Archive for the ‘Thruway Authority’ Tag

Bus Rapid Transit System Gets $10 Million Grant

Link-MainlineSixteen months after it recommended rapid transit when the new bridge opens in 2018, the transit task force rolled out Phase 1 — a $91 million Suffern-Tarrytown-White Plains line — in late June.

Earlier this week the plans received a $10 million federal grant.

After last year’s application for a $26.7 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant through the US DOT was not approved, the state DOT resubmitted its application for $20.4 million in TIGER funds, as Deputy Secretary for Transportation Ron Thaniel noted at the May New NY Bridge community meeting.

Here’s what happened when the transit task force reconvened this past summer:

State Office of Traffic Safety and Mobility Director Todd Westhuis is spearheading the project to revamp the Tappan ZEExpress bus service for the line and stops via new technology and transit management on Routes 59 Rockland and 119 (in lieu of dedicated bus lanes) and on I-287, signal priority and signal upgrades, ramp metering, and queue jump lanes.

Safety concerns along sections of Route 59 were identified using the US DOT’s “Safer People, Safer Streets” initiative via a pedestrian safety audit in Monsey and Spring Valley this past April.

Westhuis cited the Nanuet Park & Ride and upgrades to the Exit 14 Park & Ride facility. “All three lots there need improvement (to ensure) safe pedestrian passage to and from those lots and connect them to the corridor and improve transit access to that lot, in particular the BRT system to come,” he said.

A design is expected by fall, a lighting plan will be submitted by year’s end, and construction will begin next spring. “This lot is a key point identified in a study last year (by ARUP; see Rockland County Times story March 6, 2014), and it’s an area where we saw a high potential,” State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald said.

Corridor will have an extensive BRT system in place by 2018./NYS Thruway Authority

Corridor will have an extensive BRT system in place by 2018./NYS Thruway Authority

There will be quicker access to the new transit system in Tarrytown, improvements to its Metro North train station and pick-up points within the village. Discussions with village officials identified the following needs; a contract will be awarded by year’s end to make sure changes are put in place.

“Our assumptions for this implementation are going to be checked against peers with similar programs nationwide,” Westhuis said. “Integrated corridor management (ICM) is a component of the BRT system.”

Total cost for upgrading the system is $159.5 million; each route/increment can be done individually or collectively.

While Tri–State Transportation Campaign Executive Director Veronica Vanterpool approved of initial plans, she’d like to see projected timelines for all routes.

“We made a very strategic decision to break these down into increments,” McDonald replied citing one route/increment — Spring Valley to Tarrytown — is approximately $12.5 million (four new stations and one new vehicle) and another — White Plains to the Bronx via Central Avenue — is $43 million (44 new stations, 15 new vehicles).

“Finding $12 million is generally easier than finding $43 million,” she said.

Capital-CostsUpgrades to transit hub White Plains train station are in two phases; the first is a traffic circulation study, improving temporary station access and pedestrian access, the second is a compete redesign and reconstruction of the station, including the 19 acres of land owned by White Plains for mixed-use development.

Rockland County Legislator Harriet Cornell asked how the new system will be managed and operated. “I’m a great believer in collaboration, but perhaps there needs to be a ‘superpower’ to manage the entire system, not each county individually,” she said.

Vanterpool wants the group to convene regularly; McDonald said the task force had a finite end. “We had policy issues as well as operational and capital issues to discuss. A lot of detail work was done in the past year, and we weren’t ready to discuss where we were at (an earlier) time.”

From the DOT standpoint, she said, “we are committed to updating this group at the right moment in time.”

After the meeting the Rockland County Times spoke with McDonald.

“We’re working with local governments in some instances for this to be successful,” she said when asked about home rule. “Are you willing to give up four or five parking spaces on a route? That’s always a heated discussion.”

How will the new plans change traffic backups on 287 in both counties?

“We’re not just looking at it as BRT in isolation,” McDonald said. “We’re looking at the whole corridor, and that’s why some of these technologies — queue jumping, signal override — will help us to make those adjustments and to make it successful for everybody.”

My article originally appeared in the Rockland County Times July 2, 2015.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

Traffic Surveys Complete as State and Village Seek Parking Solutions

The survey that South Nyack Mayor Bonnie Christian wrote about in her weekly update is complete.

Engineers were looking for traffic volume/patterns at the intersections cited below as part of the ongoing efforts to find a solution to the shared use path issue.

“As part of the ongoing investigation into alternative parking locations for the New NY Bridge shared-use bike pedestrian path, engineers will be doing traffic surveys here in our village over the next week. 

At times, you may see traffic engineers near the Thruway entrance ramp behind Village Hall, on South Franklin Street near the Thruway overpass, and on South Broadway near its intersection with Clinton Avenue. 

The traffic surveys will be done during the morning and evening rush hours beginning this Thursday afternoon but are subject to changes in the weather.

We support the Thruway Authority team in doing these surveys to help gather more information as we continue discussing solutions for the shared use path that will work for our residents, our village and all the parties involved.”

Nyack offered its parking facilities to help South Nyack handle the increased vehicular traffic once the bike/walking path opens.

“We’re working on finding solutions in South Nyack and presented several parking options that include Nyack,” Special Project Advisor Brian Conybeare said earlier this month. “The (Nyack) mayor is on board with it, the (Nyack) Chamber of Commerce is on board with it, and we’re hoping to find a solution that will work for everyone.”

The Thruway Authority and Federal Highway Administration are undertaking an Environmental Assessment to study those options.

