One hundred New NY Bridge community meetings and counting, the large one Monday night marked many milestones on the community outreach front.
Spokesperson Brian Conybeare introduced the panel comprising the Tappan Zee Constructors (TZC) team and the numerous ways citizens can connect with the project: a new video drives you over the bridge-to-be, there's a jobs website, daily office hours, a Community Outreach Manager and a Tarrytown-based liaison to the project.
David Aukland, of the Tarrytown Planning Board, has been named the “liaison to the Tappan Zee Bridge reconstruction project” for Tarrytown (pending endorsement on the Board of Trustees on Wednesday, which is expected).
This doesn’t mean you will call him when the pile-driving is too loud—you can save that for Conybeare and his office, which will now be open daily at 303 South Broadway on the first floor. Rather, Aukland will be working closely with the design team to help come up with local solutions to unresolved issues like staging areas, worker parking, traffic at the bridge’s intersection with Tarrytown, and so on.
Aukland will also serve on the bridge’s public transit task force with Tarrytown Mayor Drew Fixell, who is rerunning for Mayor and tasked with the 31-member team to weigh in on mass transit solutions short-, medium- and long-term on and beyond the bridge.
“The public is being brought into the public every step of the way,” Conybeare said.
The TZC team includes a Community Outreach/Diversity Manager, Carla Julian, who said she would make herself very accessible to anyone, from citizens concerned about construction issues to local business owners wanting to get in on the action and job seekers.
Those interested in one of the "tons" of job opportunities Conybeare promised were offered a new website to coincide with the New NY bridge project, live now at tappanzeeconstructors.com, along with a list of dates to come (times and venues to be determined, one in Westchester and one in Rockland for each):
- DBE – Feb. 14 and 15 (for the disadvantaged)
- Job Fairs – March 6 and 7
- Biz to biz fairs – April 23 and 24
When construction does begin (see a timeline of preconstruction here), it’s certainly going to be quite a show.
Part of Aukland’s interest is to figure out where/how they can set up a viewing station in the village as people from here and beyond will surely want to watch.
“One of the stars," said Conybeare, will be the so-called “Left Coast Lifter,” the largest floating crane in the world, able to lift the equivalent poundage of 12 Statues of Liberty. It will float on four barges and sit quite high on the river. It will make its way here through the Panama Canal and across the Gulf of Mexico on up and just its arrival should be something to behold.
We will watch giant hunks of coming (new bridge) and going (old bridge) move by barge along the river, which promises to alleviate the traffic pressure on a community already pressed like Tarrytown.
Among the many worries villagers have, traffic ranks right up there, as does direct impacts to communities closest to the bridge, like the Quay. Citizens asked if the toll plaza would widen (marginally), and just where exactly would this behemoth rest on land. Many of these exact details have yet to be worked out as the design plan is only partially complete, and the team said they welcome questions.
"We want to empower people with information," said Conybeare, saying the goal was to make this the most transparent mass transit project in history.
Office hours for the Community Outreach Center in Tarrytown at 303 S. Broadway are: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., starting today.
Phone number is 855-TZ-Bridge. Website: NewNYBridge.com. Click here for a PDF of last night's presentation.
What issues remain unaddressed in your mind as this bridge nears groundbreaking? Tell us in the comments.
Keep following Patch for more video and stories from this meeting.