Transportation director named coordinator
Voting 8 to 0, the Putnam County Legislature endorsed a Climate Smart/Complete Streets proposal on Tuesday (Aug. 3), two weeks after rejecting Legislator Nancy Montgomery’s call for a more robust version.
Montgomery, a Democrat whose district covers Philipstown and part of Putnam Valley, was not present at the meeting in Carmel. The other eight legislators are Republicans. The Legislature’s Physical Services Committee had approved the proposal in July; it closely resembles an earlier directive from County Executive MaryEllen Odell.
A day later, Vinny Tamagna, the county’s transportation director, told The Current that Odell has named him as the Climate Smart coordinator, succeeding Lauri Taylor, who retired.
Vinny Tamagna, the county’s transportation director and a former county legislator who represented Philipstown, is running for mayor of Cold Spring.
Asked if he intends to remain a county employee if he is elected on Nov. 2, Tamagna replied on Thursday (Aug. 5): “While the mayor’s role is part time, I recognize that time investment is close to full time. I will remain an employee of Putnam County as I determine my time requirements and the impact of being mayor.”
He added: “I am also close to retirement but will most likely remain in the Odell administration” until her term ends on Dec. 31, 2022. He noted that the previous Climate Smart coordinator, Lauri Taylor, is the mayor of Pawling in Dutchess County.
The Climate Smart effort includes the Complete Streets initiative, which is focused on making streets user-friendly to pedestrians, bicyclists and mass-transit users, as well as drivers in pollution-emitting cars. Municipalities that complete a Climate Smart checklist enhance their eligibility to receive state grants.
During the Tuesday meeting, Tamagna said that as transportation director he has developed a transit-oriented development and revitalization plan for Brewster and hopes to finish a Cold Spring counterpart this summer.
After the meeting, he elaborated, saying that the Complete Street possibilities for Cold Spring include a river walk from Constitution Island or Constitution Marsh to Dockside Park; more access for the physically disabled; bikeways and trails, including a sidewalk between the village and Boscobel (an idea already under discussion by the Town of Philipstown); better shoulders, curb cuts, parking for Springbrook apartments, and other improvements on Fair Street as it leads toward Route 9D; and fixing crumbling sidewalks and installing others in places lacking them, such as on High Street at the edge of the Tots’ Park.
“Why not put a sidewalk where strollers travel across an uneven field of sometimes mud, snow or ice?” he asked.
The Legislature’s resolution declares that Putnam’s green infrastructure and energy-efficiency goals will consider the needs of all residents and visitors using roads, bike paths, walkways and mass transit, and acknowledge “connections across all modes of transportation.” It also states that since 2018 Putnam has invested $8 million in green energy, putting it “ahead of the curve.”
In July, Montgomery urged the county to implement a more comprehensive plan, such as the one Dutchess County enacted in 2016, which lists assignments to complete and checkpoints for tracking progress.
In other business…
- Legislators authorized right-of-way acquisition, preliminary engineering and a public hearing for a bridge over Canopus Creek at Sprout Brook Road near Winston Lane, off Route 9 in Continental Village in Philipstown. The project includes widening the bridgeway to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. According to the Legislature, the project will be funded with federal money.
- A household hazardous waste collection is scheduled for Oct. 9, following one in May that the county’s solid waste management coordinator said drew a record 368 participants. The October event is expected to cost $55,000, with half reimbursed by the state.
- Legislators approved amending the budget to include $2.1 million in federal funds to conduct COVID-19 testing in schools. Legislator Amy Sayegh of Mahopac, who heads the Health Committee, said it was uncertain whether schools would be compelled to participate.