South Nyack received a $250,000 grant through the bridge project’s Community Benefits Program to study the feasibility of redesigning and redeveloping Interchange 10. The village is now considering several proposals from engineering firms and hasn’t awarded the contract. Project officials have a mid-2018 deadline for the bridge’s opening.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

Can-Do Attitude Earns a Place in NNYB History

Casabella Contracting Pres. Marcela Pignataro at barracks demolition Friday/© Janie Rosman

Casabella Contracting Pres. Marcela Pignataro at barracks demolition Friday/© Janie Rosman

Monday was clean up after last week’s demolition, a highlight for Marcela Pignataro. Last June Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) awarded her company, Casabella Contracting of NY, Inc., a first tier contract.

“This is the largest job we’ve done on the (bridge) project,” Pignataro said. Their first job was tearing down trailers, then itemizing and relocating a trailer that was near Thruway Exit 12 in West Nyack.

She determined to realize the dream she had several years ago and told to her husband Frank.

Today her Croton-on-Hudson-based company is a certified Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) with between 20 and 35 employees — depending upon the season — 12 to 15 vehicles and environmentally friendly equipment. Projects include work for the Rockland Psychiatric Center, Camp Smith in Peekskill; the state Department of Environmental Conservation contracted with her to clean the area around the Croton Reservoir after Hurricane Sandy.

Friday’s demolition required taking down the building and then separating the steel, concrete and wood. “We try to recycle as much as possible,” she said.

Her slogan is “Girls Can’t Do What?”/© Janie Rosman 2015

Her slogan is “Girls Can’t Do What?”/© Janie Rosman 2015

Her slogan is “Girls Can’t Do What?”/© Janie Rosman 2015
The daughter of a mason, Pignataro grew up in the construction field surrounded by equipment and trucks. “It was a matter of time before I dug holes in the dirt,” she joked and admitted to picking up TONKA and Excavator toys before Barbie Dolls.

She and her husband have a 7-year-old girl and 9-year-old boy, and both are also interested in construction.

Pignataro’s attitude led to the “Girls Can’t Do What?” slogan. “I grew up with two brothers and one sister, and my cousins are boys,” Pigantaro said. “What they can do, I can do.”

Perseverance and determination led to contracts with TZC. “I love working on this (bridge) project and look forward to seeing where we can go with it,” she said about bids she submitted. “TZC is a great company to work for.”

Within the next few months the maintenance facility will be razed.
“We all work together as a team and have to wait for the other contractors — electricians, asbestos removal, etc. — before the rest of the building can be taken down,” she said.

Last month TZC was recognized for MWDBE contract opportunities on the bridge project. Spokeswoman Carla Julian accepted an award on behalf of the bridge design-builder at the NY Women Builders Council’s (WBC’s) 11th Annual Champion Awards Dinner at New York City’s Gotham Hall.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

PMIW Members Learn Communication is Integral to Managing and Delivering the NNYB Project

Thruway Authority Project Director Peter Sanderson speaks  to PMI Westchester members in Mt. Kisco/NNYB Outreach

Thruway Authority Project Director Peter Sanderson speaks
to PMI Westchester members in Mt. Kisco/NNYB Outreach

“This is the largest project in the country, and all our members at one time or another use the bridge,” PMI Westchester (PMIW) member Peter Roggemann said. “This was something we’d all find worthwhile.”

Roggemann, a former treasurer of PMIW, volunteers as an Event Coordinator and is responsible for recruiting the speakers

Thruway Authority Project Director Peter Sanderson was keynote speaker for the group’s 5th Annual Professional Development Day (PDD). Held last April 4, the program featured eight presentations around the theme “The Twenty-First Century Project Manager: Delivering Stakeholder Value.”

“Many struggle with delivering a successful quality project safely, on or ahead of schedule and on budget — but it can be done. It will take a collaborative effort working with the design-build team from design refinement through detailed engineering until the final stages of construction.” — Thruway Authority Project Director Peter Sanderson

The chapter has almost 600 members from Westchester and Rockland, and is part of of Project Management Institute, the world’s largest not-for-profit membership association for the project management profession. Founded in 1969 and headquartered in Philadelphia, PMI has more than 200,000 members in 150 countries worldwide.

“We also have 10 monthly chapter meetings with a speaker relating to some aspect of project management,” Roggemann said. “It can be about technical tools, templates for project metrics, leadership, communication, or defining project goals and outcomes,” he said.

PMI West. members  and keynote speaker/NNYB Outreach

PMI West. members and keynote speaker/NNYB Outreach

PMI Westchester’s Job Club meets meet at the Westchester Campus of Fordham University meets bi-weekly; this week features a demonstration on the latest version of LinkedIn 3.0.

““We offer two educational programs for people preparing for project management certification. One offers in-depth technical reviews of the Project Management Book of Knowledge (The PMBOK® Guide), which details the standards created by PMI,” Roggemann explained. “The next course begins April 11 and meets for five full session Saturdays on Iona College’s campus. The next study group begins March 24 and meets for six Mondays from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30. p.m.”

In the Study Group members take practice questions in preparation for the Professional Project Manager exam , and the leader discusses their answers. A monthly member-led breakfast roundtable focuses on topics that include “tools people are using, and how they’re using project tools,” he said.

“It is always a pleasure to meet with local professional organizations like Project Management Institute. These gatherings allow us to connect with other construction managers who deal with similar issues on their projects, share ideas, and explain the dynamics of running a complex mega-project like the New NY Bridge.” — Thruway Authority Project Director Peter Sanderson

“I was very impressed with the presentation and the process put in place to communicate with stakeholders,” Roggemann said. That the design build team is in the same building “was to us an impressive way to make sure everyone is on the same page so there’s no waiting time for someone to get back with answers.”

The theme for PMIW’s 6th Annual PDD on March 28 is “The Entrepreneurial Project Manager.” For specifics, click here.

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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