by Owen Voutsinas-Klose
At the fourth of seven planned Comprehensive Master Plan (CMP) meetings on Wednesday, the elephant on the water was discussed: The Tappan Zee Bridge. More specifically, how the new Tappan Zee Bridge would effect Nyack’s future transportation needs and utilities/downtown improvements needs. For those unfamiliar, the CMP document, last updated eight years ago, outlines the broad goals for zoning in the village. The efforts are led by NYC-based consultancy BFJ Planning. But the most exciting tidbit from the meeting was talk of a ferry — which might go directly to New York City.
Traffic and Accessibility
The drawback of the new bridge for Nyackers will be the increase in traffic. Without increasing thruway capacity, the new bridge will result in more congestion and, as a result worse air quality in the area. The good news: The village has received a TAP grant to make downtown more sustainable and pedestrian friendly. The CMP planners will look at ways to make Nyack’s downtown safer for pedestrians, cars and bicycles, particularly in areas with high levels of accidents.
TAP money will also be used to improve sidewalk and road safety in downtown Nyack, particularly in the areas with the most accidents (Main Street and North Highland).
Some interesting village statistics from the Department of Transportation:
- The most motor vehicle accidents in the village occurred at the intersection near the entrance to the village on Route 59 (by McDonald’s).
- Since May 1st, 2012, there have been 131 crashes with injuries, and another 923 estimated unreported crashes with property damage.
- Since May 1st of 2012, 26 pedestrians have been injured and 6 cyclists have been hurt.
- Nyack is a regional hotspot for cycling. On one day this past August, over 1,500 bicyclists were counted.
- Contrary to popular belief, the village has a surplus of parking. Main Street is only 76% full on a typical Saturday, and the St. Catherine and Spear Street lots are only 46% and 28% full, respectively.
A Ferry in Our Future?
Columbia graduate students will be working with the village to determine the availability of ferry service. Their findings will be revealed at the next meeting, which will focus on the waterfront, and is scheduled for March 30. The graduate students presented three options for future consideration. One was a seasonal ferry that would meander up the Hudson River ending in Beacon. It would be great for sightseeing as it would hit numerous river stops. The second option was a ferry from Nyack to Tarrytown for commuters. Tarrytown is open to the idea. Third, a direct route from Nyack to West 39th Street in Manhattan was proposed. The ferry would end at the new Hudson Yards port.
The region’s water system is at a tipping point. Increasing water scarcity, aging infrastructure and growing populations must be addressed by the Nyack CMP and the whole region. Storm water drainage in particular has led to water scarcity. Currently, development makes it more difficult for storm water to replenish aquifers. Much of the storm water runs off into the river or sewer system. Reusing water, encouraging better drainage, and reducing water consumption can help save water for the future. Additionally, the village’s infrastructure must be repaired.
Sewage is another area for concern. The aging and crumbling infrastructure cannot control the high volume of sewage resulting from storms. This unnecessary storm water does not belong in the sewage system, and is a growing issue.
- You can help shape Nyack’s future by taking an online survey to help ascertain public priorities for the CMP.
- The next CMP meeting on March 30 will focus on waterfront development.
- BFJ will present its proposal for the final CMP after the public meetings have concluded in June. Nyack Village Trustees will vote to approve the final Comprehensive Master Plan sometime in the fall.