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From the Mayor: Making Our Streets Safer and Neighborhoods More Walkable

By Mary Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville

Sept. 22, 2021:  As promised in my column of last week, I will continue sharing the initiatives the Village is undertaking as our number one priority this fall is to make our streets safer and neighborhoods more walkable.

The following are an array of projects we have either completed, are in progress or have definite plans to undertake:

-We recently added white markings on Pondfield Road at Locust Lane and striped a new crosswalk there. The markings on the downhill approach to the High Road push the motorist away from the retaining wall, thus making the pedestrian more visible. We will also be relocating one of our digital speed radar displays in the vicinity of the downhill approach on Pondfield Road to further alert the motorists.

-We have already walked the Route 22 corridor down to the school, (via Elm Rock to Oriole to Orchard to Beechwood to Masterton to the school), with the county planner and have another visit with him scheduled for Wednesday, October 6th.  We are planning to be a part of a Safe Routes to School workshop on October 15th.

-As I mentioned in my prior column, we are asking for federal money to upgrade the Midland Ave/Pondfield Road intersection by adding crossing buttons including a pedestrian crossing and a countdown device.  Pedestrian and vehicular traffic counts at this intersection are already underway in anticipation of a design by late fall.

-We continue to repaint every crosswalk in the Village.

-The Police Department has returned to its more aggressive approach to monitoring speeding with designated enforcement units now that the courts are re-opening for enforcement purposes and face to face contacts with police and motorist are less dangerous than during the prime Covid months when virus transmission was a major concern.

-Reconfiguration of the Midland Avenue/Masterton Road intersection has been completed, eliminating the unsightly flashing light, adding a crosswalk and narrowing the road surface as a traffic calming device.  We plan to review other intersections of that type and modify accordingly.

-Our traffic consultant, as well as the county planner, are reviewing the entire configuration of the Westside traffic circle with the possibility of expanding islands and bumping out curbing to narrow the road to improve pedestrian safe passage.  Simultaneously, we have asked for money for these improvements through the Community Development Block Grant Program and await a response.

-Per New York state law, villages can have speed limits no lower than 30 mph unless a community can demonstrate special circumstances.  Decades ago, the Village was able to demonstrate that Sagamore Road was worthy of a speed limit reduction due to its elevation, twisty curves and an unexpected play park in the middle.  We plan on evaluating streets in the coming months with the thought of perhaps finding special circumstances that would allow us to lower speed limits on certain streets to 25mph.

-We are also reviewing certain streets to paint so-called end lines which are lines of white road paint adjacent to the curb as this technique tends to have a perceived narrowing of the road to a driver, hence causing speed reductions – a new traffic calming device.

-Our angled parking at the post office not only increased needed parking spaces but actually serves  a dual purpose again as a road narrower resulting in speed reduction.

-We are fortunate to have many school zones where the speed limit is automatically 20mph when schools are in session and these areas will be part of our renewed enforcement effort.

-As I mentioned in last week’s column, the installation of properly installed speed bumps or humps requires a myriad of signage and bright paint.  The Trustees have decided to propose a speed bump policy that will be considered at a public hearing at our October 12th Board of Trustees meeting.  Essentially the policy would enumerate the requirements needed for a properly installed bump as well as soliciting neighborhood input and a level of agreement of neighbors before installation.  You can review the proposed policy on the Village website www.villageofbronxville.com under the News tab on the homepage.

-In the interest of decreasing car traffic which is frankly at an all-time high in the village due to many factors including residents less likely to take public transportation, the increase in business for companies such as DoorDash and UberEats and the influx of Lyft and Uber cars not only to pick up customers but also travel the area hoping for a Bronxville call, residents have suggested the installation of bike lanes. 

When we had a traffic engineer visit the village he determined Pondfield Road West as the only viable bike lane meeting safety guidelines.  Our topography presents a myriad of issues for bike lanes. Bike lanes have to go somewhere, in essence lead you to new location.  To use as an example, Elm Rock Road, which has bike lane potential, would either lead you to Route 22 or to Masterton Road which meets none of the minimum guidelines for safe bike lanes.  The problem is there has been a proliferation of stamping a picture of a bike on a roadway and calling it a bike lane.  As example on Palmer Road, just outside the borders of the Village, there is a bike lane which essentially has bikers driving with cars with not even an attempt at an invisible wall between them.  Our traffic consultant found Palmer Road not feasible for a bike lane due to safety factors.

This is just a sampling with more initiatives to be enumerated in next week’s columns as we are visiting every corner of the Village to increase our greatest attribute – Walkability!

Government & History Directory

Bronxville Overview

Bronxville is a quaint village (one square mile) located just 16 miles north of midtown Manhattan (roughly 30 minutes on the train) and has a population of approximately 6,500. It is known as a premier community with an excellent public school (K-12) and easy access to Manhattan. Bronxville offers many amenities including an attractive business district, a hospital (Lawrence Hospital), public paddle and tennis courts, fine dining at local restaurants, two private country clubs and a community library.

While the earliest settlers of Bronxville date back to the first half of the 18th century, the history of the modern suburb of Bronxville began in 1890 when William Van Duzer Lawrence purchased a farm and commissioned the architect, William A. Bates, to design a planned community of houses for well-known artists and professionals that became a thriving art colony. This community, now called Lawrence Park, is listed on the National register of Historic Places and many of the homes still have artists’ studios. A neighborhood association within Lawrence Park called “The Hilltop Association” keeps this heritage alive with art shows and other events for neighbors.

Bronxville offers many charming neighborhoods as well as a variety of living options for residents including single family homes, town houses, cooperatives and condominiums. One of the chief benefits of living in “the village” is that your children can attend the Bronxville School.

The Bronxville postal zone (10708, known as “Bronxville PO”) includes the village of Bronxville as well as the Chester Heights section of Eastchester, parts of Tuckahoe and the Lawrence Park West, Cedar Knolls, Armour Villa and Longvale sections of Yonkers. Many of these areas have their own distinct character. For instance, the Armour Villa section has many historic homes and even has its own newsletter called “The Villa Voice” which reports on neighborhood news.

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