Archive for the ‘Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing Project’ Tag

A Full Circle Day, and in More Ways than One

Standing on steps near Quay Condominium clubhouse in Tarrytown/© Janie Rosman

People ask about photos I take and post in this blog; twice an editor asked to reprint two and paid me. Today I had a photo request from someone, and that request made me realize my reporting about the bridge project has come full circle in more ways than one.

I received an email asking about a specific blog post; the sender wanted to buy one of its photos. They were taken before I was born, I said, and I reprinted them with permission. A friend reminded me I could have gotten them from someone’s relative who worked on the first Tappan Zee Bridge in the early 1950s.

March 22, 2012, was a balmy night, too warm for a winter coat so I wore a denim jacket, a tee shirt and jeans. I’d never been to the Quay Condominium, where my editor sent me to cover a meeting/project update for residents.

New York State Thruway Authority officials got an earful that night, which began my seven-year (so far, this month) bridge reporting. Most of the photos on this blog are mine; several are from Flickr, and many are from the NYSTA. Permission is secured prior to my using them, and all are properly credited.

Looking at a very different view from the same steps a few years later/© Janie Rosman

Today’s request made me chuckle me because the person who wanted to buy one of the photos I posted of the first Tappan Zee Bridge’s construction needed them for a project with the NYSTA. I researched and guessed (my hunch was confirmed) the person’s company already had those photos . . . directly from the source.

It’s been a full circle day in more ways than one.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2019

Throwback Thursday: Four Years Earlier . . .

Spring after the project started: “Figure Sitting at RiverWalk Park”/© J. Rosman 2013

Tomorrow’s presidential inauguration has been the focus of media coverage and attention nationwide and around the world: a new leader will be sworn into office, a testament to our democracy.

Today for Throwback Thursday I’m noting the anniversary of another event: four years ago yesterday NYS Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli approved the contract with Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge. At the time it was called the Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing Project.

Crews began pre-construction work two months later.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

Residents Demand More Info on Sound Barriers

One of the early meetings I attended, when residents were asked to choose a design for sound barriers without what they felt was adequate information.

No sooner did state DOT Project Director Michael Anderson begin talking than he was interrupted. “How are we expected to vote on a design that has not been decided?” someone asked. “Why don’t we have all the facts?”

Resident were given four designs to choose from/NNYB

Resident were given four designs to choose from/NNYB

Close to 125 Westchester residents turned out at the Westchester Marriott Hotel last month to hear the state’s plans to build two sound barriers, each between 10 and 24 feet high — on the north side of the bridge, and west of Route 9, north of I-287/I-87 — to reduce car and bus noise on the new Tappan Zee Bridge.

In April, the state mailed ballots to 60 Westchester families and 101 Rockland families whose homes would be most impacted by the noise. Although it had seriously considered extending a May 24 vote deadline, the Thruway Authority kept its deadline, “and will accept whatever ballots we have so far,” Thruway Authority spokesman Andrew O’Rourke said.

“Eighty percent were in favor of the wall, and we’re going to move forward with it per the DEIS, which required the survey,” O’Rourke said. Once a bidder is chosen, he said, the agency can offer a better visual, via renderings, to show people what the barriers will look like, and how they will be impacted, and there will be another vote.

Not everyone living near the affected areas received ballots and asked why. Residents who did receive them asked why they had to decide now since the contract won’t be awarded until the summer.

“We need to do this during the preliminary hearings,” replied Elizabeth Novak, an Environmental Analysis Specialist with the DOT.

The agitated crowd pressed for answers, without waiting for them, about design and visual impact. Interrupted yet again mid-sentence, Anderson told the crowd, “I beg your indulgence to please let me finish.”

When Anderson suggested they break into small groups to answer questions, they said no, they had the same questions and wanted to hear the state’s replies as a group.

“Aren’t you putting the cart before the horse?” one man asked.

“Agencies have identified the impact of noise and are trying to mitigate it,” Anderson said. “You’re being asked ‘is the barrier acceptable or not?’”

“Why do we not have a picture or the drawing of the design and the height?” said Ellen Kellerman, who sat in the front row. “You want us to vote on something without all the facts.”

Project consultant Stephen Rosen said the barriers are based on a standard model, and there will be less noise with them than without them. Current noise levels on the existing bridge are between 63 and 73 decibels and would be reduced with new barriers.

“How do you put up (a) bridge and not share photos?” demanded one man.

Residents said pictures of the four sample barriers were not enough and that requests for three-dimensional visuals, and their placement to residents’ homes, were unmet.

“We need representation of height (since) we can’t picture this at all,” said Tori Weisel, president of the Irving Neighborhood Preservation Association, which was excluded from voting.

“The toll booths are expanding 100 feet closer to my neighborhood, and there are lots of holes in the plan,” Weisel said, adding, “My house could be a toll plaza.”

Anderson said the state will discuss construction mitigation plans once a design team is chosen. Residents on both sides of the plaza have repeatedly asked the state about protection from noise and health hazards during the five-year project.

He said it “won’t be five years of everything,” and that traffic would switch to the new bridge sometime during the fourth year.

All designs for the new twin-spanned structure — estimated at $5 to $6 billion and up to $16 billion if mass transit is included — will not preclude bus rapid transit and a dedicated rail although finances prohibit including them now.

Christopher Calvert of the Environmental Impact Statement Consultant Team said the barrier placements were based on future traffic on the bridge.

“Did you figure in additional train noise in your studies?” asked Tarrytown Deputy Mayor Tom Basher. Anderson said only buses and cars were studied.

