Initial Request for 24/7 Access to the Tappan Zee / Cuomo Bridge

Date: 23 Aug 2017
To: Andrew Cuomo <governor.cuomo@ny.gov>, Joanne Mahoney <joanne.mahoney@thruway.ny.gov>
Subject: 24/7 access for cuomo bridge

Dear Governor Cuomo and Chairperson Mahoney:

I understand the Thruway Authority is deliberating policies for the Cuomo Bridge's Shared Use Path (SUP) in anticipation of the path's ~2018/2019 completion. The path must be open 24/7, 365. Any other policy means the State would be making choices for people on how, and if, they can travel.

The Thruway has, commendably, gone to extraordinary lengths to address South Nyack's concerns in regards to the SUP design. At the same time, this is not South Nyack's bridge. It is a national transportation resource. Which is why South Nyack isn't able to dictate the hours for the bridge's roadway. Similarly, a handful of loud voices in one neighborhood must not restrict Americans' ability to travel freely on their bicycles.

Fortunately, draconian measures such as closing the SUP overnight is unnecessary. It is possible to positively address the SUP's five main constituencies with a proper operational plan. The five groups are:

1) Regular people using their feet and bikes for transportation. Going to work, school, friends, shopping, a show, etc. These people have places to be at all hours of the day and night, just like the people driving on the bridge. Many trips will involve the Tarrytown Metro-North station, where trains stop 22 hours per day. While the belvederes are nice touch for them, it's not why they're there.

2) Recreational users who walk and bike to the path. Their use will be greatest during weekend daytimes. They are likely to stop and enjoy the belvederes.

3) Tourists and recreational users who will drive to the path. They'll be welcomed by the SUP's parking spaces and generally be there during daylight hours, traversing the path and relaxing in the belvederes.

4) South Nyack residents who live near the SUP terminus. Of course, they'll enjoy using the SUP and belvederes. The Mayor and some residents are concerned about people potentially driving and parking in their neighborhood.

5) The Thruway Authority, which seeks to safely and efficiently run the bridge.

An operational plan to satisfy all these groups could include components such as:

Please note, bridges operated by New York City and those of the MTA are open overnight, without incident or disruption to local residents.

There are myriad reasons for keeping the path open 24 hours. Some of them are covered in my Journal-News op-ed.

Best wishes for the ceremony Thursday and opening on Friday,

--Dan

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