One of the most vital transportation links in the New York metropolitan region, the Tappan Zee Bridge is due for a major upgrade to satisfy growing travel demands. New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), New York State Thruway Authority and MTA Metro-North Railroad are working together to plan a new bridge that includes exciting possibilities for transit that will better meet the needs of Rockland and Westchester County communities along the I-287/I-87 corridor.  Five design alternatives currently being evaluated by NYSDOT range from adding a bus-rapid transit (BRT) link across the bridge (both with and without a designated travel lane) to building a heavy rail link from Suffern to New York City.

A longtime proponent of “Building Communities through Transportation” and “Thinking Beyond the Station,” PPS was hired by NYSDOT, along with the Regional Plan Association and Reconnecting America, to conduct workshops with communities along the corridor to leverage the state’s transit investment and explore opportunities for transit oriented development. The Tappan Zee Bridge project is a terrific opportunity for communities to plan responsibly for future growth around transit and maximize the economic benefits of increased housing and transportation choices, as well as create jobs and improve overall quality of life. Proactive land use planning will also help preserve the state’s investment in new highway capacity.

PPS and its partners will hold two county-wide workshops around these issues this fall, with an open invitation to all interested communities. Specific topics may include creating great places around transit, smart parking, mixed-income housing, regulations and financing for transit-oriented community design, changing roadway design to support livable communities and optimizing transit service. Two-day workshops will then be held in the subsequent year in eight communities (four per county) consisting of in-depth discussion of local issues and local solutions, development of conceptual plans, and presentation of implementation tools. Communities interested in receiving this technical planning assistance must submit an application by July 17thThis pilot project is also intended for eventual deployment to communities across the state.

For more information, please contact Craig Raphael at craphael@pps.org.