Fourteen North Westchester Municipalities Join Tappan Zee Transit Coalition

The 14 members of the North Westchester Energy Action Consortium called on Governor Cuomo to include transit in the plans for the Tappan Zee Bridge. Image: ##http://www.nweac.org/mission-history-members/##NWEAC##

Governor Cuomo, your neighbors have something to tell you.

A consortium of 14 Westchester municipalities, including Cuomo’s own village of Mt. Kisco, has passed a resolution calling on the governor to put public transportation back into the plans for a new Tappan Zee Bridge. As reported in Mobilizing the Region, the North Westchester Energy Action Consortium, which is made up of governments representing 230,000 residents, wants transit on the Tappan Zee from the start.

Joining a resolution first passed by the village of Hastings-on-Hudson, the 14 municipalities argue:

1) The State has data and feedback from over ten years of study and 280 public meetings that indicate that transit needs to be part of the Tappan Zee replacement project

2) Developing public transportation is vital 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”

3) “Residents of Hastings-on-Hudson 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”

4) “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”

These 14 villages, towns and cites are just the latest to join the fight for transit across the Tappan Zee. Calls to include transit have already come from both the Westchester and Rockland county executives; the mayors of Nyack, Tarrytown and Elmsford; and Greenburgh’s town supervisor. In the legislature, two local state senators and three assembly members have signed on to support transit on the Tappan Zee.

The newest official supporters of Tappan Zee transit are:

  • Bedford
  • Cortlandt
  • Lewisboro
  • New Castle
  • North Castle
  • North Salem
  • Ossining
  • Pound Ridge
  • Somers
  • Yorktown
  • City of Peekskill
  • Village of Croton-on-Hudson
  • Village of Mt. Kisco
  • Anonymous

    Wow….  Getting all these local governments to do anything in a coordinated way is like herding cats.  This is really impressive.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Wow….  Getting all these local governments to do anything in a coordinated way is like herding cats.  This is really impressive.”

    You can always get politicians to demand something for nothing.  Special tax district? When they sign on for that, it will mean something.

    I still don’t understand how the BRT option is so expensive.  All it would mean is dedicating a lane each way on the bridge to buses, and building separate ramps from that lane to the non-highway arterials that would house the bus route.

    The rest could be done later, and probably wouldn’t cost that much either.

  • Bolwerk

    @f9b2cb395abd5a101456b3b0a40912e1:disqus : the rail option should be fairly inexpensive for about the same reason, and then you get the added bonus of lower operating costs over time.  There is something about this cost structure that just stinks like last week’s garbage.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “The rail option should be fairly inexpensive for about the same reason, and then you get the added bonus of lower operating costs over time.”

    Having worked in capital budgeting I get to differ, although perhaps not with the “should be” part. 

    The bridge might have to be stronger for rail.  Grades would have to be shallower.  And the contractors would probably charge the MTA $2 billion just for the signals.  I can’t imagine the cost of the tunnel down to river level, and flying junction into the Hudson Line, not to mention the EIS if the line had to be shifted into the river on fill to accomodate the merge.

  • Bolwerk

    IIRC, they already said they’re planning to build the bridge to accommodate future rail.  If that’s true, much of that prep will need to be done anyway. If they’re paying $2B for new signals, that’s f’in sick.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    There are two engineering issues with regard to “not to preclude” rail on that bridge, one is the strength and design of the bridge, the best thing I have seen  had the rail underneath the bridge and plenty of piling base and strong steel to support the rail weight and stress factors.  The other is the configuration of the landings.  If the landings are configured in such a way so that at some point in the future when the MTA has money to add this to the capital plan (in other words, when Hell freezes over), you have to dig up the on ramps and off ramps on either or both sides of the bridge, the rail piece will not only be unaffordable but will also be politically unachievable because you would have to rebuild the on and off ramps at that point at huge expense and inconvenience for the many cars that will at that point be using the bridge. 

    So “not to preclude” can quickly transmogrify into “effectively precludes” by moving a few lines around on the drawing of the on and off ramps even if the steel is configured to support rail on the actual bridge.

    These are just technical issues however and it is not technical issues that are stopping either BRT or CRT in that corridor. It is the Do-Re-Mi as Monsignor Littlefield posits below.  And it is is the Do-Re-Mi that should command your attention on this project.  If a portion of the toll revenue were reserved for transit, or an assessment, or Tax Increment Financing on the real estate value on either side of the bridge, or if someone delivered 4 Billion of small unmarked bills in a paperbag BRT or CRT could be included tomorrow.  Then you would only have to overcome the inevitable opposition of those who bought property next to the railroad who don’t want trains run next to their property.

    Fun to discuss the what ifs but really, this thing is greased from on high.  Watch it roll, screw good policy.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Why would they add to the cost of the bridge “not to preclude” rail, which would inevitably mean a different structure given the shallower grades rail requires and the need to maintain navigation below.  When for the same $ they could just have a two-lane busway with off ramps on both sides?

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