RESOLUTION OF THE TOWN BOARD OF THE TOWN OF GREENBURGH ECHOING THE SENTIMENT OF THE NORTHERN WESTCHESTER ENERGY ACTION CONSORTIUM, THE TRI-STATE TRANSPORTATION CAMPAIGN AND OVER 25 ENVIRONMENTAL, GOOD GOVERNMENT AND LABOR GROUPS CALLING ON GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO TO RESTORE DEDICATED PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE TO ANY AND ALL PLANS FOR THE REPLACEMENT OF THE TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE, CONNECTING COMMUNITIES AND BUSINESSES IN ROCKLAND AND WESTCHESTER COUNTIES
the inclusion of public transportation has been a central feature of the Tappan Zee Bridge Replacement Project (the “TZB Replacement”) since the launch of formal environmental review in 2002 and, after receiving detailed public input in 280 meetings and data generated over 10 years, all five alternatives, other than the “No Build” alternative, for the TZB Replacement included rapid transit; and
New York State and the federal government, after years of public input and broad consensus on the inclusion of public transportation in the TZB Replacement, have abruptly decided to pursue a replacement without transit and have re-started the environmental review process based on an alternative lacking public transportation; and
approximately 138,000 vehicles travel across the Tappan Zee Bridge every day, which is far more than the bridge was designed to handle when it was built in 1955 and this number is expected to increase significantly in the coming years and, without public transportation, the TZB Replacement would not result in increases in peak-direction capacity or long term operational changes to traffic patterns; and
the development of public transportation as part of the TZB Replacement is central to relieving congestion in the corridor and local arterials, improving air quality, achieving sustainability goals, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, improving pedestrian safety, and improving motorist travel time in Westchester and New York State; and
residents of the Town of Greenburgh and other communities in the TZB service area would be burdened by many years of unnecessarily increasing traffic if transit infrastructure is not included in the TZB Replacement; and
Westchester County is planning its own Bus Rapid Transit (“BRT”) routes along Central Avenue which would benefit by and become more effective by eventually interconnecting to BRT or other public transportation on the TZB; and
New York State and the Federal Highway Administration should not repeat the mistakes of the past by locking in automobile and truck-only infrastructure in this important Corridor for decades to come; and
if not built as part of the current plans for the TZB Replacement, public transportation is very unlikely to be added in the future and the State, Federal government and local communities, as a practical matter, face a “now or never” decision; and
failure to build public transportation now when billions of dollars are being dedicated to the TZB Replacement would be penny wise and pound foolish: the estimated cost of replacing the bridge for motor vehicles only is $5.2 billion; adding a BRT system is estimated to cost an additional $1 billion; and
including public transportation in the TZB Replacement is consistent with and advances the purposes of numerous State, County and Federal government policies aimed at reducing dependence on foreign oil, air pollution and the emission of greenhouse gases, including the New York State Climate Action Plan, the Westchester Action Plan for Climate Change and federal goals enshrined in the Clean Air Act, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act
, Executive Order 13514 and elsewhere;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED,
that the Town Board of the Town of Greenburgh hereby (1) calls upon Governor Cuomo, the New York State Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Authority to restore dedicated public transportation infrastructure to its long-held place in any and all plans for the replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge; (2) calls upon other affected communities and municipalities to let their opinion be known to Governor Cuomo and the relevant agencies and representatives of New York State and the federal government on this critical decision that will impact quality of life for decades to come and (3) pledges to join with other affected municipalities to participate fully in the TZP Replacement planning process to ensure that the TZB Replacement when built will be fully consistent with the important concerns and objectives clearly expressed by the citizenry over the many years of the TZB Replacement planning process.
JOURNAL NEWS EDITORIAL ABOUT TAPPANZEEPARK INITIATIVE
Editorial: Why not turn Tappan Zee Bridge into park?
10:37 PM, Feb. 23, 2012 |
A Journal News editorial
There doubtless are quite a few Hudson Valley commuters still coming to terms with the notion there actually will be a new Tappan Zee Bridge, and quite possibly before they draw their last breath. Now comes word, from the Thruway Authority and governor no less, that another seemingly farfetched idea — turning the existing bridge into a crossing for pedestrians and bicyclists — is gaining real attention. They are tearing the nay right out of naysaying.
Facing the prospect of a $150 million bill for demolishing the three-mile span, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas Madison said Wednesday they are exploring the possibility of turning the Tappan Zee into a greenway for pedestrians and bicyclists. “Could you leave it up and what are the economics and the practicalities of that?” Cuomo said during a cabinet meeting in Albany. “It’s an exciting option.”
Well, we guess it is when he says so. When Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner suggested the same last fall, in a Community View on the Opinion page and also in a New York Times article, one could almost hear strains from “Man of La Mancha,” critics thought the endeavor so quixotic.
Wrote Feiner: “The proposal to turn the bridge into a park like the High Line (in Manhattan) would be a big boost to the local economy, promoting tourism and helping local businesses on both sides of the river.” He pledged to form a committee to press state officials on the matter. (Feiner and White Plains Councilwoman Milagros Lecuona co-chair the local effort; visit www.TappanBridgePark.com to learn more.)
If it sounds like Feiner was out on a limb, consider Tarrytown resident Jean Schneider. She started down the bridge-as-park route more than a decade ago, making her pitch to then-Gov. George Pataki. In a 2002 news article, Schneider called hers a “wild, wild dream.” In a letter to the editor just weeks ago, Schneider recalled the early effort. She wrote: “What inspired me was that I felt so deeply that we have lost the art of walking, communicating face to face enjoying nature at its finest, enjoying the seasons while savoring the ever-changing moods and rhythm of the river.”
Being spared that $150 million demolition bill would be nice as well — to go along with the satisfaction of making a smart, adaptive use out of something otherwise destined for the scrap heap. Communities are getting better at seeing the possibilities — consider waterfront makeovers up and down the East Coast; Bankside Power Station in London; Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco; Reading Terminal in Philadelphia; New York’s High Line and Meatpacking District; and the so-called “Low Line” park in Gotham, a virtually impossible (and amazing) plan for an abandoned trolley terminal.
Often it’s visionaries who move such projects along, until they gain official notice and favor — and private and public support; these individuals see opportunity where others cannot begin to imagine windmills.
Ours would be dull and wasteful places without them.
Now, if we could only get them to build this new bridge we have been hearing so much about ...