Archive for the ‘Westchester County’ Tag

Low Turnout at Toll Advisory Panel Meetings

Thinking I’d be unable to drive due to the ace bandage on my right wrist and hand I emailed my comments to the Toll Advisory Panel instead of going to the meeting in Tarrytown last night.

The hand surgery didn’t happen by quirk and by fate so I spent the past week meeting staff and getting to know residents at the nursing home where mom is temporarily staying. Things worked out well in that respect.

Surgery was rescheduled. About the toll meetings . . .

Why did the panel hear comments only one night in each county? Why wasn’t there a public comment period open for one month or three months or six months? It’s mid-July and sweltering outside; that plus a horrific rainstorm may have contributed to the low turnout last night and (although it didn’t rain as heavily) tonight.

Less than 100 people addressed the panel; how many others submitted written comments? Will those comments be made public? The governor’s task force and his comments nearly five years ago never came to fruition; let’s see what happens next.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2019

Advisory Panel to hear Residents’ Input and Suggestions for Toll Relief on New Bridge

A new, four-person panel will take the first step toward toll relief solutions for Westchester and Rockland residents who cross the new Cuomo Bridge via two public sessions next week from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 17, will be at the Westchester Marriott, 670 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, and Thursday, July 18, will be at The Time Nyack Hotel, 400 High Ave.

Listening without responding to each person, who has two minutes to speak, will be Robert Megna – Co-Chair, Joan McDonald, Heather Briccetti and Mario Cilento. Those who want to speak must sign up for a two-minute chance to address the panel, which will only listen and will not take questions.

The public can also submit comments to TollAdvisoryPanel@thruway.ny.gov.

Let’s hope the group of four does more than the mass transit task force, which said we need bus rapid transit and left it to others to implement the decision.

“Who will take the initiative to make sure the recommendations will move forward?” State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (88th District) asked at the final transit meeting in February 2014. Then-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.”

Tolls on the Cuomo Bridge are $5 through the end of December 2020.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2019

New Hip Joint and I look forward to Bridge Path

Attitude of gratitude: yesterday I was in a store and walked quickly between the aisles of clothes and other items to my destination. Then it hit me: I was walking without thinking about the artificial joint moving me forward.

This week I’m 14 months post op and continuing my shared use path training.

Last March I received a dual mobility hip joint to replace the arthritic one that was crippling me. Walking was painful, sometimes unbearable. I’d lean on walls, tables, chairs, even on my car, for balance, limping to alleviate the bone-on-bone pain. It disappeared after my brilliant and compassionate surgeon replaced the joint with an artificial one.

Part of my enthusiasm to walk along the new path when it opens comes from the anticipated thrill of seeing an unencumbered view of Hudson Valley, and part comes from joy of being able to walk those six-plus miles without wondering if the next step will bring pain.

Because of the new joint I stayed away from tugboats and missed a few Tappan Zee Bridge milestones this year, notably when its main span was lowered, when its east anchor span was carefully demolished, and last week, when its west anchor span was cut and lowered.

However, my new hip joint and I are looking forward to when the new path opens.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2019

Five Years Ago Today: Transit Recommendations

The jughandle turn to Route 119 is further north/Courtesy of Ian C. Ligget

Early speculation that bus rapid transit would start day one the new bridge opened in 2018 was correct, per the Final Transit Recommendations released after the final committee meeting last month in Tarrytown.

Possibly bus stops in Rockland County include: Chestnut Street Suffern, Campbell Avenue/Herrion Road Suffern, Rt. 306 Monsey, Spring Valley Transit Center, Nanuet Park & Ride, The Shops at Nanuet®, Palisades Center, Lot J, Macy’s, Nyack Hospital, Main Street, Nyack and Interchange 10 on the Thruway in South Nyack.

“It is important to note that many other transit options were considered by the (31-member) MTTF, including commuter and light rail options,” per a disclaimer. Ideas for the short-term (now through 2018), mid-term (15 years after the bridge is built), and long-term (2033 and beyond) now face land use and financial challenges.

One money source is the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grant program, through which $600 million was recently made available.

While the new system changes transportation options within and between Westchester and Rockland, based on studies indicating increased commuting within counties than to New York City, “Local jurisdictions will have to be consulted about whether priority transit can be done,” ARUP engineer Trent Lethco, AICP said.

If the free WiFi, better seats and covered station stops don’t attract riders, maybe the unified fare system, or priority transit will: BRT is a guaranteed 25 percent faster on local roads, 20 percent so on I-287.

