Situated in southeastern Westchester County, less than 30 minutes from Grand Central Terminal, Pelham, New York (which is comprised of Pelham Village and Pelham Manor) is compact, about 2.5 square miles and, compared to Westchester’s hilly Hudson River Towns, relatively flat. Visitors walking around Pelham’s well-maintained residential streets or stopping in for a slice at Pelham Pizza along Fifth Avenue, the Town’s main commercial street, might never realize that, according to a recent Journal News article, Pelham is plagued by a lack of available parking at its Metro-North station.
The article highlighted Pelham as having one of the longest waiting lists for train station parking: “The 446 people on the wait list for Pelham outnumber those with permits more than 2 to 1.” However, this does not mean that parking is not available around the train station; the article notes that the price of Metro-North-owned parking is considerably cheaper ($583 annually) than what the Village charges in its own lots ($1,500 - $2,000 annually), no doubt increasing the demand for the railroad parking spaces.
On a tip from a former resident, MTR visited Pelham to see if biking to and from the train station might be a good option for residents who commute to work by train and do not have a train station parking spot.
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Elected officials, nonprofit and business leaders, transit officials and members of the general public gathered for a discussion on bus rapid transit (BRT) and transit oriented development (TOD) in Rockland County this past Friday. | Photo: Steven Higashide/TSTC
As the Tappan Zee Bridge Mass Transit Task Force moves towards its final report on mass transit recommendations for the I-287 Corridor, state and local elected officials, nonprofit and business leaders, as well as transit officials and members of the general public gathered for a discussion in Rockland County on the potential benefits and financing opportunities related to bus rapid transit (BRT) and transit oriented development (TOD) this past Friday. The event, organized by Tri-State and co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Westchester and Groundwork Hudson Valley, included speakers from five different states, each of whom had particular and extensive experience with planning or financing transit projects or related development. By the end of the program, it was clear that BRT is not only possible in the I-287 Corridor, but when combined with smart TOD planning, could be utilized as a tool to revolutionize mobility in the Hudson Valley and revitalize local communities.
The event opened with a welcome from Chairwoman of the Rockland County Legislature Harriet Cornell, a strong supporter of improved transportation options for Rockland commuters. Joseph Calabrese, CEO, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, followed with a presentation that detailed the implementation of the HealthLine BRT system and the critical role this new transit option had in revitalizing Cleveland’s Euclid Avenue. Calabrese noted that although BRT was not the region’s first choice, it has been a greater success than people expected (and at a fraction of the cost of a rail alternative) because it was well planned and implemented. ”If we had done rail, it would have cost more than $1 billion, and it never would have gotten done,” said Calabrese. “So we did the best we could with what we had, and it’s been wildly successful.”
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Livingston Bridge Walkway. | Photo: Parks & Trails New York
You’ve heard of the pedestrian bridge in Poughkeepsie, but did you know that New York’s Capital District has its own “Walkway over the Hudson?” Well, it used to anyway. Tri-State’s ally for a more sustainable transportation network, Parks & Trails New York, is working to make sure [...]
Safe access for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as transit-oriented development, must be priorities for Metro-North access — not just parking for cars. | Photo: Chet Gordon/Times Herald-Record
A recent feature in the Journal News highlighted the parking constraints near Metro-North stations. According to the report, nearly half of the 43 Metro-North stations in Westchester County “have wait lists for one or more of their lots,” as well as three of Putnam’s seven stations, and one of Rockland’s five stations, despite the fact that commuter parking has increased five-fold since the 1990s.
To meet demand, Metro-North has added 5,124 parking spaces to its stations in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam over the past two decades, bringing the total to 6,382 spaces. But Metro-North says it has just about maxed out the parking it can build, other than a 500-space garage planned to replace a 109-space facility at the North White Plains station.
What if instead of trying to maximize the number of parking spaces, there was an emphasis on making it easier to get commuters to and from stations without cars at all? One means to that end is to follow the lead of New Jersey and Connecticut, which both appear to be embracing transit-oriented development (TOD), as well as some communities in the Hudson Valley. This may seem strange for people who are used to seeing commuter rail stations surrounded by asphalt, but before the onslaught of the automobile it was once the norm to build residential and commercial buildings around train stations.
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Between 2000 and 2006-2010*, several tri-state counties saw some of the largest mode share increases in public transportation, biking or walking commutes in the nation according to new data from the Census Transportation Planning Package’s (CTPP) 2000-2010: Changes in Transit, Walk and Bike Commute Shares. The CTPP uses data from the Census and American Community Survey (ACS), and presents information unavailable in either the Census or ACS alone, including what percentage of people in each income group travel to work by public transportation, biking and walking.
With a 5.5 percent share change, Hudson County, New Jersey had the third largest increase in public transportation ridership in the nation. Bronx County was fifth nationwide with a 5.0 percent share change, Queens (seventh nationwide) at 4.3 and Brooklyn (ninth nationwide) at 3.7. Tri-state area counties listed in the top 30 public transportation share change nationwide can be found below. The full list can be found here.
Rank (nationwide) Tri-State County Public Transportation Share Change
||Hudson County, NJ
||Bronx County, NY
||Queens County, NY
||Kings County, NY (Brooklyn)
||New York County, NY (Manhattan)
||Richmond County, NY (Staten Island)
||Bergen County, NJ
||Essex County, NJ
||Middlesex County, NJ
Unsurprisingly, many of the tri-state region’s densely populated, urban counties with well-developed transit systems have seen the largest growth in people taking public transit to work. All the boroughs of New York City are ranked highly, as well as Hudson County, whose Hudson-Bergen Light Rail opened in 2000.
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From 2009 through May 2012 alone, Westchester County was home to 2,442 vehicle crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists, according to crash data obtained from the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT). And while New York State passed a state-wide Complete Streets law that requires design on roadways to consider the safe accommodation of [...]
The recent economic recession has slowed and in fact reversed the growth in the nation’s total vehicle miles traveled (VMT). It’s common for this to happen temporarily during a recession as job losses mount or people travel less to save money, but there is compelling evidence that the slowdown this time might be more [...]