared use areas,” Benowitz said. “You’re riding 15 miles an hour, and someone walking a dog turns around,” which might lead to a potential accident.

Christian and Police Chief Brent Newbury met recently with state officials to discuss the path’s safety and patrolling, Christian wrote in a July 7 update. Governor Cuomo’s office will work with Newbury and state troopers to ensure village safety concerns are satisfactorily addressed.

“It’s important to be a concerned citizen and be active as much as you possibly can,” Hans-Smolin reiterated. PSN feels if the (area around the) trail has to be developed despite its continuing efforts to save the green space, then it would like the spur path to close from dusk to dawn, and have path users be directed to exit at the Interchange 10 parking lot.

My article originally appeared in the Rockland County Times July 13, 2017.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2019

Two SN Residents pledge Open Communication, Transparency, & Solutions for SUP-related Issues

“We want to ensure that the concept chosen will be the best for our residents and will eliminate parking from our streets while allowing for economic development,” South Nyack Mayor Christian told the Rockland County Times four years ago.

Village residents think otherwise.

They say crews doing major movements during rush hour and creating noise at all hours of the day in the lower part of the village are not helpful at all, and it doesn’t seem like the mayor has a plan to resolve it. Workers are taking liberties with the village’s property, people are nervous, and they want something done.

The upper part of South Nyack has also been affected by the construction on 9W, and the project has impacted both sides of the Thruway. Residents complained of damage to their sidewalks, animals frightened by the construction noise, trucks and vehicles blocking their driveways so they’re unable to leave for work. Photo below is courtesy of the New York State Thruway Authority.

The mayor and trustees had time to resolve the parking situation, residents say, and they hope a change in leadership will bring relief from the onslaught of cars expected once the new path opens. Hours of operation have not been determined as talks about keeping it open 24/7 or from dawn to dusk continue.

Village residents Jeffrey A. Hirsch and Clifford T. Weathers are write-in candidates for mayor and trustee, respectively, in Tuesday’s election and pledge to “provide proactive, forward thinking, transparent and responsible leadership as we enter a new era in South Nyack with the completion of the new bridge and opening of its path.”

Their platform includes:

• Maintaining and policing the path terminus Esposito Trail, spur path and the ensuing increased traffic

• Addressing public parking solution as they’ve been waiting for the village to handle the impact of the SUP

• An open and transparent South Nyack government that’s responsive and proactive – not reactive

• Listening to the entire community and acting upon residents’ issues

• Addressing commuter bus issues

• Addressing noise and damage to village streets and private property that have become a locker room, cafeteria, bathroom and ashtray for construction workers:
o on Piermont/Broadway
o on 9W/Highland
o on Cornelison/Mansfield/Broadway/Smith and in between

• Clinton/Franklin/ Broadway issues with parking, speeding, buses, construction staging and regular illegal stopping, standing and parking by random people, delivery trucks, and other commercial vehicles

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2019

Aerial View: Side Path Construction in S. Nyack

Drone photo/South Nyack by Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

This photo from July 1 shows the bridge side path that leads into South Nyack and runs parallel to the Esposito Trail.

Closer look/South Nyack by Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

It began as a little yellow line on a diagram. In other news, the humongous crane left the project site and was seen heading south accompanied by three tugboats. That’s for another blog post.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2019

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