Leon Goodman



In my 36 years at the Port Authority, I was part of many programs, working with the PA’s talented staff. The PA often "led the way” in many fields including transportation planning and operations. Here are three programs where I had the opportunity to help shape significant advances for PA facilities and for other regional and national networks.

Create a new National standard sign (PA studies for Lincoln Tunnel Third Tube signs) - I joined the PA in the traffic engineering division, headed by Lou Bender… a member of NCUTCD (National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices). I assisted in finalizing the design of the changeable message signs that would inform drivers of roadway status for the changeable direction approach roadways. Three possible messages: enter (directional message), two-way traffic and do not enter). Existing standards could confuse drivers since the “enter" and "do not enter" signs would each be black on white. The PA proposed a new standard, white on red, for “DO NOT ENTER”. This new standard would need to be approved by "the committee." Using Lou's connection I set up field demonstrations for the committee on a closed taxiway at New York International Airport. The white-on-red colors were approved for the Lincoln tunnel signs. Committee follow up then led to adoption of white on red colors for all DO NOT ENTER signs in the United States.

Exclusive Bus Lane (XBL) on New Jersey approach to Lincoln Tunnel - Later I joined the Port Development Department, directed by Roger Gilman. To better coordinate A.M. weekday capacity of the three-lane approach with the tunnel tube roadway operations, consideration was given to reversing a normally westbound approach lane. My traffic analysis concluded that this would be beneficial if the reversed lane was for buses only. This would avoid overfeeding the tunnel and would allow buses to bypass typical A.M. eastbound congestion, with significant time savings for passengers.

Traffic analysis was straightforward, but doing the lane reversal was not simple since this would be a contra-flow lane on the “wrong" side of the existing median. I was project director coordinating seven years of negotiations, with NJDOT and NJ Turnpike and other agencies, leading to approval. The XBL has become a key trans-Hudson link, marking its 50th anniversary in December 2020. PA is now considering autonomous operation to increase passenger flow. XBL also had national impact, as a role model for bus priority programs in other cities.

One-way tolls - PA crossings and other Hudson River crossings - PA planners were aware of the potential safety benefits and cost savings of this concept. Ending of Hudson River vehicular ferries enhanced feasibility of adopting this idea. Port Development, working closely with Tunnels and Bridges, undertook a study with me as project coordinator. The study recognized that we would need to include the six PA crossings and the Hudson river crossings north of the George Washington Bridge. Traffic studies indicated do-ability and benefits. There was concern, however, that a bond covenant for the PA and the other agencies (NY State Thruway Authority and NY State Bridge Authority) would require bondholder approval.

I discussed this concern with California toll agencies at an IBTTA conference, since they had just done one-way tolls at the San Francisco Bay vehicle crossings. Their bond counsel had advised that following the “spirit" of the covenant, bondholder approval was not needed. Consultations between PA lawyers and the California lawyers then led to going ahead with our one-way tolls program.



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