Rockland residents who met with state officials last month also said they wanted more information.

My article originally appeared in The Hudson Independent June 1, 2012.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

Three Years Ago: Tarrytown Condo Owners Demand Answers on Bridge Project

By mid-morning the spring air was comfortably warm, enhancing the scene Doris Friedman enjoys from her Tarrytown home.

A partial view of the bridge and the river, including now-familiar floating machinery, seen from Tarrytown.

A partial view of the bridge and the river, including now-familiar floating machinery, seen from Tarrytown.

“I will miss this view,” said Friedman, a retired Greenburgh Town Justice, whose Quay Condominium windows face the roads leading to the Tappan Zee Bridge. “We bought here and planned to live the rest of our lives here, in this community.”

More than a decade of plans will culminate this fall when the Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing Project begins. In the meantime, residents of the 89-unit complex are in an uproar over the impending construction and want answers.

“This will affect about 16 units facing the riverfront,” said Board of Managers President Alice Goldberg. “What about the stability of our structure? Did they consider the noise, sound barriers, dirt, trucks, and resale value?”

Goldberg and her husband, Sherwood Chorost, moved to the Quay in 1994.

“Most people’s homes are their major investment, and we accept the bridge is needed, just don’t let us get lost in the process,” Goldberg said.

“My husband has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),” said Mary Ann Johnson, a Quay homeowner for 22 years. “They haven’t acknowledged the stress it will cause us from fumes, noise, rodents, or the sound of piles being driven.”

Last month residents met with elected officials, their representatives and state project managers to discuss mitigating the effect of the proposed five-year project.

Quay homeowners worry the new bridge and its shared use path are too close. Tennis court is seen behind a Westchester pier./© Janie Rosman 2015

Quay homeowners worry the new bridge and its shared use path are too close. Tennis court is seen behind a Westchester pier./© Janie Rosman 2015

“We believe the construction of the bridge is a de facto taking of our property,” Goldberg told the packed Quay clubhouse.

Issues include compensation for owners to make them whole (buyout or partial payment), moving the pool and clubhouse to another area of the complex, replacing all windows and insulation for residents on the west and south end, permitting construction and noise between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays, and compensating residents who choose to leave their homes in the event work continues into the night).

“The state has a compelling moral obligation to buy out the residents,” said Tarrytown Mayor Drew Fixell through Deputy Mayor Thomas Basher. ‘They (residents) didn’t know the bridge would be moved, literally, to their doorstep.”

NYSDOT Project Director Michael Anderson said the state came prepared to show residents what it was doing, and at the meeting, changed its course.

“I want to address two points that were mentioned earlier,” he said. “The window for legal challenges is 180 days after Record of Decision, not 120 days. And while the DEIS comments end March 30, it doesn’t limit the time frame for working on ongoing issues.”

He added, “The DOT understands the impact, and that’s why we’re here tonight.”

Numerous officials, including State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins and State Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti, voiced their support for the residents’ plight.

“I don’t want my grandson coming here until the project is finished,” Harriet Koretsky said. “There will be dirt and strange cars in the area, and it won’t be safe.”

Looking north from site of former police barracks near what will be a staging area in Westchester/© Janie Rosman 2015

Looking north from site of former police barracks near what will be a staging area in Westchester/© Janie Rosman 2015

“I don’t know how the pollution will affect my daughter,” Diana Muenz-Chen said. “There are so many factors that we don’t know about yet.”

Her seven-year-old daughter meets the school bus on Broadway each morning.

“There’s a lot of traffic on Route 9, and it’s already unsafe having her meet the bus there,” Muenz-Chen said. “I’m afraid it will be worsened if there are hold ups because of construction vehicles.”

The area no longer feels like a Rivertown to Irene Ross, a 13-year homeowner.

“The character is horrendous, and the development near the river will bring more traffic,” Ross said. Allergic to cigarette smoke, she has difficulty breathing and is worried about air quality and health hazards.

“I had a swarm of ants in the kitchen when they dug for piles and had to call an exterminator,” she said. “When you disturb the equilibrium of ground that hasn’t been touched in a long time, there’s bound to be fallout.”

“Elected officials have a moral obligation to help people,” Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said. “It’s unfair to devastate a neighborhood, and at the minimum, the state should offer compensation for properties, including the clubhouse and those homes closest to the work.”

Village Trustee Tom Butler offered this challenge to project managers.

“This affects not only the Quay, it affects Tarrytown,” Butler said. “Keep us in the loop. Our (village) meetings are televised so whatever plans you have, bring it to the village via television.”

My article originally appeared in The Hudson Independent April 2, 2012.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

Happy Anniversary: Two Years of Blogging

This year it was lemon cake on my birthday with coffee, milk no sugar. Nearly six months later marks another celebration: two years since I started this blog.

lemon cake

Suggestion took hold. Sure, why not. Blog about the Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing Project. Say that three times fast. New NY Bridge. Easier to pronounce.

Observations, meetings, factoids, history, unturned nooks and crannies. Curious.

“Why don’t you rename it?” people asked me. “What does it mean?”

neon-bridge-lights-colorful

Look into a kaleidoscope, twist it various ways, and check out the amazing colors and designs. No two images are the same, and the picture constantly changes as you move the tube in your hands.

Committees, subcommittees, subgroups. Scenarios. Decisions. Moving parts that stopped and formed pictures. And different each time. My first interpretation of New York State’s monumental undertaking.

So I named it Kaleidoscope Eyes. Another year of questions, different and some are the same. New answers, more information. And still more questions to ask.

Thanks for following me here! I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

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