Fort Hill/Underhill Safety

Supervisor Feiner made several mentions recently of working with the ECC on the Fort Hill/Underhill sidewalk and safety issues. To keep everyone as informed as possible, please see below for an update on the ongoing conversation.

From: robert bernstein <rbernstein@rbblegal.com>
Date: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 at 11:25 AM
To: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>, Victor Carosi <VCarosi@greenburghny.com>
Cc: Town Board <TownBoard@greenburghny.com>, Richard Fon <RFon@greenburghny.com>
Subject: Re: RFP for engineer

Dear Supervisor Feiner:

The mission of the ECC is: “To determine community opinion on civic matters, coordinate community action thereon, and to plan and promote the general welfare of the Edgemont community.” It is not to do the actual work of the Town.  We’re happy to provide input, but drafting RFPs and selecting engineers is not what we do.

Nor do we think it’s appropriate for the ECC to take on that task. The Edgemont community entrusts some $16M in annual property taxes to the Town of Greenburgh with the expectation that the Town will fulfill its responsibilities under NY Law, including (but not limited to) those relating to pedestrian safety. (The ECC itself has no taxing power or authority to enact or enforce laws.)

We believe the ECC, long ago, established that a sidewalk along the entire length of Fort Hill Road, from Ardsley Road to Underhill Road, and along Underhill Road itself, would improve the welfare of the community by enhancing its safety. While it sadly took a tragic incident to spur the Town into action, we are pleased that this project has finally garnered your attention.  

As to the actual handling of the project:  we believe that’s the job of the Town. With your access to vast resources, we are confident that the Town’s appointed professionals can expeditiously (yet transparently) put together an RFP, secure the necessary outside expertise, and commence design work.  We certainly do not want to stand in the way of that process.

However, in addition to the sidewalk, there are other steps that can be taken immediately to make the intersection at Underhill and Fort Hill safer.  For example, there is no crosswalk to allow pedestrians coming down Underhill Road (where there is no sidewalk) to cross Fort Hill Road (to where there is a sidewalk). The lack of any crosswalk presents a hazard for many residents who walk down and/or across Underhill Road to get to the bus stop on Fort Hill.  To do so, they need to deal with cars coming down an “S” curve on Underhill Road, as well as cars coming north on Fort Hill to access Central Avenue.  A crosswalk should be installed there as soon as possible. I believe Chief Ryan and the Town Engineer can recommend exactly where on Fort Hill that crosswalk should be installed, and what signage, striping and/or lighting is needed to make it visible.

Indeed, the Town has done this before without outside help.  For example, a decade ago, when my neighbor in Greenridge was hit by a car crossing East Hartsdale Avenue from Club Way, the Town at my request, with the full support of then Chief Kapica, using its own resources, installed a raised crosswalk and appropriate signage shortly thereafter – and no one’s been hit since.

We also believe there are other areas of unincorporated Greenburgh — both inside and outside of Edgemont — that also deserve an immediate focus as to pedestrian safety in terms of sidewalks, crosswalks and improved lighting. We implore you to develop a multi-year plan that uses objective criteria to prioritize needs, as opposed to reacting to tragedies or responding to the loudest or most politically active voices.  The dangers on Underhill Road and Fort Hill have been known and discussed for years, with no action taken by the Town to address them. If the Town lacks the inside expertise to develop such a plan, then you should hire appropriate experts (rather than asking citizens to do the work).

Bob

Robert B. Bernstein, Esq.

From: Paul Feiner <pfeiner@greenburghny.com>
Date: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 at 12:05 AM
To: robert bernstein <rbernstein@rbblegal.com>, Victor Carosi <VCarosi@greenburghny.com>
Cc: Town Board <TownBoard@greenburghny.com>, Richard Fon <RFon@greenburghny.com>
Subject: RFP for engineer

When it comes to safety we should work together.  I like your idea to hire an engineer to study the Ft Hill corridor and to make  safety recommendations and to help design a sidewalk.

The town can issue the RFP and hire the consultant. Or, if you prefer – you can draft a proposed RFP and participate and help select the engineering consultant. I think it’s very important for the ECC and residents of the Edgemont community to have confidence in the review, study and in the consultant we hire.  I believe this is one of the most important safety initiatives we can work on and implement.

PAUL FEINER

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