For immediate release: October 10, 2007
Contact: Kate Slevin, Steven Higashide
Phone: 212-268-7474
Cell: 917-833-9259

Report Cites Benefits of Bus Rapid Transit and Transit-Friendly Development for I-287 Corridor; Calls for Leadership from NYSDOT

The NYSDOT should take a leadership role in connecting land use and transportation in the I-287/Tappan Zee Bridge corridor and do more to educate the public about bus rapid transit, according to a report released today by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. 

The report, entitled Getting Up to Speed : A Case for Bus Rapid Transit and Transit Oriented Development in the Tappan Zee/I-287 Corridor, evaluates the various transit options being considered by the Tappan Zee Bridge Environmental Review study team, and argues that bus rapid transit, combined with a transit-oriented development strategy, would do the most to reduce congestion along the I-287 corridor.

“Smart transit service and transit friendly development are the Hudson Valley’s tickets to a more livable future, “said Kate Slevin, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a non-profit policy group.  “But we cannot attain this future without strong leadership at the state level.”

Getting Up to Speed documents how and why traffic growth has skyrocketed along the I-287 corridor in the past few decades, and discusses the difficulties in providing transit service in scattered, suburban areas.  

NYSDOT data examined in the report demonstrates that the full corridor bus rapid transit option would attract the highest east to west ridership from Suffern to Port Chester. Therefore, the report argues, this is the option most likely to reduce traffic on the Tappan Zee Bridge.  

“The suburb-to-suburb travel market is the one congesting the bridge, not the trip to Manhattan,” said Steven Higashide, communications associate at the Campaign and the report’s author. “In fact, of those who commute east over the TZ Bridge in the morning, more end up in Connecticut than in Manhattan.”  

The report looks at bus rapid transit systems in other cities, and examines how some systems have encouraged millions of dollars in investment around stations.  It also discusses the pros and cons of each of the transit systems being considered for the corridor.  

“We strongly support all transit service, whether it is rail, bus, or ferry, but given the pricetag and ridership numbers, we see a convincing case that bus rapid transit may be the way to go in the I-287 corridor” said Slevin. “We want people to ride the thing!” she added. 

The report strongly urges that the NYS Dept of Transportation, as lead agency for the Tappan Zee/I-287 Environmental Review:

  • Take a leadership role in connecting land use and transportation, and in promoting transit-oriented development. For example, it should do more to educate stakeholders about the repercussions of sprawling development patterns, model various build-out scenarios as part of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), and include land use recommendations in the DEIS.
  • Provide grants to towns to help them plan their communities before planned transit stations are located and built.
  • Collaborate with the MTA to create a “transit village” program, as the NJ Department of Transportation and NJ Transit have done in their state, which would provide grants and technical assistance to towns seeking to develop around current and future transit stations.
  • Do more to educate stakeholders on bus rapid transit, which is a largely unfamiliar concept.
  • As promised, include in the DEIS an intelligent BRT service plan that would effectively connect key locations in the I-287 corridor.
  • Determine which institutions would operate new bus rapid transit, light rail, or commuter rail services before a transit alternative is selected, not afterwards.
The Tri-State Transportation Campaign is a non-profit advocacy organization working towards a more transit-friendly, balanced, and equitable transportation system in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The full report can be found on the Campaign’s website by clicking here.