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Letters-to-the-Editor & Commentary

Fix Design Flaws on the Cuomo Tappan Zee Bridge

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April 11, 2020

March 30, 2020

Dear Governor Cuomo:

We appreciate the State has its hands full at the moment. At the same time, preparations continue for completing the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge’s walking/cycling path. Thus, we bring this to your attention now so it can be addressed at the right time.

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We viewed the beautiful “flyover” video of the Shared-Use Path (https://youtu.be/l5HwNctJJsY). While we realize this rendering is for promotional purposes, it contains details that — if implemented as shown — will cause difficulty.

  1. The word “STOP” is shown on the cycling surface at each belvedere (see screen capture, right). This would cause more problems than it solves.The safety of pedestrians is crucial. Fortunately, people walking and cycling are able to clearly see each other and negotiate interactions. Having stops at each belvedere means people cycling will be required to forfeit their momentum 6 times while crossing the bridge, even when few, if any, people are walking at those locations – which will be the case the vast majority of the time.

    Rule compliance is highest when users feel the rule makes sense. To this end, it will be wise to use yield symbols. This eliminates the possibility of arbitrary enforcement. Using symbols instead of words will help, considering the significant Spanish speaking population living near the bridge and the likelihood of international tourists visiting the path.

  2. It indicates the SUP’s surface being painted blue. Painting paths is non-standard. We know of no other facility with such treatment. Coating the surface introduces several problems. Up front, it results in unnecessary cost, carbon emissions and air pollution. It also creates long term liabilities for the Thruway Authority, as the paint deteriorates:
    1. can result in an uneven surface as chunks of paint come off
    2. it will become micro-plastic water pollution
    3. recoating means repeating all of the up front problems
    4. access to the SUP will likely be disrupted during repainting
  3. The Rockland Welcome Center rendering includes inverted U racks for parking bicycles. These are excellent. Their placement may need refinement, though. The racks look like they will be too close together and be up against shrubs (see screen capture, right). There needs to be at least 3 feet between each rack and 2 feet away from obstructions in front of them (see diagram below our signatures). This allows easy access for people to lock bikes to both sides of each rack.
  4. At the Westchester Welcome Center, the bike parking is shown to be slots in the wall of a planter (see screen capture, right). This doesn’t allow bikes to be locked securely. It also creates the potential of bikes getting damaged by being knocked over. When secure racks are unavailable, people lock bikes to trees, light poles, etc.
  5. There should be at least one space for non-standard cycles at each Center. Such vehicles include those used by disabled people and cargo bikes. Please see pages 54 through 57 of “A Guide to Inclusive Cycling” for more information. We hope these suggestions help the Thruway provide a better experience for everyone using the Shared Use Path. If you have any questions or need reviews of drawings or the site, please contact Daniel Convissor. We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Daniel Convissor
Bike Tarrytown
Peter Storey
New York Cycle Club
Allan Friedman
Five Boro Bicycle Club
Jon Orcutt
Bike New York
Peggy Cullen
Orange County Bicycle Club
Christine Schopen
Westchester Cycle Club
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