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Street Beat: Nyack Closed To NYC, NJ Cyclists, Mon-Sat Thru mid-Nov

NJ Mostly Closed to East Rockland Cyclists, too.

Nyack, Oct 12 — The end of the bicycling season has come early to Nyack businesses that depend on cyclists from North Jersey and New York City to sell their baked goods and bike maintenance services. Business seems to have fallen off since River Road in South Nyack was closed near the Tappan Zee Bridge on 10/10.

Two possible detours that cyclists can take to avoid Route 9W between Nyack and Piermont during TZB demolition: The Esposito Rail Trail and South Blvd / Tweed Blvd.

Cyclists can pass through the construction site where the Rockland County landing of the bridge is being demolished once an hour during the week and every 15 minutes on Saturdays until work is completed in mid-November. The ill-conceived plan assumes that cyclists would just wait without taking into consideration the likelihood that some riders would take the car/truck detour on Route 9W. In formulating the plan, New NY Bridge officials never spoke with any cyclists who actually use that route, instead relying on input from the smallest bicycle club in the area that have two board members that don’t ride bicycles. It also relied on an the assumption that most cyclists who ride the popular 9W to River Road to Nyack route belong to a cycling club. It never made sense to think cyclists would wait as much as two hours (out and back) to ride through the construction site. And based on the empty tables outside of the Runcible Spoon bakery since Tuesday, they aren’t.

In addition to limiting northbound traffic, Nyack area cyclists are limited to the same restrictions if they want to ride south to Piermont, the Clark Rail Trail in Sparkill, or North Jersey. (more…)

Bicycles Beware of Nyack River Road Closure, But Don’t Detour on 9W!

The Old TZB is now closed. What comes next? Four weeks of cycling and automotive misery, if your regular route on two or four wheels includes Piermont Ave/ River Road.

On Oct 6, the Tappan Zee Constructors (TZC) shifted the last four lanes of traffic from the original 1955 Malcom Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge to the new cable-stay Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. What’s next? TZC will now tear down the Malcolm before connecting the south span of the Mario to the I-287 portion of the NYS Thruway.

Demolition of the landing in Rockland begins on Tues Oct 10. TZC will be at it six days a week (M-Su). Cars will be detoured on to 9W. Bicycles should NOT follow this detour, as it’s a dangerous and contentious route — including a stretch where a Pomona, NY recreational cyclist was struck and killed  in June, 2012.

Bicycles, Hurry Up And Wait (But Don’t Detour on 9W!)

On a busy summer weekend, as many as 5,000 cyclists will ride from North Jersey and New York City to Nyack and points north principally using this route. It’s not the summer, but it’s still a popular route — as witnessed by the throng of cyclists who rest and resuscitate at the Runcible Spoon Bakery on fall weekends. Thruway officials will let cyclists get through once an hour during the week and as frequently as every 15 minutes on Saturday. Which has implications for local businesses than depend on that traffic (prediction: no cyclist is going to wait 15 minutes much less an hour to get through. They will find an alternate route or turn around).

There is one safe alternate route that bypasses the demolition, the backups and all of the traffic. But for some inexplicable reason, New NY Bridge officials won’t endorse it or mention it in their press releases or email blasts. The Esposito Rail trail, albeit limited to hybrid or mountain bicycles, is a great N/S alternative that locals use that runs through the woods. Local cyclists have asked the New NY Bridge’s help to get the word out — but the agency has essentially said, “not our job.”

Cycling advocates fear that riders from NYC and North Jersey will use the 9W detour between Nyack and Piermont rather than wait to get through the demolition site. When members of the Rockland Bicycle Club met with Thruway officials on Oct 3 urging them to discourage cyclists from taking this detour because it includes a dangerous stretch of 9W where recreational cyclist Janet Martinez was struck and killed in June 2012, officials said they would not be highlighting this issue in future announcements to the news media. A spokesperson for the New NY Bridge confirmed on 10/5 that the New NY Bridge had no plans to issue any advisories regarding safe alternate cycling detours, nor did they plan to issue any warnings about bicycling on 9W during the Rockland TZB landing demolition.

In their defense, it might be impolitic for a NYS Thruway project to say that 9W, a NYS DOT roadway, is unsafe for one of the modalities which is entitled to share that road. That said, when safety is concerned, it would be nice to think safety would supersede politics.

