TZ Task Force Recommends New Bus Rapid Transit System

PRESS RELEASE FROM NY THRUWAY

The New NY Bridge Mass Transit Task Force (MTTF) held its final meeting today at the Tarrytown Senior Center, where its members made public its short-, mid- and long-term recommendations for future transit options on the new bridge to replace the Tappan Zee linking Rockland and Westchester counties.

The 31-member panel made up of elected officials from Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties, along with transportation experts, professional planners, transit advocates and other regional stakeholders was co-chaired by New York State Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas Madison and New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald.

The MTTF is recommending a new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system to be in place when the new bridge is open in 2018. If all the recommendations are implemented, the new BRT system will increase transit ridership by 10,150 people per day in the region, cutting commuter travel times by 20 to 25 percent.

Riders will enjoy a new, clearly branded BRT system with high-quality transit stations that will include passenger amenities such as seating, real-time bus arrival information, Wi-Fi at stations and on board, and protection from the elements. The system will be used to travel between or within both counties on the same vehicles with one fare card, one fare payment system and one identity. This achieves a key objective of the MTTF – to provide travelers with an easy-to-understand, simple-to-use and convenient transit choice to get more drivers out of their cars and to cut congestion.

“The task force recommendations outline a public transit link that will make travel between Rockland and Westchester commercial and employment centers quicker and more reliable and, as a result, provide a viable transit alternative to automobiles, from the day the New NY Bridge opens in 2018,” said McDonald.

“The Mass Transit Task Force has been successful because we were able to bring together county and local officials from Westchester and Rockland, along with advocates and transportation experts. We worked collaboratively to examine regional transportation needs and gained consensus for how the New NY Bridge can best address those needs,” McDonald added.

“I thank and applaud all the members of the New NY Bridge Mass Transit Task Force for thinking creatively and planning regionally to recommend exciting new transit options for the lower Hudson Valley,” said Madison. “The personal engagement from each task force member, and the exceptional planning and technical contributions from Westchester and Rockland counties have resulted in practical solutions that will increase transit ridership, decrease travel times, and improve mobility throughout the region.”

The MTTF, established at the request of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in December 2012, was tasked with making recommendations that are fiscally viable and meet the transit needs of the region, targeting major residential, commercial and employment corridors.

Short-term Recommendations (Next 5 Years):

· New BRT Stations and Vehicles

· High-Tech Transit Signal Priority Systems

· Simple, Legible Routing

· Dedicated Transit Lanes

· I-287 Congestion Control: Ramp Metering

· Traffic Signal Improvements

· Route 59 “Smart Corridor”

· White Plains Access and Station Area Study

· Corridor Preservation Study

· Interchange 10 Reconstruction / South Nyack Study

· New I-287/87 Interchange 14X Study

· Transportation Demand Management Programs

· Transit-Oriented Development

· West-of-Hudson Rail Improvements

Mid-term Recommendations (Up to 15 years after NNYB opens)

· White Plains Station Redevelopment

· Interchange 11 Reconstruction

· West-of-Hudson Rail Improvements

· In-Line BRT Station at the Palisades Center

· New BRT Stations Along the Proposed Routes

· Expanded Park and Ride Facilities in Rockland County

Long-term Recommendations (15 Years or more after NNYB opens)

· Passenger Service on the West Shore Line

· East-West Rail Options (Light Rail or Commuter Rail)

The MTTF met 12 times between late 2012 and early 2014 to develop its transit recommendations. In addition, 18 working sessions were held with local stakeholders to further refine the proposal.

The full Mass Transit Task Force report can be found here: http://www.newnybridge.com/documents/index.html