FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mary Ellen Odell
Putnam County Executive
June 10, 2013
Task Force Explores Putnam Transportation Improvements
Chairman of the Putnam County Transportation Task Force (TTF) Vincent M. Tamagna presented County Executive MaryEllen Odell with a detailed 28-page report containing the findings of the group’s transportation study. Over the course of 22 weeks, the TTF explored all facets of public transportation within Putnam in order to make it more efficient and economical.
Tamagna explained that the Putnam Area Rapid Transit System (PART) was launched 32 years ago and had not been re-assessed in more than 20 years.
“It was our thought that there could be numerous improvements. The TTF worked very hard,” he said.
Odell complimented the group on their thorough and comprehensive report.
“What we have here today are a lot of terrific ideas; a lot of recognition and a lot of truth about our transportation system, not only as it was 20 years ago, but as it is stands today,” said Odell. “This is an extremely comprehensive plan and a very well thought out, very well designed path on which we may move forward,” she said.
Among the TTF’s 26 recommendations is the formation of a Transportation Advisory Council, a body charged with monitoring Putnam’s public transportation system on a regular basis.
The Task Force conducted interviews with employers, transportation agencies, social service organizations and elected officials. They distributed over 500 surveys to area senior citizens, distributed 1200 printed surveys to riders and the general public and had a direct mail survey specially designed for the parents and guardians of students in Pre-kindergarten and Early Intervention programs.
Tamagna was oftentimes accompanied by Planning, Development & Public Transportation Commissioner Anthony J. Ruggiero as they met with stakeholder groups and attended village and town board meetings. Together they travelled to Orange, Dutchess, Ulster and Westchester counties seeking advice and to experience how other counties manage and brand their transportation systems and routes.
“We rode the system and we met with bus drivers and passengers several times,” said Tamagna. “They were always very willing to tell us what they think. We found it to be a safe, reliable and clean system.”
Other recommendations include marketing, advertising and branding the current transportation system, creating shorter bus routes and coordinating them with regional bus lines and the Metro-North Railway. A decrease in fare from $2.50 to $2.00 was proposed as was an enhanced commuter shuttle service. Also suggested was initiating an east/west shuttle along the Hudson River Turnpike (Route 301) to unite both sides of Putnam while promoting cross-county shopping, dining and tourism opportunities for visitors and residents alike.
Tamagna said by providing new advertising, redesigning routes, modifying fares and hours, and coordinating with other services, “Putnam’s transportation system will become more efficient and as a result, ridership will increase.”
TTF members included Tamagna, Commissioner of Social Services Michael Piazza, Commissioner of Health Dr. Allen Beals, Director of the Office for Aging Pat Sheehy, Deputy Chairman of the Legislature Anthony DiCarlo, Putnam County Senior Planner John Pilner, Visiting Nurse Services of Putnam County Manager Loretta Molinari, Executive Director Tina Cornish-Lauria from CAREERS for People with Disabilities and Putnam County Chambers of Commerce Chairwoman Jen Maher.