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$250,000 Grant to Fund Bike Lane Study for Route 119

by Barrett Seaman –   

Once again, the New York State Thruway Authority is doling out money to study the feasibility of adding bike lanes to a major thoroughfare coming off the New NY (Mario Cuomo) Bridge. This time, the money ($250,000) is going to the Town of Greenburgh, the City of White Plains and the villages of Tarrytown and Elmsford, through which Route 119 runs, largely parallel with I-87/287 as it comes off the bridge.

As with the Broadway corridor project, the money will be spent on public surveys and engineering studies. A consortium of municipal representatives and local residents will be working with the same firm doing the Broadway analysis, Nelson Nygaard, drawing from existing studies and plans, public meetings, and technical expertise, according to Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner. The goal is to submit a practical plan for final engineering before July 2018.

“This project will result in a design that supports high quality access to the new New York Bridge and existing trails crossing Route 119, highways and high volume junctions, as well as adjacent communities, while providing continuous active transportation connectivity, improved safety, and better multi-modal access for local business and residential areas,” Feiner posted on Facebook.

“The study will cover the entire length of Route 119, from Route 9 (South Broadway) in Tarrytown to Route 22 (South Broadway) in downtown White Plains,” according to the Nelson Nygaard brochure on the study. “It will consider ‘quick build’ alternatives; have a robust community involvement process, including demonstration projects. The goal would be finding consensus on how to make Route 119 usable by everyone—trucks, people walking, riding bikes and buses, and in cars.”

Route 119 runs along relatively flat terrain from the bridge to downtown White Plains, allowing bikers and hikers to connect up with the Old Croton Aqueduct, the North/South County Trailway and the Bronx River Trailway. In many places, it is wide enough to accommodate a dedicated “shared use” lane. But like Broadway, it has some obvious pinch points that are sure to present engineering challenges—and some public resistance: the intersection with Saw Mill River Road in Elmsford, the stretch of road in Greenburgh lined with shopping centers and the confluence with the Bronx River Parkway and Central Avenue nearing White Plains.

The Route 119 grant is $100,000 higher than the Broadway corridor grant—largely because the Route Nine Steering Committee “kind of low-balled the amount of work involved,” admitted Dan Convissor, a member of both steering committees. $230,000 will go towards Nelson Nygaard’s fee. The remaining $20,000 is being held to orchestrate “live demonstrations” next spring.

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