Tappan Zee Bridge Update IV

Tarrytown has the perfect location for a state-of-the-art transit-oriented development at the intersection of Routes 119 and 9 with the proposed commuter rail.

In its current state this intersection has nothing going for it. It is merely a place to get through as rapidly as possible. With an out-of-date one story strip mall on one corner, an empty lot on another corner, and the Thruway offices on another corner there is clearly a rare opportunity for a spectacularly forward-looking development. With bus lines going though the intersection in all four directions, an existing north/south rail and the potential for an east/west rail there are the elements for a multi-modal transit without parallel. The richness of the transit options in this intersection absolutely demand the construction of a comprehensive transit-oriented development.

But first, an explanation of just what transit-oriented development (TOD) really is. TOD is occurring all across the country at existing and new rail lines. With gas prices continuing to edge up, the population rapidly aging and congestion getting ever more onerous, transit is guaranteed to look better and better, particularly if it is surrounded by amenities that enhance transit riders’ quality of life. Living near transit is rapidly becoming the most desirable place to live.

The most successful TODs combine housing, parking (less required if near transit), commercial establishments such as dry cleaners, drug store, market, a day care, medical offices, etc. The idea is to reduce the need to hop in the car for short runs for that ubiquitous quart of milk. The idea of walkable and mixed-use environments around public transit has been gaining traction because proposed transit projects are more likely to win highly competitive federal funds if they can show how well they mesh with existing transit facilities. The best-designed projects, experts say, promote transit ridership, reduce dependency on cars, and spur creation of homes and jobs that use land resources more efficiently.

For the Village of Tarrytown a comprehensive transit-oriented development at the intersection of Routes 119 and 9 would solve a number of intractable problems. It would draw transit riders to the location because of the innumerable options for travel, reducing congestion in the downtown area and having a positive effect on air quality. It would make use of an attractive riverview without disturbing existing residential development. It would increase the tax base with no negative impacts. It would make a currently unattractive intersection into an appealing entrance to an historic river town.

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About the Author: Maureen Morgan