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Mario Cuomo Bridge

Tappan Zee Plans should include Train Service

Re: today’s column by Bob Baird in the Journal News. I have lived in Nyack for almost three years. For the first two and a half of those years, I toughed out the commute to SoHo from the Nanuet NJ Transit/Metro North train station. Yes, I tried the bus too. But for the most part (barring Amtrak breakdowns, which did happen every few months), for me, the train was faster, less nausea-causing, and went further into Manhattan (I could take the Path to the West Village). It runs more frequently and more predictably (who else has stood shivering at the Bridge Bus Stop at 10pm waiting for a bus that is 15 minutes late?). Sadly it has a much slimmer schedule than the other lines, but it works.

However, it takes for the average commuter to Manhattan anywhere from 1h30 to 2h to get to his or her destination. That scares off many who would otherwise probably love Nyack. The first question I get when I tell someone I live here is “isn’t the commute brutal?” The answer is yes – because of our limited options in getting over the Hudson. Yes, you can do the TZee Express to Metro North as another poster pointed out (tho that’s not convenient to my house at all), or brave the morning bridge traffic and shell out $1K annually for a parking spot in Tarrytown. When I saw during a stroll through the Palisades Center this week a scoping meeting about the bridge, I was both excited and frustrated – excited about the possibilities, frustrated at the lack of progress since we moved here three years ago.

Baird outlined the current proposals for the Bridge. You can look at the Journal News online to read all of them – I just want to agree with his preference for “option 4B” which “offers benefits for the two distinct markets we need to consider. It provides for full-corridor bus rapid transit, with service from Suffern to Port Chester, mostly following the I-287 right-of-way with multiple stops on both sides of the bridge. It also provides for a one-seat commuter rail ride into Manhattan, with Metro-North service beginning in Suffern – where it would connect with New Jersey Transit’s Port Jervis Line – and crossing a new bridge to connect with Metro-North’s Hudson River Line via a sweeping tunnel down to the tracks south of Tarrytown.”

The one shortcoming is that a station in Suffern doesn’t help us in Nyack much – we would drive 20 minutes west just to hop a train east. But I agree that any TZ plan must include a rail solution. My dental hygenist in the city drove every day to Madison and 53rd from New City – she is one of thousands, I’m sure. An easy train trip would make Rockland and perhaps Nyack in particular (depending on where the train station is located) more attractive to those looking to relocate from Manhattan and elsewhere. Many of us hope it would raise our property values.

Yes, it’s probably the most expensive solution. But it feels the most forward-looking, the most practical long-term solution for Rockland’s commuters. I look forward to seeing next steps (does anyone know what they are?) and would be interested in Nyack’s leadership’s views on the issue.

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