WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – With bus rapid transit likely coming to White Plains when the new Tappan Zee Bridge opens in 2018, local, state and federal officials are calling on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to fund a new, 21st century train station for the city.
When the current station opened in 1987 it had 7,000 weekday daily commuters. That number has tripled to more than 21,500 by 2007 and continues growing, state Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-Westchester) said Thursday in front of the station. It is the second most-used Metro-North station, second only to Manhattan, and is the top reverse commuter station, which he said makes it an emerging hub.
“It’s clear to me the benefits of a new White Plains train station will be felt around the region, especially as we now enter an era of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, I-287 corridor and bus rapid transit,” he said.
The Bus Rapid Transit would span 30 miles from Suffern in Rockland to Port Chester along I-287, a east-west connection that White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach says is lacking right now.
“People want to use multi-modal now and it would be nice if someone who lived in Golden’s Bridge could get on a train, get off at White Plains, get on a (Bus Rapid Transit) and then have a job in Port Chester,” he said.
The MTA will propose its five-year capital plan Wednesday, Sept. 22, and then vote on it later this year. The White Plains' State Assembly delegation, Roach and U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland), have submitted a joint letter asking the MTA to include a new White Plains train station in its plan.
“This is not just about a train station, this is about an opportunity to transform the way this city functions in a positive way,” Roach said.
White Plains will use a $1 million grant to study how to transform its train station and the surrounding area and how to connect it to the downtown. The money comes from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council.
Roach pointed to the a full bike rack outside the White Plains train station parking garage as evidence of the changing nature of how people use transit.
"Every one of those bikes is a parking space we would have had to build and it’s traffic that other people would have to fight with," he said.
State Sen. George Latimer (D-Rye) said the new train station also will galvanize the economy.
“A thriving White Plains economy is essential for the rest of the county and region’s success,” he said.
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