Fort Hill and Underhill Edgemont intersection photo

Fort Hill Road in Edgemont, where a fatal accident occurred Nov. 22.

Greenburgh police responded to Fort Hill Road, just south of the intersection of Underhill Road on Nov. 22 at 6:10 p.m. to investigate a report of a pedestrian struck by a car. Police and EMS personnel found a 67-year-old Edgemont resident lying in the roadway after being struck by a 2014 Acura MDX. The 49-year-old driver of the Acura, also an Edgemont resident, had turned onto Fort Hill Road from Underhill Road when she hit the pedestrian. The driver stopped and called 911. None of the passengers in the driver’s car was injured. The pedestrian was transported to Westchester Medical Center and died that evening. The Greenburgh Police Department is still investigating the incident.

Police haven’t determined whether or not the victim was crossing the street at the time of the accident or stepped off the curb line to walk around a utility pole near the intersection of Fort Hill and Underhill roads, according to Greenburgh police Chief Brian Ryan.

Chief Ryan told the Inquirer police learned that prior to the accident, the pedestrian was walking along the grassy shoulder on the west side of Fort Hill Road in a northerly direction toward Underhill Road.

In an email to residents on Nov. 25, Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said residents were invited to join a walk on Dec. 7 at 11 a.m. from the corner of Fort Hill and Underhill roads to Longview Drive to identify obstacles that would have to be removed in order to build a sidewalk at the location.

In a post on the social media site NextDoor, Feiner said he hadn’t heard about the need for a sidewalk on Fort Hill Road until recently, when a Greenville School sixth grader made a presentation to the town board on Nov. 13.

“I haven’t heard anyone lobbying for this sidewalk in years,” wrote Feiner. “If the civic groups would reach out to the town, we would be able to better prioritize. We want to work with the community and believe that safety is more important than anything.”

During an April town board meeting, Edgemont Community Council president Bob Bernstein told the town board that Fort Hill Road, between Ardsley Road and Underhill Road was the “most dangerous place to walk in Edgemont today.”

“I don’t really feel that the Edgemont community leadership made an effort to get that sidewalk built,” Feiner told the Inquirer.

Bernstein has been a vocal advocate for sidewalks in Edgemont since the early 2000s.

“This is something I’ve been doing for a long time,” said Bernstein. “I think [the] people of Edgemont know that I’ve been lobbying the town for sidewalks for years, including the sidewalk needed on Fort Hill Road.”

Feiner said he has attended some Edgemont civic association meetings in the past to speak about safety measures on Fort Hill Road. He has not attended an Edgemont Community Council meeting — the umbrella organization for the civic associations — since December 2014.

“They never invite me,” Feiner told the Inquirer. “I’ll go to any meeting they want.”

“Our meetings are open to the public, everyone knows that, and [Feiner] doesn’t need a special invitation,” said Bernstein, in response to Feiner’s comments.

There is no sidewalk on Fort Hill Road between Longview and Paradise drives. There is a sidewalk that begins halfway down Fort Hill Road between Paradise Drive and Underhill Road, but no crosswalk exists in the location.

According to an Edgemont resident who was at the scene after the accident occurred, the area was so dimly lit that he had to ask nearby residents to use the flashlights on their phones to see the victim.

During a capital budget public hearing on Nov. 25, Bernstein asked the board to immediately allocate funds in the capital budget for a request for proposal (RFP) for an engineering study. The study would look at the viability of a sidewalk and other pedestrian enhancements on Fort Hill Road from Ardsley Road to Underhill Road.

“You can find out when the engineer does his study how many shrubs might have to be moved on either side. You don’t need a [public] walk, a grandstanding to show the importance [of pedestrian enhancements],” said Bernstein. “Show the importance tonight. Pass a resolution authorizing an RFP to find out what can be done immediately.”

Feiner said he supports issuing an RFP and increasing funding for a sidewalk at the location because “there is nothing more important than public safety.”

Feiner added that although the town usually builds sidewalks in-house, he’d be interested in hiring an outside contractor if it meant the project would be done quicker.

“We have a serious issue around the town,” said Councilman Francis Sheehan. “We need a very broad-based approach to address this.”

On Nov. 26, Feiner sent an email to Bernstein showing support for an RFP.

“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,” wrote Feiner. “I believe this is one of the most important safety initiatives we can work on and implement.”

Feiner added that Bernstein could help draft a proposed RFP “and participate and help select the engineering consultant.”

In response, Bernstein said he’d be happy to participate and provide input, but that the ECC would not draft an RFP or select engineers.

“The Edgemont community entrusts some $16 [million] in annual property taxes to the town of Greenburgh with the expectation that the town will fulfill its responsibilities under [New York] law, including, but not limited to, those relating to pedestrian safety,” Bernstein wrote, adding that other steps could be taken immediately to make the intersection safer including the installation of a crosswalk. “With your access to vast resources, we are confident that the town’s appointed professionals can expeditiously [and] 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.”

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