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South Nyack Tappan Zee SUP: He Said, She Said On The Hudson

by Dave Zornow

South Nyack TZB SUP Press Conf 11/25/2014SNyackSupBChristianPressConf201411Nyack, Nov 30 — On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the mayor of South Nyack held a press conference to protest the location for the Shared Use Path (SUP) that pedestrians and cyclists will use to cross the new Tappan Zee Bridge. The mayor says it’s an outrage that the state is forcing this decision on the village without any public input. New York State counters that the controversial location for the SUP terminus was actually South Nyack’s idea.

“I am outraged that this appears to have been decided without an opportunity for the residents of South Nyack and our elected representatives to review other options for the terminus of the SUP as promised for so many months by both the New NY Bridge Team and state representatives,” said South Nyack Mayor Bonnie Christian.

However, the State of New York thinks the mayor doth protest too much. In response to the mayor’s accusations, state officials say the new location at Cornelison and South Broadway was chosen at the request of the Village of South Nyack. “We have been working collaboratively with South Nyack, its task force and other stakeholders for months on this issue and — at the village’s request — the project team has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to relocate the end of the shared use path once,” said Brian Conybeare, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Special Advisor for the Tappan Zee Bridge. Prior to last week’s announcement, TZB planners had initially called for Smith Street in South Nyack to be the access point for pedestrians to walk across the bridge. “Now the mayor wants to move it again,” he said.

The mayor says that the Cornelison and South Broadway  location “compromises safety at a busy intersection that includes the entrance ramp onto the Tappan Zee Bridge.” Pedestrians and cyclists agree, but point out that it’s already dangerous, and the village has done nothing to address the safety concerns that currently exist at the intersection that exist adjacent to the South Nyack Village Hall.

Is Parking The Real Problem?

New NY Bridge officials released a parking study for Nyack and South Nyack two weeks ago which said the future tourism needs of the TZB SUP in Rockland can be handled with only 54 parking spots. The study looked at visitors arriving by car, on a bike, by foot and via mass transit, using  observations at local tourist venues (Rockland Lake, Nyack Beach State Park), regional sites (George Washington Bridge and the Rip Van Winkle Bridge) and new shared use path venues in other states (Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Northern Virginia near Washington, DC and the Cooper River Bridge in South Carolina).

Eight different scenarios were suggested to provide parking which range in cost from free to $9.4 million.

  • Use Existing On-Street Parking, or On-Street Parking with Muni-meters: Adding muni-meters would cost $100,00 but would provide a new revenue for the Village of South Nyack
  • Parking at Interchange 10
    • Connection to Shared Use Path via Ramp behind Village Hall to Esposito Trail — $3.1 million
    • Connection to Shared Use Path via On-Street Bicycle Lane and Sidewalks on South Broadway — $2.7 million
    • Connection to Shared Use Path via Tunnel under South Broadway Bridge; Ramps and Pedestrian Bridge link to Esposito Trail — $9.4 million
  • Parking in Interchange 10 and on Route 9W Bridge; Connection to Shared Use Path via Closed On-Ramp to I-87/287 Eastbound — $8.85 million
  • Parking in Nyack Municipal Lots
    • Connection to Shared Use Path via fully separated path leading from Esposito Trail to Artopee Way — $1.8 million
    • Connection to Shared Use Path via On-Street Bike Lane and Sidewalks on South Franklin Street — 1.350 million

Village officials says they would prefer to provide pedestrian access to the bridge further west in a reconfigured NYS Thruway Exit 10. That highway interchange is currently a bizarre 450 degree exit ramp for westbound motorists on I-287 which occupies land that used to be South Nyack’s downtown before the TZB was opened 59 years ago. Greg Toolan, a professional surveyor and a member of the mayor’s Tappan Zee Bridge Task Force, proposed a plan that would reclaim that space and while providing a safer location for pedestrians and cyclists to use the bridge path. The Thruway rejected that approach because it would cost $10 million to implement, require a new environmental impact statement and potentially delay construction of the new bridge.

“I don’t think the residents of South Nyack care how much it’s going to cost as long as we preserve our village,” said Christian.

New York State has already committed to spending approximately $5 million on South Nyack, with 95 percent of those funds being used to replace homeowners’ windows and doors as a noise abatement measure.

“The mayor’s plan would require a year-long closure of the South Broadway bridge in the heart of the village, disrupting traffic and emergency services,” said Coneybeare. The land Christian wants to reclaim is currently being used by the Tappan Zee Constructors as a staging area for bridge construction. “While we will continue to work with the village on reasonable solutions, we also have a responsibility to protect taxpayers and tollpayers,” said Conybeare.

Is the Exit 10 solution a future possibility? When asked if moving the SUP to a reconfigured Exit 10 was still possible after the new bridge is complete, Christian said she hadn’t discussed that possibility with Conybeare.

South Nyack Mayor Bonnie Christian says she has requested a meeting with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to appeal the Cornelison Ave SUP terminus decision.



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