Money and time savers were music to South Nyack resident Annie Hekker Weiss, who spends two hours daily in transit to work. “That’s four extra hours every day to pay a babysitter for commuting time. Thank you for helping to figure this out for us.”

“South Nyack has been recommended for a $250,000 grant through the NNYB Community Benefit Program to study Interchange 10 and potential development opportunities surrounding it,” the summary said. Ramp metering and signal upgrades are proposed for Route 59, and a future study will decide if a new Thruway exit, Interchange 14X near Airmont/Viola/Monsey, can relieve traffic on that route.

And while the new bridge’s $300 million worth of structural strength can support future rail, there’s no place to build it — now. One short-term improvement calls for an I-287 corridor study to reserve (search for) space in case new facilities are desired. “Today there is insufficient room to allow for the introduction of new measures to improve transit or transportation performance,” the summary said.

Seven proposed routes (three between the counties, three within Westchester, and one connecting Westchester to the Bronx) will connect with transit hubs, including the Palisades Center, downtown Nyack, the Shops at Nanuet, downtown Suffern, and Westchester County Airport.

Earlier-omitted travel routes were needs were added back — Suffern-to-Yonkers via a transfer at Spring Valley, Port Chester-to-Suffern trips via a Valhalla transfer — as was Tarrytown Mayor Drew Fixell’s suggestion to revisit the Tarrytown-to-White Plains segment of I-287 see what improvements can be made.

White Plains will get a new transit hub, thanks to White Plains Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council (MHREDC)’s $1 million study grant. Also in mid-term plans are Exit 11 reconstruction, West-of-Hudson rail improvements, and a new in-line BRT at the Palisades Center. East-west trains, and passenger service on the West Shore line, are planned for the long-term; the groups suggested talks with NYSDOT, MTA, and New Jersey Transit.

The invisible elephant appeared when Westchester League of Conservation Voters Board Member John Nonna commented, “The level of where you set the toll will determine the level of mass transit that will be considered.”

“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.”

My article originally appeared in the Rockland County Times March 4, 2014.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2019

Throwback Thursday: Behind the Project Lens

Upper Grandview picture: a very pretty jigsaw puzzle/EarthCam® construction camera

Upper Grandview picture: a very pretty jigsaw puzzle/EarthCam® construction camera

If you’re like I am, then you’re checking out the magnificent Hudson River sunrises and sunsets courtesy of the EarthCam® construction cameras strategically located at the New NY Bridge project site.

Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) hired the Hackensack, New Jersey-based, webcam technology company to stream the five-year project, satisfying and sparking public interest and curiosity. The first of five cameras was installed last September (2013), offering panoramic and marina views of the bridge at 15-minute intervals, current project information and an interactive archive calendar.

Stokes Creative Group, Inc., TZC’s DBE public involvement consultant, worked with the Thruway team to identify each location and install the cameras,” TZC spokeswoman Carla Julian said. “They were chosen to provide the best views for project construction progress.”

The most recently-added Westchester webcam offers views of the toll plaza, maintenance facility site and abutment. Julian said there are no plans for additional cameras. Images stored remotely in a secure server by EarthCam® can be accessed via the New NY Bridge website.

Each camera takes 9.0 Megapixel images (3456 x 2592 pixels), (1/1.7″ 15.0 Megapixel CCD) from s 2.8 Lens: F/2.8-F/4.5, with a motorized zoom of 28mm-140mm and a 200% zoom range.

“Typically, images are captured and stored only one per hour,” Julian explained. “The project team chose to configure these cameras to take one image every 15 minutes to allow the public to see even more of the work that is progressing,” Julian explained

That interval “was determined to be the proper time that would allow the camera to capture an image and upload it to the server,” she said.

So you see the best quality picture of the progress to email, save, or post via Twitter or Facebook.

“The web cameras continue to be the most popular section of the website attracting hundreds of visitors each week,” Julian said. “It is estimated that by the end of the project almost 700,000 images will have been collected.”

You know the video “Project Year 2014 in Two Minutes” that’s popular with the public and with educational outreach presentations?

The video shows TZC’s armada of floating cranes and hundreds of workers installing nearly two-thirds of the new bridge’s foundation piles during the first 12 months of construction.

It’s an example of the webcams’ other goal “to create time-lapse video programs that show the new bridge rise out of the Hudson in a few short minutes,” she said.

All five — in Rockland (Upper Grandview), on the bridge’s main span, at the Tarrytown Marina, in Tarrytown and at the Westchester landing — will remain positioned through the project’s completion.

Which are your favorite EarthCam® views?

My article originally appeared in the Rockland County Times February 12, 2015.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2019

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