by Jerry Ilowite
The Village of South Nyack opposes the unnecessarily rushed scoping process for the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project; giving the public less than two weeks notice of the hearing and a scoping packet bereft of sufficient detail for any informed comment to be provided by the village.
No other community will be so profoundly affected by the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project as will the Village of South Nyack. The construction of the current bridge in the 1950s had a devastating effect on South Nyack and we are resolved to not let this project make things worse. In fact, we see this as an opportunity to makes things better.
South Nyack was literally cut in half by the Thruway and our entire downtown was eliminated. Cross-highway access is severely constrained. This new project will once again impact our village with increased traffic, noise, air pollution, and vibration. This project should attempt to improve on the current deficiencies.
The new pedestrian and bicycle lanes on the new bridge will be worthless unless their interface to the trails and roadways of South Nyack are intelligently designed in cooperation with the Village.
The Village of South Nyack has taken the lead in offering a proposal to mitigate the expected damage to the community and the surrounding environment through leveraging the bridge replacement project to the benefit of the entire river villages community.
Our proposal, to cover over the Thruway as it passes through South Nyack, and develop a green, mixed recreational and community-appropriate commercial solution, fits with the TZB replacement project’s goals to maximize public investment and ensure long-term vitality. It recovers and repurposes approximately 45 acres of land above the Thruway that was lost to the village when the Tappan Zee Bridge was first constructed. Land that can be used to the benefit of all.
This initiative will contribute to alleviating the depressed economy of the river villages region and at the same time restore and repair much of the damage done by the construction of the first bridge.
Our proposal is specifically recommended in the recently adopted Rockland County Comprehensive Plan and has gained the endorsement and support of our local, County, State, and Federal representatives.
The bridge replacement project is now presented as an economic development priority for the region. From a public investment point of view, it makes tremendous sense to include our proposal in this project. It is imperative that for the enhanced economic and environmental benefit of the river villages region, the Village of South Nyack’s “Lid Park” proposal be included in the Environmental Review and final bridge development proposal.
Jerry Ilowite is Chairman of the Planning Board and the Comprehensive Planning Board in the Village of South Nyack, NY