This is the last lap of a multi-year, multi-billion dollar infrastructure project where the New NY Bridge has done an exceptional job of community outreach and accommodation — until this week. Countless hours of planning went into coordinating bus re-routes and how fire and ambulance personnel will respond during the weeks when River Road will be closed. Couldn’t they have spent just a little more time thinking through such an obvious conflict?

Cycling is a growing constituency in the lower Hudson and New York State. Governor Andrew Cuomo has dedicated $200 million in the 2017-18 state budget to create the 750 mile Empire State Trail, which, when completed, will be the largest state multi-use trail in the country stretching from the Battery in NYC to the Canadian border and from Albany to Buffalo. Also, there’s no question that the soon to be named Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is the favorite infrastructure project of Governor Andrew Cuomo. You would think that two of the governor’s state agencies could find the time to meet and work through the nuances of communicating the serious safety implications caused by this month long detour, especially considering the death of a cyclist on this road was likely caused by bad communication (Family of Cycling Fatality Says ‘Fix The Signs’, 7/5/2012). But alas, that is not the case.

 

Street Beat is a weekly feature on Nyack News And Views covering streets, sidewalks, cycling, mass transit and safety. Sponsored by Velo Bistro Wine Bar, Weld Realty and Bike Nyack.

Street Beat: Bike Racks For a New Bus On The New Bridge

by Chris Stanton and Dave Zornow

LHTL will use buses suitable for BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) service

LHTL buses will have WiFi on board. Bus stations will have countdown clocks to the next bus arrival as well as bike racks and Internet connections at most LHTL stops. The buses selected will look something like this.

The new LHTL bus system on the new Tappan Zee Bridge has just about everything a commuter could ask for. Except vowels — and a dedicated lane to ride across the new Tappan Zee Bridge.

The Lower Hudson Valley Transit Link will replace Rockland County’s Tappan Zee Express (TZx) bus system sometime in late 2018 after the second span of the new Mario M. Cuomo Bridge opens. The NYS Department of Transportation says the new system will improve the availability, accessibility and overall quality of public transit in the Lower Hudson Valley. “The LHTL will limit delays for commuters and make the region more attractive for economic development,” says NYSDOT Commissioner Matthew Driscoll. (more…)

Street Beat: Orangetown Bicycling — Counts

This summer seemed to bring a surge of cyclists to Orangetown and destinations to its north and west. But no one is quite sure.

Orangetown wants to quantify the bicycling surge. And they’re doing so with a little bit of help from an upstate non-profit and community volunteers who want to make cycling safer and easier in the town’s villages and hamlets.

Orangetown Supervisor Andy Stewart gives a history lesson to area cyclists on a bike tour stop at the Walkway of American Heroes.

At 7p on Sept 7, Orangetown will kick off the Orangetown Bike Study, with a meeting lead by led by Parks & Trails NY (PTNY) at Orangetown Town Hall. Community members, cyclists, parents, land use board members and business owners are invited to attend. The study is intended to document bicycling usage, map routes and help plan for tomorrow. (more…)

Street Beat: Tappan Zee Bridge Debuts, Again!

8 Answers To Bridge Questions You Might Have
(including, when can I ride the SUP?)

Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, Tappan Zee Bridge, New NY Bridgeby Dave Zornow

Nyack, Aug 24 — It’s Game On this Friday for Rockland County (north- and west-) bound traffic on the north span of the new Tappan Zee Bridge. Westchester? Your time is coming later this fall. Here are answers to a few questions you might have about opening night on the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. (more…)

Street Beat: What To Do If You Get Hit By A Car While Cycling

More than three-quarters of a million New Yorkers ride a bike regularly—250,000 more than just five years ago. It is estimated that over 450,000 cycling trips are made each day in New York City—triple the amount taken 15 years ago.Cycling in the City, NYC Department of Transportation

by Steve P. Knowlton

Bicycling is on the rise! More people than ever are bicycling, both as a means of transportation and for a healthy and fun workout. Unless you’re one of the very lucky folks that have access to a protected, car-free bicycle path very nearby your home, some of the time you will be riding on streets and sharing them with cars and drivers. And if you are using your bike for transportation on a regular basis, you’ll definitely be riding on the roads and streets. (more…)