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New Tappan Zee Bridge to Include Rush-Hour Bus Lanes

The span will include part-time public transit, state officials said Thursday

After , concerned Rockland residents have received a small dose of vindication—the new Hudson span will include part-time dedicated bus lanes that run during peak hours, state officials have said.

The news was announced by governor Andrew Cuomo's staff Thursday afternoon. Andrew O'Rourke, a spokesman for the New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA), confirmed the announcement Friday.

"We are working on the details," he said.

The dedicated bus lanes would operate during morning and evening rush hours. The new crossing is slated to house 14 lanes across two parallel spans.

Officials could not comment on what lanes the buses would use, or the exact hours the lanes would be in effect. It is also unclear whether the lanes will run north-bound and south-bound simultaneously.

"As we have repeatedly said, the new bridge will support enhanced express bus service the day it opens, even if connecting infrastructure is not yet available in Westchester or Rockland Counties," said NYSTA executive director Tom Madison. "The plan for a safer, more modern bridge includes eight general traffic lanes as well as additional wider lanes that would accommodate a pedestrian/bike lane, emergency breakdown lanes, and a dedicated bus lane."

Veronica Vanterpool, the executive director of regional non-profit Tri-State Transportation Campaign, seeks to bolster transit options across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. She said she is pleased with Cuomo's news, but noted it is just one step in the right direction. 

"Tri-State Transportation Campaign applauds the state's effort to be more accountable to the public process by responding to the thousands of pleas for transit on the new bridge," she said. "However, the Campaign calls on the New York State Thruway Authority to expand dedicated bus lane service beyond peak hour periods and to expand the dedicated lane into the I-287 corridor in both Westchester and Rockland Counties."

The new span's ambiguous financing is another feature that has drawn attention, though officials have said its $5.2 billion price tag will be funded entirely by taxpayers, and that toll hikes and toll-backed bonds will likely help pay the way. The NYSTA's credit outlook was by Standard and Poor's. 

In past weeks, governor Cuomo , ensuring there will be no strikes during the span's build. Other elements of the agreement are estimated to have saved taxpayers about $450 million.

In late May, the state announced it for the project—a decision that angered some homeowners who had long been preparing to relinquish their property.

Scotty June 29, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Funny me !!!.....I thought all along it DID have " bus only" lanes....they just came up with this idea now ? God help us.
Arthur Winoker June 29, 2012 at 10:08 PM
If there was no prior analysis done of what it would cost: 1. to replace the pilings with concrete ones and/or protect the existing ones, 2. to use non metal materials to replace the constantly rusting metal decks. We should do it now and invest in weighing stations, special hours and speed limits for trucks to cut down on future maintenance. Maybe the Army Corps of Engineers can give us an unbiased analysis here.
Mike June 29, 2012 at 11:32 PM
There are so few people who take a bus across the TZB that this should just be classified as STUPID.
Jesse June 30, 2012 at 12:35 AM
I've taken that bus and it had a nice crowd of people on board. But we were in the same traffic as everyone else. Now car drivers stuck in traffic will see buses zipping by, which should encourage the switch for those who can.
Sick-n-Tired June 30, 2012 at 01:19 AM
The bus idea is just plain stupid. Like Jesse said "we are the same traffic as everyone else". That bridge needs some type of light rail system to connect to Metro North to attract commuters who do not want to sit on that bridge in traffic.
Joseph J Gannon June 30, 2012 at 03:07 AM
How many buses will there be during high volume times vs the loss of a car lane, further depressing the air quality. Nonsensical. Sounds good. Not thought out.
Pat June 30, 2012 at 10:38 AM
So the New York Times FINALLY speaks up on this subject (this past Wednesday, good article) and suddenly Cuomo finds a bus lane?? After saying--and I quote--"that's life" when asked why there was no mass transit? Cuomo also said that there didn't appear to be ridership for mass transit. WHAT?? And tell me, Swami--how'd you figure that? It seems to be all anyone talks about here, but perhaps you think of Rockland and Orange as some big pasture? The seventh wealthiest county in the country (Rockland)? Ya think some of that might be coming from the city? Hate to sound like an echo, but the others have nailed it: this is just plain STUPID. Billions of dollars for a twenty-first century bridge and the best you can do is a bus lane? Quite possibly the most idiotic move I've seen yet. You want funding? Sell the naming rights, and no, I'm not kidding. Some brand would get their name mentioned constantly. Corporations can buy elections now--why not bridges?
Karen Tarapata June 30, 2012 at 12:05 PM
The bus across the bridge is consistently packed with commuters (I know - I ride it). Buses are so much more cost effective than trains and can be rerouted to accommodate changing patterns of population. A dedicated bus lane removes the problem of "sitting in traffic." I don't understand the objections to the bus lane stated here. I sense an overall sourness and desire to be disappointed in the discussion.
Walt June 30, 2012 at 12:46 PM
What are you talking about, trains are more cost effective by far. You can only pack 40 people on a bus. "Changing patterns of population"? It's a commuter rail line and people drive to the station and park there car there, it's been done for years. People want to get on a train, sit in a seat and get off at their destination not have to wait on a platform, pack on a bus, fight traffic across the bridge, meander their way through the local traffic from the thruway to the Tarrytown town train station and then wait on another platform for the train to arrive.
Mike Hirsch June 30, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Right about that Mike. I rarely see a bus on the TZ. This will only make the traffic worse.
John Taggart June 30, 2012 at 04:01 PM
I think you make a good point. It will be the success of buses that leads to the train being added.
Andromachos June 30, 2012 at 05:45 PM
That transfer to the train - that is the real problem.
E. Loughran June 30, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Mr. Zawacki- Why do you continue to use pictures of the current, single-span, unobtrusive bridge to illustrate your articles about the "new bridge"? What is being proposed ( or shoved down our throats ) is a double-span, three-story high set of bridges, further north than the current span. Artist's renderings of this currently exist...take a look...it's a frightening prospect for our river villages. Maybe if citizens understood what is being planned, they might react with ( appropriate ) horror. Otherwise, those not educated might say, in future "I didn't know it would be so HUGE!". This should be STOPPED...NOW!
Kevin Zawacki (Editor) July 02, 2012 at 07:20 PM
E. Loughran, a fair point. I'll track down some of the architectural renderings and include them with future stories. Thanks for reading!

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