JuLY 27, 2012

A bridge not too far

The Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge — better known as the Tappan Zee, or the Tapp — lies about 17 miles from the center of Bedford Village. Local residents might want to keep an eye on what’s happening on the Hudson—the deadline for final construction proposals from building and design teams for the new bridge is today, July 27.

A few of us may be among the bridge’s 138,000 regular commuters, but almost everyone is an occasional rider, to New Jersey, Rockland County or points west. Its efficient and safe operation is integral to our transportation needs.

There is no doubt as to its need for replacement. Current congestion and traffic delays affect us all. The original design was only meant to bear 100,000 vehicles a day. A brand-new, well-designed, constructed and maintained bridge will determine the nature and character of a critical transportation connector for the 21st century.

While lane and deck work on the existing bridge has been ongoing — a new deck on the existing bridge is expected to be completed this winter — a new bridge is touted as the best option for the future.

The new bridge would consist of eight traffic lanes, with dedicated lanes and shoulders for emergency vehicles, dedicated bus lane, and a walkway. High-tech sensors would provide data on traffic and road conditions, while the plan offers improved toll collection & EZ Pass lanes. Most interesting is the proposed “bus rapid transit,” which could go a long way to remedy the long-lagging public transportation options in Westchester and west of the Hudson. The final environmental impact statement on the building of the second bridge — dealing with traffic, community and environmental impacts, among other concerns — will be delivered this week.

Costs are estimated at $5 billion. Last month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the New York State Thruway Authority has completed a sale of long-term bonds, raising $1.1 billion to help ensure it can move forward with capital projects across the state, including the new Tappan Zee. Also in June, Mr. Cuomo announced that a project labor agreement was reached between the State Thruway Authority and 14 labor organizations. According to the governor, the agreement will save taxpayers an estimated $452 million.

Following today’s construction bid deadline, authorities expect to select a construction team by the end of summer.

President Barack Obama named the new bridge “one of 14 top-priority infrastructure projects nationally.” Mr. Cuomo has also made it clear that this is a priority of his administration. This week, he named former News12 anchor Brian Conybeare as special advisor to the construction project. Whether he will be merely a publicity flack for the project or a genuine asset in providing information to the media and public remains to be seen.

Builders and transportation experts throughout the world will be watching as New Yorkers develop the means to move into the future while considering water quality, coastal zone issues, construction impacts, transportation of hazardous materials, ecology and wildlife, potential land acquisition and residential or commercial displacement, aesthetic concerns, and noise and air quality.

The federal government could give the project final approval in the fall, and officials have said they hope to start work by the end of the year. We’re looking forward to a closer look at the environmental impact statement.

A photo on the governor’s “new Tappan Zee bridge” website shows frustrated drivers tearing their hair and baking in the sun during an interminable summer delay. Mr. Cuomo has taken bold steps in addressing this endless gridlock — we are hopeful that the results equal the promise.

Food for the soul

Every once in a while we wonder how we can get away from our town in the summer. What other people travel to get to, we take for granted. Top on the list is summer music.

Sometimes we don’t realize how fortunate we are to live in a town that hosts a world-class music festival. But that’s what Caramoor is, an internationally renowned destination that presents some of the world’s best music. And we defy anyone to improve on the its gorgeous surroundings and gardens.

What could be more eclectic than this week’s lineup? Music began Wednesday night with “Bangra Night,” a celebration of Indian music and dance. Tonight the Pacifica Quartet will play do you know what? in the Venetian theater. On Saturday, it’s a day of jazz, including the legendary Roy Haynes and pianist Kenny Barron. We’ll be there on Sunday for guitar great Pat Metheny’s Unity Band.

The Katonah Museum of Art continues its commitment to great sounds as well — Wednesday, Aug. 1 at 6:30, Katonah’s John Scofield brings top jazz players to the Katonah Library. While Mr. Scofield usually cameos at museum concerts, this time he is the headliner with his trio, making a rare local appearance. For those who are unaware of the maestro in our midst, pay a visit.

A final, tragic note for the local music scene: the wonderful singer Jody Sandhaus, a longtime Pound Ridge resident, died last week at far too young an age. Most recently, she and her husband, the pianist Pete Malinverni, shared the stage at the Roger Williams Inn in New Canaan every Saturday night. Her Hers? was a voice to be reckoned with: sophisticated, educated, filled with warmth and musical tradition. As both a friend and musician, she will be missed.

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

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Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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