The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
Dear Governor Cuomo:
As members of a number of working and technical advisory groups of the Tappan Zee Bridge/287 Corridor Project, and as the representatives from the Village of Nyack to this project for years, we write today to express our profound disappointment and dismay at the sudden gutting of the mass transit and bicycle/pedestrian options from the former ‘€œTappan Zee Bridge/287 Corridor Project.’€ The recklessness of these actions betrays the long hours of dedicated volunteer work and travel that citizens like us had invested in the project over the previous years. During that work we remained cautiously optimistic that the public outreach and citizen participation would lead to substantive progress in the project that would both protect the interests of affected municipalities like Nyack and enhance the effectiveness of the new Tappan Zee Bridge Corridor to move traffic and people efficiently.
Obviously, we were naÃ¯ve in that belief.
Without a mass-transit option the ‘€œnew’€ Tappan Zee Bridge will be nothing more that the 1955 bridge, simply newer. Mr. Anderson, Project Director was fond of saying at public outreach meetings for the Corridor Project that ‘€œyou can’t build yourself out of congestion.’€ Another fond saying: ‘€œIf you build it (extra traffic lanes on the new bridge) they will fill it.’€ A key concept of the I-287 Corridor Project (as opposed to simply a River Crossing) was looking at the new Tappan Zee Bridge structure as only a part of the region’s transportation solution. Integration of mass transit along the entire I-287 Corridor is essential in achieving a durable solution to the region’s traffic volume that is forecast to increase in the coming decades. The River Crossing program will give us only a bridge, and one that will be inadequate to handle the expected volume almost before it opens.
And as for the promise of mass transit to be added later when funding becomes available: we’ve all heard that before. One need only look 20 miles to the South to witness a bridge still awaiting its promised, mass transit component—since 1931.
As important, the River Crossing project does nothing to reduce the environmental impacts of increased traffic volume on the communities through which the I-287 Corridor passes. One of the original aims of the Corridor Project was not to simply mitigate the impacts of the 287 Corridor traffic, but improve the communities through which it passes and impacts. Without an integral mass transit option to ameliorate the increased traffic volume, those communities will be subject to ever increasing levels of air, noise and light pollution. Economic opportunities in these communities will suffer as a result of the unmitigated effects of the ever increasing vehicular traffic passing through them. If the River Crossing project goes forward in its current form any chance at advancing this effort through environmentally responsive green infrastructure will be irretrievably lost. This must not come to pass.
The River Crossing project sacrifices the communities of Rockland and Westchester on the altar of political and economic expediency. This mistake was made once before, in 1955. It must not happen again.
Very truly yours,
Steven P. Knowlton, Village of Nyack Trustee
Marie Lorenzini, Village of Nyack Liaison to the Tappan Zee Bridge/287 Corridor Project
cc: Congressman Eliot Engel
Senator Charles Schumer
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Michael P. Anderson, Project Director
“Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo toured the aging Tappan Zee Bridge with local transportation officials in Tarrytown on 11/15/2010.” Photo Credit: Andrea Bernstein / Richard Yeh, TransportationNation.org/WNYC