Fitzgerald & Halliday Inc (FHI), a firm with transportation, community design, environmental and stakeholder outreach skills, has been selected to design a bicycle / walk master plan that covers the three river villages and the Nyack School District. FHI will partner with Street Plans, an award winning planning and design practice based in New York and Miami with expertise in bicycle/pedestrian planning and “quick build” project implementation.
“We have a reputation as a walkable village. We are also a popular cycling destination,” said Nyack Mayor Jen White. “Through a generous grant from the New NY Bridge Community Fund, we will be able to harness the expertise of Fitzgerald & Halliday to design a transportation network that makes it easier to get around the villages without a car.” The Greater Nyack Bike/Walk Master Plan will improve safety and create better connections:
- between neighborhoods and local destinations (downtown, Nyack Beach State Park, Palisades Center, public transportation, etc) for walking and cycling.
- to best manage the increased foot and cycling traffic that will occur after the new Mario M. Cuomo Tappan Zee Bridge Shared Use Path opens for joggers, walkers, cyclists and tourists in 2019.
- for students and parents to get to and from Nyack Schools.
The Village of Nyack is the lead agency for this study which includes Nyack, Upper Nyack, South Nyack and the hamlets of Valley Cottage and Upper Grandview.
Over the past 30 years, FHI has worked on dozens of similar pedestrian and bicycle transportation projects ranging from safety-focused projects to master plans including Safe Routes to School projects, traffic calming, and Complete Streets. The 30 year old firm is currently working with the NYS Department of Transportation to develop the Lower Hudson Transit Link service that will replace Rockland County’s Tappan Zee Express buses in 2018. FHI and Street Plans have also worked on bike/ped projects in Norwalk, Hartford, Jersey City, Burlington (VT) and Miami Beach.
Nyack ‘s recently published Comprehensive Master Plan addresses generational changes in how we get around and the kinds of places we like to live. Local travel should be both safe and pleasant for people on foot or on bicycles. Protecting the communities’ most vulnerable populations and encouraging all residents to incorporate non-motorized travel in their daily lives can pay dividends in many ways. The Bike/Walk Master Plan project represents an opportunity to build design a multi-modal network of active transportation that can benefit public health and economic development.
Nyack received ten excellent proposals from highly qualified vendors, but FHI’s opening statement captured the attention of attendees when the design firm presented at a public meeting in Nyack in November: “This is more than a bicycle and pedestrian plan. FHI believes strongly in the value of mobility planning to achieve broader community goals.”
Greater Nyack Bike/Walk Committee Chairperson Dave Zornow said that FHI distinguished themselves with their broad experience, their track record of community outreach, and a bilingual staff that will be able to reach out to Nyack’s Hispanic residents — an important skill in a community where 20% of residents aren’t speaking English at home. “The use of demonstration projects by FHI and Street Plans – including one-day temporary bicycle lanes and traffic calming installations – really impressed the committee as a great way to test a theory while engaging the community, too,” he said.
“Nyack Schools is excited about partnering with the Nyack river villages to make it easier and safer for our students to walk or bicycle in our community,” said Nyack Schools Board of Education President Karen Hughes. “Walking and riding a bicycle to school offers health, environmental and social benefits to our students, which will benefit everyone in the school district.”
Unanimous Choice of The Selection Committee
Bike/Walk Committee member and Upper Nyack 9W Bikes shop owner Matt Poole applauded the choice. “FHI submitted a very detailed proposal that demonstrated extensive work with local communities/governments to make walking/cycling a larger part of the overall transportation system,” said Poole. “They have a head start working on this project because they know Nyack, having come to our community as a cycling destination over the past several decades.”
“I’m grateful to be involved and thankful that the Greater Nyack Bike/Walk plan has prioritized Safe Routes to Schools and resident culture and lifestyle as part of this project,” said Nyack resident Bob Timm. “Fitzgerald & Halliday impressed the committee especially with their commitment to getting feedback from all Nyackers (long-timers and newbies) and ensuring that we all work together to create a safe and healthy plan for our kids and anyone in Nyack who wants to get around by bike or by foot.”
Another committee member, Landscape Architect Jeff Scherr, said the FHI’s experience in community outreach offers an opportunity for everyone’s concerns and ideas to be considered. “I think it is an opportunity to be hands on and help design the community so that the plan best serves everyone,” he said.
“FHI showed us a variety of options, ideas and creative approaches they’ve used for similar bike & walk paths in towns and cities around the country that were really impressive,” said Valley Cottage resident Peter Fruchtman. “And most of all, their enthusiasm and commitment to working closely with us was very reassuring.”
About Fitzgerald & Halliday, Inc.
FHI has been providing mobility planning, community planning, environmental services and public involvement services to public and private entities throughout New England, New York, the Mid-Atlantic and beyond since 1987. Our firm of planners, engineers, designers, scientists, GIS analysts, and administrative personnel is dedicated to helping communities and agencies make good decisions. Consistent across all service lines is our ability to craft context-sensitive solutions compatible with our clients’ goals and budgets. Learn more about Fitzgerald & Halliday at FHIPlan.com. ##