By Andrew Langhoff, a member of the BVX Safe Street Initiative
Oct. 10, 2023: An Open Letter to Mayor Marvin and Our Village Trustees
We urge you to approve the creation of a crosswalk on Route 22.
For close to three years, residents of this Village have asked for a simple crosswalk to protect their children when walking to school. This group of supporters has grown from a handful of mothers to a clear majority of those interested in the issue – as evidenced by hundreds of signatures on petitions, strong attendance at public hearings, and, most pointedly, the results of the broad public survey undertaken by your Village Administrator this past spring. People in this Village want this crosswalk.
And the experts have approved this crosswalk. Not once, not twice, but three times. Three independent traffic experts – one chosen by the county, one chosen by the Village via a request for proposal, and one chosen by this Board by fiat – have all approved the crosswalk. They have undertaken repeated “counts” of those crossing Route 22 and the results have always exceeded the state requirements for construction. Each expert has explicitly supported the location of the crosswalk at the intersection of Elm Rock Road. Significantly, never has any one of these traffic experts opined that a new crosswalk would somehow be less safe than no crosswalk. There is agreement among all three of our experts as to the need, placement, and safety of the crosswalk.
When crosswalk construction began last fall, a handful of residents – primarily from the Elm Rock Road area – raised objections as to the crosswalk’s placement. While much of their concern was misplaced (based on a misunderstanding of what had been approved by this Board), these objectors alleged that there was no public support for a crosswalk and that foot traffic was insufficient to meet state standards. These claims have been effectively negated by the Village’s own investigations as detailed above. In fact, the real goal of these objectors was to move the crosswalk to a location other than the Elm Rock intersection. Those objecting to the crosswalk are in the clear minority and their arguments have been defeated.
Having lost their earlier arguments regarding a lack of demand, the objectors are suddenly and ironically concerned with the safety of the children who would use the crosswalk. Now, rather than asking that the crosswalk simply be put elsewhere, they have decided that public crosswalks are themselves a safety danger. Their position appears to be that our residents should jaywalk across a concededly dangerous street rather than have the protection of a flashing beacon crosswalk. By extension, we should likely do away with the numerous other crosswalks in the Village – as these too may give users a “false sense of security.” This desperate argument has been adopted despite the opinion of our three traffic experts that a crosswalk is the safer option. The argument that no crosswalk is a safer option is disingenuous and not supported by the experts.
The last line of opposition to the crosswalk is the canard of taxpayer burden. The good news here is that this project will not require significant investment by the Village. Because Route 22 is a New York State Road, interested Bronxville residents have worked extensively with our former county legislator, Ruth Walter, and our state Senator, Shelley Mayer, to obtain funding for the vast majority of the construction work. Thus, rather than relying solely on Village taxpayers, the proposal smartly leverages other government resources to stretch our Village tax dollars. Senator Mayer, who has recently and very publicly supported the crosswalk, has made clear that she will continue to make state funds available if we act soon. The proposed financing of the crosswalk is not a burden to local taxpayers, but rather a benefit.
In closing, we note that this Board has previously approved this crosswalk with a unanimous vote. All of the reasons for that unanimous approval still hold – the primary one being the safety of our residents. In a Village that does not provide busing for school children, the need for safe walking routes to school could not be stronger. Your decision to delay the project for further review was fair, if controversial. But since that time, more than a year has passed, and every bit of new diligence has further supported the continued construction of the crosswalk. Village residents want this crosswalk. Our experts have approved of this crosswalk. And arguments against the crosswalk have been repeatedly overcome. It is time to act.
We appreciate that there will be disgruntled parties no matter what your decision on this question. For that reason, we would ask that your vote be – once again – unanimously in favor of the construction of the crosswalk on Route 22.
Editor's note: MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements in letters to the editor, and the opinions do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff. Its objective in publishing letters to the editor is to give air to diverse thoughts and opinions of individuals in the community. Click here to view the Bronxville Village Board Meeting regarding the crosswalk.
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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