THE LETTER TICKER. JULY 15, 2015:
Dear Mayor and Common Council,
Our thanks to Senator Chuck Schumer for coming up all the way from Washington, DC, or from Brooklyn, on Tuesday, July 7th, to draw attention to Westchester having some of the most dangerous parkways in NYS. . .and for singling out the Hutchinson River Parkway at Mamaroneck Avenue as having one of the worst accident records. Mayor Roach was also at the news conference as Traffic Safety is one of his priorities.
(Editor’s Note: Senator Schumer announced yesterday in a news conference to which WPCNR was not invited, more money for Westchester County Police to enforce traffic rules on Westchester roads, one of the roads cited is the Hutchinson River Parkway.)
We’ll take all the help we can if it makes Traffic safer. Our only concern is that at times our Washington politicians are good at identifying problems that we all know about. . .then recommending task forces, audits and committees that spend money that our government doesn’t have. . .and in the end citizens rarely see any real solutions. So we’ll help our friends in Washington out with a heads-up. . .the problem with the Hutchinson River Parkway and accident rates is. . .there are just “too many cars with distracted drivers” on the Hutch particularly during the AM and PM commute times.
As background the Hutch is a 2-lane winding highway in each direction with few shoulder or emergency lanes. It was designed back in the 1920’s, around the same time as the old Ridgeway Golf Course, and like many of our neighborhood streets in the Southend of WP, the Hutch was never designed for the larger and wider vehicles of today. . .nor the volume of traffic that travels on the Hutch each day.
Our view from 40+ years of living in Westchester County is that the number of cars on the Hutch appears to have doubled or tripled particularly during the AM and PM commutes. . . leading us to a simple formula: More cars + More Distracted Drivers = More Accidents. If Senator Schumer figures out a way to reduce the number of cars traveling on the Hutch in the AM or PM commutes. . .we’ll most likely see the accident numbers go down.
We wonder if anyone has informed Senator Schumer that while he is trying to study the current Traffic situation to help reduce future accidents. . .that the City of White Plains has been reviewing a FASNY Project for the past 4+ years. . .that if approved will add another 2,000 Vehicle Trips each day to the current Hutch levels. . .as well as to the current WP daily Traffic in our Southend of WP?
After reading the City’s recent Agenda Packet. . .we all know that FASNY’s 950 proposed student cap is only lasting a few short years. . .so it can’t be considered real mitigation. And with FASNY’s decision to create a North Street Entrance their increased volume of Traffic will create worse conditions for WP students, seniors and other citizens in the Southend.
The WP School Board had to step in to express their displeasure with FASNY Traffic and the North Street Entrance. . .yet the recent Agenda Packet did not include any offsetting mitigation for the Traffic problems pointed out by the School Board. It’s also hard to believe that FASNY’s own Traffic advisors were trying to direct more FASNY Traffic onto North Street and Mamaroneck Avenue Intersections of the Hutch that Senator Schumer is now complaining about.
If Councilman Kirkpatrick is right about FASNY’s success and potential future growth. . .FASNY’s Traffic numbers will be so high that we may have our own Times Square-type gridlock and NYC accident levels in the Southend of the City!
Sadly for the residents of the Southend there has been no “permanent” mitigation on FASNY’s Traffic. . . so if approved FASNY will bring. . .out-of-town Distracted Parents or their Uber Drivers rushing to school. . .mores Student Drivers. . . and FASNY Buses. . .resulting in More Accidents to our City just on a volume basis. Our FASNY Traffic formula for White Plains is: the More FASNY Students and Staff + the More FASNY Cars and Buses = the More WP Accidents
FASNY’s immitigable Traffic situation, like FASNY’s wrong selection of our residential area for their regional school campus and FASNY’s continued misinterpretations of our Comprehensive Plan, Special Permit process and other WP laws. . .all should have been known by FASNY upfront. . .if FASNY had done a proper due diligence before they closed on their purchase of the old golf course.
Didn’t the Court of Appeals case Clark v. Board of Zoning Appeals of Town of Hempstead rule that it was the responsibility of a developer, like FASNY, to find out upfront about potential Traffic problems or Zoning and Special Permit nuances. . .and if they didn’t find out upfront because of their own incomplete due diligence. . .then the developer, FASNY, is still responsible and at fault?
The bottom line is that after 4+ years of numerous FASNY plan changes, including the failed choice of the North Street Entrance and the Closure of Hathaway Lane. . .FASNY’s Traffic situation is actually worse, has not been mitigated and will likely be a greater problem going forward if Councilman’s Kirkpatrick’s projections come true.
Thanks for your concern.
Marie and Ron Rhodes
P.S. We have to inform you that we made a mistake in our prior email. . .when we reported that in the Agenda Packet FASNY’s Construction was reduced from 10 years down to 8 years.
In rereading the Agenda Packet. . .FASNY’s Construction is still Phase I with 4 years, a 2-year break, then Phase II with another 4 years of building for a total 10-year Construction period. Either way 8 or 10 years of Construction in a residential neighborhood is not the right thing to do. . .and the important thing we wanted to bring to your attention now is. . .just like with Traffic. . .with Construction. . .there has not been any mitigation presented by FASNY or their City Enablers.
Unfortunately we got misled by the June 29th 261-print page Agenda Packet, like the City’s prior 152-print page SEQR Findings Report of December 19, 2013, that was released for Public review. . .without Executive Summaries. . .without Listings of Major Project Changes with page numbers. . .and without Table of Contents or Indexes. Releasing reports that are funded with Public tax payments. . .without any helpful links or ways for Council members and residents to access and quickly understand key changes. . .is really a sign of disrespect. . . shows a lack of transparency. . .and is just not professional.
Isn’t it time for Council members to take control of the large developer review process to make it more transparent and professional. . .as we all know the current review process with FASNY surely hasn’t worked. . .and hasn’t been fair to Council members who serve part-time or to the citizens of White Plains?