City’s transportation committee resurrected

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After staying dormant for almost a decade the Transportation Committee is up and running in full force. Over the past six months, the Transportation Advisory Committee has been hard at work to understand and address concerns of the community.

Councilman Anthony Grice ran his campaign on improving transportation in the City of Newburgh, starting the committee was one of his initiatives to get work done on transportation in the city.

“It was one of my first initiatives when I first got on,” said Grice. “It’s hard to get a resolution and a committee started so I was very happy and very surprised to get it up and running so well. We have dedicated smart wonderful people who really have an ear for the community. People have complained because the county controls some our transportation and in the past it has not reflected the community’s needs. But we are in a different situation than in the past and a better situation than in the past.”

The priorities of the transportation committee include walkability, bikes and skateboards, bus transit, ferry transit, cars, parking and connections between the city and stewart airport.
According to Chairman Gabriel Berlin, the biggest priority for the committee right now is updating the bus network.

“The main focus right now is the bus network,” said Berlin. “We’ve been riding the buses, testing out the routes, talking to bus riders and seeing what their experiences have been. We have been trying to increase bus ridership, consistency and awareness about its routes.”

The committee shared a survey online and with various organizations to get an understanding of how people feel about the bus network in the City of Newburgh. The network is maintained and controlled by Orange County, so the committee is working with representatives from Orange County to see what can be done.

“Our main goal is outreach and collecting data so we can have outreach recommendations,” said Berlin. “The six months so far has been getting an idea of the needs of the community, the city, and the challenges they need addressed. Then we can build actions the city and we can take.”

The committee has been hard at work getting public opinion on every initiative they work on. One initiative is putting in parking meters on a section of Liberty St. Naomi Hersson-Ringskog, a member of the committee, reached out to business owners on Liberty St to see what type of parking would be acceptable for their business owners as a whole. She reported back at the most recent meeting to share her findings and recommendations.

The committee has been meeting with department heads of the city to get an idea of what priorities they have and how they can help. Part of that has been helping the Department of Public Works by creating an education campaign for residents to understand parking during a snow emergency. When residents understand the parking and follow the parking DPW can clear the roads with ease.

The group is also pursuing various grants to get funding for some of the projects they would like to see done to make Newburgh a green and walkable city. They have been working with Jessica Ridgeway, a Planner in Orange County, on a Complete Streets Initiative. This means the streets are designed in a way to ensure safety of all users, regardless of age, disability, or mode of transportation.

They are also looking to apply for the Climate Smart Communities Certification (CSC) which will open the door for technical assistance, and access to grants from New York State. The group is searching for funding for an electric vehicle charging station in the city, to meet the qualifications needed for the CSC.

“Our biggest efforts and challenges is community outreach,” said Berlin. “We are trying to listen to the community and have interdepartmental communication in the city where our needs and goals overlap. We are trying to get more information to the public so they are being informed or being given the proper background on something.”

To see what the Transportation Committee has been up to, or to take their survey you can visit their Facebook at Newburgh Transportation Committee Announcements. Monthly meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month at 123 Grand St. For further information you can email, transportation@cityofnewburgh-ny.gov.

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