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Rockland Legislator Draws Attention To New NY Bridge Parking Proposals

WAMC, Allison Dunne

The comment period is scheduled to end tomorrow for parking proposals concerning the replacement Tappan Zee Bridge. One county legislator is urging area residents to weigh in, but another was unaware of the proposals.

While the parking proposals themselves are drawing various comments, an underlying issue, at least in Rockland County, concerns the siting of the so-called terminus, or where the shared use path – the path for walking and biking across the bridge – begins and ends and leads to the parking. The New NY Bridge Project Team for the Shared Use Path has proposed parking concepts, saying 151 parking spaces are needed – 97 in Westchester and 54 in Rockland. There are eight parking concepts proposed for the South Nyack terminus in Rockland County and two for Westchester County. Rockland County Legislator Nancy Low-Hogan has commented against any proposal that will cause disruption to the residential character of South Nyack and is concerned about the impact of parking and bike and pedestrian traffic on the village.

“Probably the primary concern is that the current parking concepts that are on the website do not take into consideration the idea of moving the terminus from its present location where they want to put it, which is on the corner of Cornelison and South Broadway, and moving it physically to Exit 10,” says Low-Hogan.

The two streets she mentions are residential and she refers to the New NY Bridge website.

“And what I am pushing for is that the terminus itself be moved to Exit 10,” says Low-Hogan. “And it’s possible, once that happens, it’s possible that one or more of these parking concepts might work very well with that, but that’s sort of the missing piece here, right now.”

Low-Hogan points to a recent development.

“I was briefed and the chairman of the Rockland County Legislature was briefed on this: There is a new plan in development that would effectively move the terminus from the corner of Cornelison and South Broadway to Exit 10.”

She says this newest plan sounds like the New NY project team has been listening to area residents’ and officials’ concerns. In an e-mailed statement, Special Advisor to the Governor on the New NY Bridge Brian Conybeare says, “We continue to listen to ideas and comments from the public about the shared-use bike/pedestrian path parking concepts that are currently posted on our website.” Democratic Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee says she shares many of the residents’ concerns, specifically regarding safety, if the terminus is to be at the corner of South Broadway and Cornelison. Democrat Alfreda Williams represents Tarrytown, on the Westchester side of the Tappan Zee, where two parking concepts are proposed.

“Concept B, where the visitor parking is linked to the shared use path is the more appropriate one because it seems like the, Concept A, would have a very negative impact on the community in terms of their parking needs and pedestrian travel and just general traffic tie-ups.”

Again, Low-Hogan.

“My goal was to get the word out because I knew there were people in this very community who  didn’t even know about this website, who didn’t even know they had an opportunity to weigh in on these parking options,” Low-Hogan says.

Williams says she wants the comment period to be extended.

“People are occupied and because of the weather being what it has been lately I don’t think people are aware of this at all, so extending the comment period would be the right thing to do under the circumstances,” says Williams.

Conybeare responds that “While initial comments were requested by this Friday, as part of the federal environmental assessment the New NY Bridge team is planning community meetings to get more input in both Rockland and Westchester in March and another formal public comment period will be held before any final decisions are made.”

The first span of the new twin-span bridge is scheduled to open in 2016, and the new bridge should be complete in 2018. The estimated $3.9 billion bridge is not yet fully funded.

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