A new task force aimed at improving transportation across Putnam County will take public opinion into an account, according to its head.
"We're going to look at how we can reach people and how we can run a county-wide transportation system effectively, efficiently and affordably," Chairman Vincent Tamagna, who anticipates a "multi-year phase-in" of any updates, said.
The Putnam County Transportation Task Force features more than half a dozen people, including the commissioners for health and for social services, as well as the director for Putnam's Office of the Aging. Officials announced the panel's creation earlier this month.
No one sitting on the trustee boards for the Village of Brewster or Town of Southeast is on the task force. That fact did not go unnoticed during a conversation on Brewster10509, a Yahoo group with hundreds of subscribers.
"While the Hub of the Harlem Valley, and probably the poster child for a commuter's oasis in the Village of Brewster, including transportation, and things within walking distance, the east side of the county is sadly forgotten," Erin Meagher wrote, acknowledging that one of the task force members is active with Brewster Chamber of Commerce and downtown developments. "...Wouldn't it make sense to say, have a rep from each municipality, Metro North [Railroad], PART and HART [Housatonic Area Regional Transit] too?"
But Tamagna said no one sitting on any town or village boards is on the panel. Legislators will be informed of the group's progress, though, Tamagna said. And the public will have a chance to attend meetings and share opinions, he added.
Those meetings will come later in the process. The committee is operating in four phases, according to officials: Establishing an advisory board and organizing the task force into subcommittees, conducting interviews and surveys, examining the data and formulating recommendations, and then incorporating public outreach. Recommendations are due to an advisory board, which will create policies, in June.
Here is part of what officials said about the task force in a press release from the office of County Executive MaryEllen Odell.
Identifying commerce and economic development zones and making sure public transportation is linked to each is another concern for the Transportation Task Force (TTF), just as linking tourist attraction sites and events within the county to various forms of public transportation, whether it be rails, trails, bikes, buses or trolleys.