Jan. 25, 2023
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
The construction of a crosswalk on Route 22 and Elm Rock Road has created a fracture in our otherwise pleasant and respectful community. Recently, it’s become clear that families who both support and oppose this initiative are equally frustrated. The good news is, we all agree that promoting walking and improving safe walkability within Bronxville is an important issue. However, conflicting sets of information, and in some cases misinformation, is creating unnecessary discord and even hostility.
We believe that if we start from a common objective – making Bronxville a safe walking village – and agree to a consistent set of facts, we will be able to find a solution that works for everyone. We are committed to working in good faith with all concerned neighbors to achieve that goal.
As a first step, and in partial response to the letter that appeared here on January 18th, we would like to share what we know to be true about the Elm Rock crosswalk initiative.
Complete Streets are important to Bronxville families.
In a survey conducted in the Fall of 2021, Route 22 (a.k.a. White Plains Road) was cited as the street or area that, after Pondfield Road, caused the most concern. In the past 18 months, a 72 year old woman was struck and killed in front of the library, a child was struck in front of Christ Church, a parking enforcement officer was struck in front of the Taco Project, and a woman was struck at the corner of Locust Lane and Pondfield. These incidents are in addition to countless close calls and unreported accidents and amplify our community’s acute concern.
The Elm Rock crosswalk initiative has been transparent from the beginning.
The process for approving and implementing the Elm Rock crosswalk was not withheld from residents. The crosswalk has been discussed at more than a 10 public trustee meetings and the Mayor has shared public updates in at least two of her regular columns:
The “Safe Routes to School Concept Plan” is NOT part of the crosswalk initiative.
The Village commissioned a concept plan from Toole Consulting to give our most vulnerable pedestrians, children, safe passage to school through designated corridors. This plan spanned Woodland Avenue to Beechwood Avenue to Hemlock Road to Studio Lane, and while it included Elm Rock Road, the focus was not solely Elm Rock. The plan was not approved by the Village and is not connected to the crosswalk on Route 22. No pedestrian lanes, parking restrictions, signage or anything associated with that plan is moving forward.
The planned Elm Rock crosswalk will increase safety for all walkers.
There are many crosswalks on Route 22 which protect residents in our neighboring communities. The presence of a marked crosswalk at an uncontrolled location on two-lane roads doesn’t alone change the pedestrian incident rate, but the proposed, actuated flashing beacons, increases efficacy by 63%. Additionally, the Elm Rock crosswalk meets all the state and federal criteria for a marked crosswalk in an uncontrolled location. Multiple planners, the NYSDOT, and State Senate together with our Village leadership unanimously approved this initiative.
A large number of Bronxville residents support and will benefit from the Elm Rock crosswalk.
More than 186 Bronxville families have asked the Mayor and Trustees to immediately resume construction specifically of the Elm Rock crosswalk. Additionally, there are people who live in 150+ homes East of Route 22 who deserve safe access to the rest of the Village. Finally, the many Village residents who regularly cross Route 22 from West to East to access the Dog Park, the Nature Preserve, Siwanoy and other residential locations will benefit at least as much as the residents who live East of Route 22.
Crosswalks at Pondfield and Tanglewylde were part of the initial 2020 proposal to the Village and are not mutually exclusive of a crosswalk at Elm Rock
The initial crosswalk proposal in 2020 requested three crosswalks at Pondfield, Tanglewylde, and Elm Rock. The Pondfield crosswalk was approved by the state in 2017 and is currently in the queue. The Tanglewylde intersection is scheduled for installation in 2023 after a dangerous accident prompted a resident to petition NYSDOT directly in May 2022.
The crosswalk initiative and its ultimate construction has been funded with NYS grants and funds, not local tax dollars.
Our Village leadership, former County Legislator and State Senator collaborated to channel highly sought after Complete Street funds to Bronxville for the creation of a needed crosswalk on Elm Rock and Route 22. Working with elected officials at the state and county level, Village officials sought and won State-funded grants (not local Village funds) for a planning consultant and a crosswalk. Without this effort, these funds would have gone to other municipalities.
Our Village is too small to remain divided on the importance of walkability. We’re stronger when we work together. The next trustee meeting is February 13th. Let’s unite to advance our common goals:
We welcome a collaboration with the signatories of the January 18th letter before the February meeting to see if we can come to that meeting presenting a united front. And even if we cannot agree beforehand, at a minimum, we should be able to come to the meeting with a better understanding of the issues that separate us.
We encourage and seek a civil and respectful dialogue, ahead of and at the February meeting.
Megan LeFauve Caleo
Dale M. Frehse
Joan Marlow Golan
Mary Louise Kiernan
Erin M. Kiernan
Niamh Hartnett Merluccio
Julian Schwartz (Age 11, I cross 22 everyday)
Philip von Mehren
Jack M. Walsh
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 residents in the community.
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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