By Mary Marvin, Mayor of Bronxville
Jan. 25, 2023: A proposal to add a new crosswalk on the Route 22 corridor has generated much discussion of late.
In a quest to keep the conversation going, the Trustees and I want to clarify a few points.
The proposed Route 22 crosswalk is just one of many in a continuum of “walkability” initiatives that the Village has undertaken over the past 3+ years to accentuate our small size, ease of access and desire to have less vehicular traffic.
Other initiatives have included the redesign of the West Side Traffic Circle, the improvements at the Masterton Road/Midland Avenue intersection, the soon to be installed pedestrian buttons at the reconfiguration of the Pondfield Road/Midland Avenue intersection and the new sidewalk connecting Avon Road to the Tuckahoe Village line.
All sections of the Village continue to be explored comprehensively to facilitate increased “walkability” – consistent with our planning goals identified in the Village’s Comprehensive Plan which was updated in 2020.
The Route 22 corridor was a logical additional focus as this northeast quadrant, lying north of Pondfield Road and east of Midland Avenue, has the least walkability infrastructure in the Village. The Village also retains a right of way easement at the intersection of Paddington Circle and Ridgecroft Road to facilitate pedestrian passage through these neighborhoods.
As guidance, the New York State Department of Transportation recommends crosswalks every quarter-mile through similarly situated residential areas and there are no crosswalks within the half-mile stretch on Route 22 between Pondfield Road and Tanglewylde Avenue under consideration.
Similar to other projects in process throughout the Village, some completed, others in mid or early stages, the crosswalk concept at Route 22 has been long under discussion. As far back as 2015, residents have asked for a crosswalk in this corridor and in December 2020, citizens requested a meeting to further advance the request.
Bolstered by a petition, signed by 60 families, from this time forward, the issue has been discussed in various outlets including: Board of Trustee public meetings, the minutes that follow and are published on the Village website, the Village newsletter - “One Square Mile”, Mayor’s Columns, as well as at an open public Town Hall meeting on October 2021 with no dissention voiced.
Simultaneously, under the walkability umbrella initiative, Village government did, and continues to, advocate for safer pedestrian crossings at both the intersection of Route 22 at Pondfield Road and at Tanglewylde Avenue.
In addition to an earlier County funded study, the Village employed Toole and BFJ Traffic Engineers to not only review the crosswalk concept, but to brainstorm concepts for creating safer routes to the Bronxville School, in particular in this corridor, with safety the primary focus. These professional teams devised conceptual ideas, including striping walking lanes in the direction of the school and creating no parking zones throughout.
The entire Board of Trustees resoundingly and unanimously rejected those proposals/concepts for the corridor in question. We recognized that they were very safe concepts, but that they did not fit the neighborhood. Toole Associates offered additional safe passage proposals, concentrating on the Elm Rock Road corridor. They included raised bumps or “jellybeans” and striped pedestrian lanes. Like the previous suggestions, they were resoundingly rejected.
Net net, what is the only issue under discussion at this juncture is a delineated crosswalk from Dusenberry Road to Elm Rock Road (or some other location) and possibly an extension of sidewalk. Nothing else is on the table.
Recognizing that this is the most collegial of Villages and a place where people expect to be heard, and rightly so, the Trustees and I have acknowledged that we should have given formal, individual notice to residents in the Elm Rock Road environs so that any local dissenting views could have been recognized earlier in the process. As a group, we apologized and acknowledged our error.
As a result, in respecting the uniqueness of the unity and neighborliness of our small Village, the Board of Trustees have put on hold/pause any work regarding a crosswalk on Route 22 until after the following:
-Retaining a traffic engineer to evaluate all prior studies and conduct an independent review including New York State’s findings regarding our request to reduce the maximum speed limit to 25 m.p.h.
-Prior to said study, we as a Board of Trustees, plan on issuing a Village wide survey soliciting further community input on the topic with a distribution date of next week.
-When the surveys are tabulated and the independent traffic review is submitted, we will hold a second Town Hall meeting to present the analysis.
-In essence, we are asking the seminal questions:
*Is there a type of crosswalk that will improve safety for pedestrians crossing Route 22 in the half mile stretch between Pondfield Road and Tanglewylde Avenue?
*If so, is there sufficient demand for such crosswalk?
*If answered in the affirmative, where is the ideal placement of such crosswalk?
The bottom line is the Village will never install any crosswalk that is not supported from a safety perspective by an independent traffic engineer and the New York State Department of Transportation which ultimately controls Route 22 as it is a state road.
In the interim, we welcome feedback/conversation and we are all available to meet in person, by zoom or by phone.
Mayor Mary Marvin
Deputy Mayor Robert Underhill
Trustee Helen Knapp
Trustee William Fredericks
Trustees Mary Taylor Behrens
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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