Simple Safety at Tappan Zee in Tarrytown

A "Side Path" for people walking, biking, etc along Broadway is going to be built as part of the New NY Bridge (Tappan Zee Bridge replacement) project. The path will be in the sidewalk area along the west side of Broadway from where the Bridge's "Shared Use Path" lets out (next to 303 South Broadway) to the DoubleTree Hotel.

It's being built in two segments. This page is about our concerns with the first segment, from the Bridge to Route 119. Problems regarding the second segment, between Route 119 and the DoubleTree Hotel, are covered in another article.

Below is an email we sent to express those concerns and solutions to address them. If you agree, please send a similar email too.

Date: Wed, 22 Nov 2017
To: George Paschalis <george.paschalis@newnybridge.com>,
    Peter Harckham <peter.harckham@newnybridge.com>
Cc: Drew Fixell <dfixell@tarrytowngov.com>,
    Richard Slingerland <rslingerland@tarrytowngov.com>,
    David Aukland <daukland@tarrytowngov.com>,
    Becky McGovern <becky1874mcgov@gmail.com>,
    Lakis Polycarpou <lpolycarpou1@gmail.com>,
    Todd Westhuis <todd.westhuis@dot.ny.gov>,
    Chris Lee <christopher.lee@dot.ny.gov>,
    Thomas Abinanti <abinantit@assembly.state.ny.us>,
    Alyssa Jacobs <jacobsa@assembly.state.ny.us>,
    Andrea Stewart-Cousins <scousins@nysenate.gov>,
    Symra Brandon <symradb@gmail.com>
Subject: simple side path safety in tarrytown

Dear George and Pete:

Bike Tarrytown sees several simple steps that need to be observed to ensure safety on the Side Path in Tarrytown north of Route 119.

Thruway Onramp

We hope the Thruway onramp is not rebuilt. When it was open, people used neighborhood streets as a rat run from the Saw Mill River Parkway to the Bridge. It presented an unnecessary risk for residents, and if reopened, for Side Path users as well.

If the ramp is reactivated, it must be engineered so people can only drive 20 MPH while crossing the Side Path. Doing so guarantees that when people make mistakes here, people driving won't kill or seriously injure people crossing the ramp. See "Systematic Safety" for more information (https://youtu.be/5aNtsWvNYKE).

The old layout here is a wide, sweeping curve that allows driving quite fast. Plus the crosswalk came down to roadway level.

119 Jug Handle

Similarly, the jug handle from southbound Route 9 to eastbound Route 119 is presently configured to make crossing it dangerous. The [entrance to the jug handle] should be only 1 lane wide at the crossing and be engineered so people can only drive through the crosswalk at 20 MPH.

Separate Paths / Width

The Side Path will see significant user volumes. It will be best if there are two separate paths: one for people walking and another for people biking. But if people will be combined on one path, FHWA guidelines specify it must be at least 14 feet wide.

Heading North

The Side Path handles people heading south from the Bridge. People heading north need safe infrastructure as well.

The New NY Bridge project should coordinate planning with the Route 9 Active Transportation study and implement what it recommends from the Bridge path to Franklin St.

Little Falls Pkwy at the Capital Crescent Trail, Montgomery County, MD

Terminus Crossing

Directly across Broadway from the Shared Use Path is a large apartment complex. People will, and should, walk directly between the two locations. Plus, a significant number of people driving out of the Path's parking lot will be making left turns.

North of this spot, Broadway has one travel lane in each direction. To simplify traffic patterns, thus enhancing safety, this location must have one travel lane in each direction and have a median refuge island. This configuration has several benefits for all users, whether it has signals or not:

If the crossing will be unsignalized, strong signage must be installed. See the Little Falls Parkway photo (right) for an example.

This setup will result in it being the safest location to cross. At the shopping center, Broadway is very wide. At Route 119 the road is very wide and has very heavy turning movements. Prospect Ave is wider and has turning movements as well.

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