Hathaway Lane Closure Discussion

WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. August 17, 2014:

Dear Mayor Roach and Members of the Common Council:

We write to voice our objections to FASNY’s proposal to close Hathaway Lane south of 57 Hathaway Lane. The analyses by FASNY and TRC of impact of this proposal on the contiguous neighborhood, and in particular, on the residents of Gedney Esplanade, Hotel Drive, and Murchison Place, do not support the proposal. Accordingly, the Council should deny this application.

 

  1. A.         FASNY’s analysis of this proposal contained in the FEIS is grossly                        inadequate.

 

The single page of handwritten notes of FASNY’s consultant enclosed herewith only addresses a.m. and p.m. peak hours, and only on one single day. This analysis is inadequate because the closure will have an impact on a 24/7 basis. Further, FASNY did not conduct a traffic count analysis on Hathaway Lane between Ridgeway and Gedney Esplanade, and did not conduct any traffic counts or any other analysis on the impacted alternative route, Gedney Esplanade, Hotel Drive and Murchison Place.

 

B.         The analysis contained in the TRC report from the fall of 2013 is wholly insufficient and factually incorrect.

We have enclosed the pertinent portion of the TRC report to this letter. We are astounded that this is all that the City’s independent traffic consultant had to say regarding closure of one end of the only two-way north-south route in the neighborhood.

  1. TRC states that the closure would involve local traffic only. This is false because Hathaway is a main cut through street used by a large number of nonresidents. There is significant cut through traffic in both the a.m. and p.m. peak hours on Hathaway, including many students traveling to and from White Plains High School.

 

  1. TRC claims that the closure would decrease cut through traffic, as the “efficiency” of the cut through would be lost. TRC does not support this conclusion with any facts, and in fact, we do not believe that the closure would decrease the cut-through traffic.

Drivers that currently use the Hathaway cut through will still use it, as it is not a meaningful inconvenience for them to access Ridgeway via Murchison Lane as opposed to Hathaway Lane.  Drivers who currently travel eastbound on Ridgeway will turn left onto Murchison rather than at Hathaway in order to avoid the North Street/Ridgeway intersection. Further, drivers who currently come from the north and east and use Bryant Avenue to make a left onto Hathaway to cut through the neighborhood do so to avoid congestion on North Street. They will still avoid congestion on North Street and use Hathaway, and will simply go down Gedney Esplanade, around Hotel onto Murchison to access Ridgeway.

  1. In fact, FASNY will likely increase the cut through traffic onto Hathaway and surrounding streets.  With additional traffic from the FASNY development in the general neighborhood, this will increase the bottleneck at North Street and Ridgeway, and create a new bottleneck at the FASNY North Street entrance opposite White Plains HS. This, in turn, will create a greater incentive for non-neighborhood traffic to cut through the neighborhood rather than encounter these new and increased bottlenecks.

 

  1. TRC utterly failed to consider the differences in character of the Ridgeway/Hathaway intersection and the Ridgeway/Murchison intersection.  A photo of this intersection from Murchison facing south is enclosed.

Ridgway/Hathaway is a three-way intersection, while Ridgeway/Murchison is a four-way intersection, as Murchison crosses Ridgeway to become Richbell.  Secondly, the Ridgeway/Murchison intersection contains a school crossing across Ridgeway. This will likely create a negative safety issue in that the closure of Hathaway Lane will shunt more traffic to an intersection that contains a school crossing. This school crossing is the pedestrian access route to and from Ridgeway School by students living on Richbell and related streets.

TRC failed to analyze whether closure of Hathaway will lead to an increased safety hazard for pedestrians, including school children, at this intersection. By contrast, Hathaway at Ridgeway has very little, if any, pedestrian traffic, and there are no pedestrian cross walks or school crossings.

  1. TRC did not analyze the character of the alternate access Gedney Esplanade/Hotel Drive/Murchison access route. Hathaway south of 57 Hathaway has no homes, and no parking is permitted south of 57 Hathaway. By contrast, the new route has several homes on both sides of the street and parking on one side.

 

  1. TRC did not analyze whether Gedney Esplanade can handle the additional traffic. This is a country lane and it is already burdened by existing traffic. We walk on Gedney Esplanade on a near daily basis and can tell you that it is not wide enough, particularly between Oxford Road and Hotel Drive for vehicles going both ways and pedestrians. Can this already problematic road handle the additional traffic in a safe manner?

 

  1. All of the deficiencies in the TRC report outlined above also apply to FASNY’s analysis. These are simple common sense issues. Why didn’t FASNY did include analysis of these issues in its application to close Hathaway Lane? Did FASNY study these issues but decide not to include submit its analysis because its analysis revealed negative impacts? Or did the FASNY willfully ignore these issues and submit a bare-bones, shoddy report? Either way, FASNY has utterly failed to show that its proposal is sound and safe.

 

Discussion

 

            This letter contains the observations of two residents of the neighborhood who do not have expertise in traffic management and safety. However, as 24-year residents of the neighborhood, we have the several concerns that we discussed above. We respectfully suggest that both the FASNY and TRC analyses of the closure of Hathaway Lane do not support this extraordinary proposal.

We also believe that the proposal to close Hathaway Lane shows that the FASNY development is utterly inappropriate for the Ridgeway property. Simply put, it is the wrong proposal in the wrong place. Placing the FASNY complex in context going back over three years, FASNY first proposed the Ridgeway entrance to its complex. This was soundly rejected. In the next iteration of the plan, FASNY adopted the North Street entrance, which FASNY itself had rejected in the initial proposal.  Now, FASNY proposes yet another bad traffic plan. No matter how hard FASNY tries, it has not shown, and can never show, that this development is an appropriate fit for the surrounding neighborhood. Quite simply, enough is enough.

In the absence of a thorough analysis that demonstrates that the closure of Hathaway Lane will not have a detrimental impact, we ask that you deny FASNY’s application. FASNY should not be heard to complain if you deny its application. FASNY has the burden of demonstrating the soundness of its proposal, but has utterly failed to do so.  We also implore you to ignore any explicit or implicit threats of a lawsuit by FASNY if you deny this application. While this well-funded developer certainly has the resources to sue, FASNY’s failure to demonstrate the propriety of its proposal dooms any lawsuit.

Thank you for your consideration of this letter.

 

Very truly yours,

 

Denise and Joseph DeMarzo

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