The Putnam Examiner

Putnam Valley Officials, Residents Seek Pudding Street Overpass

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State Sen. Terry Gipson held a meeting on a proposal to construct an overpass over the Pudding Street intersection on the Taconic State Parkway on Aug. 14 in Putnam Valley.
State Sen. Terry Gipson held a meeting on a proposal to construct an overpass over the Pudding Street intersection on the Taconic State Parkway on Aug. 14 in Putnam Valley.

Disappointed that it has not taken place despite years of promises, Putnam Valley residents and public officials met on Aug. 14 to discuss plans for an overpass over the intersection of Pudding Street and the Taconic State Parkway.

The meeting at the Putnam Valley Fire Department Station #1 was organized by State Sen. Terry Gipson, who obtained $1 million from the federal government for an engineering study of a potential overpass. At the meeting, Putnam Valley Supervisor Bob Tendy and residents said the state Department of Transportation has said an overpass would be constructed, but the project has been put off several times since 2003.

“I organized this public forum to give town officials and local residents an opportunity to ask the New York State DOT questions about the Pudding Street Project,” Gipson said last week. “After securing the funding for the engineering study, this is another important step in the process. I’m pleased that we have achieved these necessary steps in my first seven months of office. There is nothing more important than the safety of our residents, and we will continue to work to make sure this intersection is made safe.”

Public officials and residents said during last week’s meeting that something must be done at Pudding Street for the safety of school buses crossing the parkway and motorists getting on or off or driving on the Taconic.

The consensus of the several dozen residents and officials who attended the meeting was that an overpass was needed.

“The goal of the project is to improve the safety of the intersection,” DOT Region 8 Acting Regional Director William Gorton said, adding that construction of an overpass could cost $20 million.

Putnam County Legislator Sam Oliverio (D – Putnam Valley) said several school buses cross the intersection and it must be made safer.

Pudding Street is the last grade-level crossing left on the parkway.

DOT officials said at the meeting the overpass project has been delayed mainly due to a lack of funds. DOT Region 8 Acting Regional Planning and Program Manager Thomas Weiner said there has been a decline in recent years of federal and state transportation funds available for the Pudding Street and other proposed projects in New York State.

Weiner said a study conducted by the DOT between August 2010 and July 2012 showed there were 12 accidents at the intersection of Pudding Street and the Taconic, but that figure was disputed by residents at last week’s meeting who said the study underestimated the actual number of accidents.

Gorton said the environmental impacts of the proposed overpass would need to be analyzed before the project could begin.

Several residents said the safety of the intersection must be improved. Terry Buhner said motorists getting off the parkway on to Pudding Street have difficulty doing so safely. An overpass with a ramp needed to be constructed in the area, she said.

Resident Andrew Fisher asked how the public could help to get the overpass project going. Gorton said the DOT holds “open public meetings” on proposed projects and the public could provide their input at the meetings.

Gipson urged residents to contact state and local officials to express their support for an overpass project.

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