WPCNR SOUTH END TIMES. By John F. Bailey. September 23, 2013 UPDATED September 24, 2013 11:30 P.M. E.D.T.:
Seventy persons packed the Board of Education meeting Monday evening, most drawn to hear the French American School of New York explanation to the school board of what FASNY would request for entrance redesign and construction of the Board to allow at the White Plains High School entrance, should a North Street entrance be accepted by the White Plains city Common Council.
The School Board saw an animation of the FASNY choice of North Street entrance to the Ridgeway property consisting of four lanes– 2 northbound with turn lanes into FASNY and the high school and 2 south bound with turn lanes into FASNY and the high school. The new entrance drive continues deep into the nature conservancy area into the FASNY campus. There is a turnabout on the FASNY drive for vehicles heading out of the YWCA to make a u-turn and safely return north without making a u-turn in the intersection as they do now on a regular basis.
The FASNY presenter pointed out that the aligned standard intersection had been endorsed by the Westchester County Department of Public Works and the Westchester County Traffic Commissioner (North Street is a county-owned road). The presenter said FASNY feels the aligned intersection on North Street is the best option, and presently is not considering the roundabout suggestion at North Street or an entrance on Bryant Avenue as noted in the Final Environmental Impact Statement approved last week..
Common Councilman John Kirkpatrick in attendance, asked if the White Plains Planning Department and Public Works Department had approved the aligned intersection too, declined to answer the question, and said “There are still a lot of problems with the Final Environmental Impact Statement. And we are keeping an open mind.”
FASNY also presented a series of North South and East West walking trails that would allow students to walk from Bryant Avenue and Ridgeway to the high school through the former Ridgeway School. They said a mandatory busing program would cut the amount of vehicular traffic by 50% (correction from 80% that appeared previously in this report).
FASNY allowed there would be a service entrance on Ridgeway, too. FASNY also said they will stagger starting hours for their high school, middle school and elementary and nursery schools on the site to mitigate traffic impacts, showing how overlaps spread out the traffic flow.
Fourteen of 16 citizens speaking at the traditional public comment period (scheduled at every Board of Education meeting), were against the North Street entrance alternative presented and most declared there would be too much traffic impact no matter how staggered the hours were.
WPCNR reached out to Common Council President Beth Smayda, asking what the timing of any Board of Education vote on approving or rejecting a North Street entrance to the school.
The issues on timing of Board of Education action on the North Street entrance presented Monday night are, (as best as WPCNR can determine) are:
1.)should the Board approve or reject the North Street proposal before the Council makes a Findings Statement,
2. after the Council makes a positive finding on the FASNY project (and before the preparation of a site plan by FASNY), or
3. after a site plan is submitted by FASNY
4. Whether a vote would only come if a Common Council site plan approval of the project included the redesign of the White Plains High School entrance to accommodate an entrance and egress drive off North Street leading into the now dormant fairways of the former Ridgeway Club into the new French American School of New York campus.
Council President Smayda has not yet responded.
The representatives from the school said they, if greenlighted by the White Plains Common Council would open in 2015 with construction expected complete by 2019.