CONCERNED CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBLE DEVELOPMENT is a group which opposes building a new Tappan Zee Bridge.
The time has come to talk about building another Hudson River crossing north of Rockland County. Future growth patterns demand it. Common sense dictates it.
The State Department of Transportation claims that it has to double the width of the Tappan Zee Bridge to accommodate anticipated growth in this region. Time and again, the term “regional solution” is heard but there is little evidence of it.
The major source of this growth in traffic probably won’t be from Rockland and Westchester Counties which are already overbuilt. Growth is more likely to occur in Orange County and points north.
Current plans call for this expected increased traffic to be funneled through overburdened Rockland and Westchester. There are no proposals suggesting another Hudson crossing north of the TZ Bridge.
This area is already overstressed. The N.Y. State Thruway Authority imposed an unrealistic and unfair burden on this area when it joined I287 and I87 in Suffern. That doubled truck volume, greatly increasing traffic congestion, air pollution and noise levels as well as wear and tear on the roads in general and on the TZ Bridge in particular.
Another factor that will contribute to our congestion is Stewart Airport, which is on line to become the fourth major airport in the New York Metropolitan area. Yet the authorities make virtually no mention of Stewart in their current planning.
It makes no sense that planners want to double the size of the bridge forcing more traffic through this area.
Doubling the bridge also would mean that the highways on either side would have to be widened. Remember Robert Moses. The additional roads and bridges he built to ease traffic quickly became inundated with more cars and trucks.
Current plans call for minimal property taking and for road widening to remain within the Thruway’s right-of-way on both sides of the highway. However, this plan eliminates the buffer zone separating those who live along this corridor from the highway’s noise and smells.
This logic seems backwards. Instead of expanding the bridge and highways to accept more and more traffic, the State agencies should look to diffuse the traffic; to spread it out in a more realistic, equitable and manageable way.
Four years ago, the Thruway managed to relieve a major bottleneck at Exit 8 in Elmsford by reconfiguring the roads. This effort was successful and proves that there can be solutions that don’t require building a new and wider bridge.
The argument that mass transportation will reduce the amount of cars (not trucks) going over the bridge assumes that there will be funds available for mass transit. But this assumption, under current and foreseeable fiscal conditions, may be more wishful thinking than reality.
Instead we should consider using the rail lines that already exist in this region: the Port Jervis Line, Pascack Valley and even CSX. When we factor into an equation a new crossing north of Rockland tied into Metro North rail, we will have begun to think in terms of a truly regional solution.
George Sherman, President, Rockland Branch,
Sherwood Chorost, President, Westchester Branch
“Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead