BY JANIE ROSMAN
Residents and elected officials packed Living Christ Church in South Nyack Tuesday to hear Tappan Zee Bridge Task Force members present four plans — designed by Thruway Authority engineers and ranging from $11 million to $24 million — to minimize impacts of the new bridge’s shared use path.
South Nyack Mayor Bonnie Christian addressed the group, for whom the chilly rain was no deterrent.
“As you know with your help, and I say your help, the (task force) has succeeded in their efforts to have the terminus and the shared use path moved away from the corner of Cornelison and South Broadway and into Thruway property at Interchange 10,” Christian said. “It is going to be at its rightful location.”
Hear the meeting and view the presentation on the village’s website.
Last May the state and the Thruway Authority agreed to move the path’s terminus from originally-planned Smith Avenue, a dead-end street, and from their second-planned location.
“We want to ensure that the concept chosen will be the best for our residents and will eliminate parking from our streets while allowing for economic development,” Christian told the Rockland County Times Wednesday.
Task force member Nancy Willen explained that each plan reviewed, and modifications to each, was based on retaining the village’s character and charm, residents’ safety and welfare, minimizing impact on the community, protecting the character of the Esposito Trail, providing a solution that includes the village’s initiative for economic development.
Additional concerns were parking, side streets near Village Hall, visitor parking in Nyack, pedestrian and bike safety, location of bathroom facilities, increased traffic. The village’s daily traffic (12,500 cars) is quadruple its population (3,500 residents).
“All other interchanges along the New York State Thruway connect to state or county roads, which were constructed for volumes of traffic,” Willen said. “Our entrance is off of a village road.”
Land surveyor Greg Toolan, another task force member, described each of the four concepts and identified the positive and negatives of each. The task force recommended Concept F; however, the trustees will vote early next year after public input.
The task force will recommend Concept F (see presentation), which addresses the residents’ and village’s concerns and requires a minimum amount of construction, to the Board of Trustees.
“We’ve had 60 years of this” during which the village was steadfast in its determination, task force member Richard Kohlhausen said.
An average of 2,027 cars daily in the village more than doubled to 5,700 cars daily in 2015, according to the state Department of Transportation, she said. The Thruway Authority’s parking demand study concluded Rockland needs 54 spots; Westchester’s 97 spaces can be accommodated on the site of the former state police barracks in Tarrytown.
“We had milestones, one was the terminus location, and the other was an insulation of a tunnel under South Broadway (which) replaces what was going to be a highline and a walkway over South Broadway,” Willen said.
One person asked why Nyack was included when the plans affect only South Nyack.
“That’s an interesting question,” Christian said.
A draft Environmental Assessment will be published in January or February, after which a public meeting will be held in South Nyack — and not at Nyack High School — to solicit public input and comments as part of the EA process.
All comments will be reviewed and responded to during the next few months following the meeting. Which concept is chosen will be determined in April or May, and the state will pay for and construct the approved concept in time for the path’s opening.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is the federal lead, and the Thruway Authority is the state lead for the EA process.