a post from January, I dug up the survey summary, which says:
On an average weekday, 80,457 people cross the Tappan Zee Bridge in the eastbound direction. ... The majority of the person trips (65 percent) originate in Rockland and Orange counties, with 42 percent coming from southern Rockland County alone. The remaining person trips either begin in New Jersey (24 percent) or locations external to the study region (11 percent)...Hm, well it looks like the Gateway Tunnel, the Cross-Harbor Tunnel and the Poughkeepsie Bridge won't be much help to these people. 65% are coming from Rockland and Orange Counties, but if we add up Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, the Bronx and Connecticut we get at least 78% of commuters who wouldn't be able to take advantage of those options. For those commutes, the only place you can really cross is at the Tappan Zee.
In terms of where trips end, slightly more than half (51 percent) of all the eastbound person trips over the Tappan Zee Bridge terminate in Westchester County. Approximately 28 percent of the trips end in New York City (16 percent in the Bronx, 7 percent in Manhattan, and 5 percent in other areas of the City), which includes those person trips commuting on the Hudson Line from the Tarrytown Station. The remaining person trips terminate in Connecticut (10 percent), Long Island (3 percent), Putnam and Dutchess counties (1 percent), and in locations external to the New York metropolitan area1 (7 percent).
The liberating moment came when I realized that just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. We have a word for the style of residential development that's been built in Orange, Rockland and Bergen counties over the past fifty years. We have a word for the style of commercial development that's been built in Westchester and the north Bronx since 1960. That word is sprawl.
There are several reasons why sprawl is a dirty word among environmentalists, and they're listed at the top of this blog. Car-centered development pollutes the air, causing asthma and global warming. Incessant driving kills people, pets and wildlife. Sprawl wastes a tremendous amount of space, separating people from each other and causing obesity. Driving everywhere uses energy much faster than our planet gets it from the sun.
We see this in Orange, Rockland and Bergen counties, which have high crash fatality rates (33, 19 and 16 deaths per ten thousand inhabitants, respectively) and high rates of car travel per capita (12,682, 9,269 and 10,237).
The sprawl in Orange, Rockland and Bergen counties did not just appear. People built it because there were buyers, and those buyers came because they could drive to work. They could only drive to work because of the bridge. It's a sprawl-generating machine.
Reduce the capacity of the bridge, and you reduce the demand for sprawl. Tear down the bridge, and you eliminate a good chunk of the demand for sprawl.
Rebuild the bridge, on the other hand, and you continue that demand for sprawl. Widen it, or even just "bring it up to modern standards" so that people can drive fast, and you increase the demand.
Why are we doing this again?