In the wake of a pedestrian accident that led to the death of a 67-year-old resident of Paradise Drive, Greenburgh police Chief Brian Ryan met Dec. 3 with members of the Edgemont Community Council to discuss future pedestrian safety improvements on Fort Hill Road — where the fatality occurred.
“In my short tenure here thus far, my top priority [is] traffic and safety,” said Chief Ryan. “My understanding is the town is looking to put together a comprehensive approach — through engineering, through possibly an outside consultant … specializing in traffic safety — to identify areas that are in need of sidewalks.”
Edgemont Community Council President Bob Bernstein said Edgemont residents are looking for objective criteria as opposed to anecdotal evidence for areas that are most in need of sidewalks.
“One thing we are most upset about is the ad hoc nature of public safety response on the part of the town,” said Bernstein. “When I look at the capital budget, this year there’s $650,000 allocated for pedestrian enhancements, with not one single enhancement identified,” he said.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner told the Inquirer he didn’t like the restrictions brought about with an itemized list of pedestrian improvements in the capital budget and he said there’s a map of priority sidewalk locations within the town’s 2016 comprehensive plan.
Feiner said the Public Works and the Community Development and Conservation departments would work with the community to generate a list of possible locations of sidewalks for prioritization by the end of first quarter.
“I’ve taken the lowest hanging fruit, because I’ve looked at sidewalks that are necessary but also that would have the least obstructions,” said Feiner. “People get very, very angry and agitated when we remove something from in front of their house.”
Feiner said he was “totally committed” to the construction of a sidewalk on Fort Hill Road from Longview Drive to Underhill Road and after a planned walk on the roadway Dec. 7, he will announce plans either to put out a request for proposal for a traffic engineer to construct a sidewalk, or to use a previous contractor to speed up the process.
“I’d say we could probably get the sidewalk built in 2021,” he said.
At the ECC meeting, Ryan said the police department would need to finish its investigation of the accident in order to make a full safety determination for the site.
“We’ll make our recommendations to DPW [and] engineering. This is what we found at this intersection, these are improvements we’re recommending, bring out an outside firm if necessary and move forward,” said Chief Ryan. “It’s very feasible and reasonable.”
According to Feiner, police will be shutting down Fort Hill Road from Longview Drive to Underhill Road on Dec. 7 from 11 a.m. to noon in order to conduct a community walk to discuss safety initiatives.