Public Accessibility

Too often, citizens with an interest in transportation issues are stymied by bureaucratic agencies, an opaque political process, and incomprehensible planning documents. Any single project can involve numerous local, state and federal agencies, each with particular jurisdiction and authority.  Project development doesn’t necessarily follow written guidelines or locally-dictated transportation needs, but may be influenced by the political desire for ribbon-cuttings.  State spending plans should offer a snapshot of the state’s priorities, but more often resemble a phonebook or coded ledger.

Even federal or state requirements to involve the community in the project development process may be little more than an empty exercise to fulfill the mandate.  These are often attended by the same cast of involved citizens and experts, whose input may reflect an established agenda, and not the concerns of the majority of residents who don’t have the time to participate, assuming they are even aware of public participation opportunities.

Tri-State works toward a transparent and collaborative planning process that connects citizens with government, and seeks to empower local advocacy.  We have worked in the Tappan Zee Corridor in the lower Hudson Valley; New Haven, CT; and in the South Bronx to advocate for community-based proposals.  We scour through capital plans, budget documents, and spending plans to decipher those documents and make them accessible to the general public.  Through our blog, Mobilizing the Region, we work to keep the public informed about project status and progress.

Most importantly, we have pressed for more transparency and accountability among the region’s transportation agencies.  Our efforts are yielding results: the Connecticut Department of Transportation is revising its state transportation planning documents to reflect our recommendations.  And the New York City Department of Transportation’s Sustainable Streets Index reports on the city’s progress in improving its transportation network.  Our decade-long involvement with the Sheridan Expressway has finally resulted in the inclusion of the community-based proposal in final study documents.

 

Campaigns and Resources

Tappan Zee Corridor

Tri-State advocated for the creation of a transit-oriented development training program for communities in the Tappan Zee Corridor, which NYSDOT agreed to in 2008. The Campaign has generally pushed for a more robust public process around the Tappan Zee Bridge/I-287 corridor project.

Sheridan Expressway Removal

Removing the Sheridan Expressway, a lightly used stub highway in the South Bronx, would create 28 acres of land that could be developed as open space or affordable housing, and reduce the burden of transportation infrastructure on the surrounding community.

TSTC Reports

TSTC regularly issues reports and analyses that make dense and technical documents like capital plans, statewide transportation improvement programs, and environmental impact statements accessible to the general public.

 

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