FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 11, 2013
Contact: Tom Staudter | ThomasS@westchesterlegislators.com | 914-995-2819 (office) | 914-419-5221 (cell)
Westchester Legislators Advance Safety Improvements at Dangerous Intersection
White Plains, NY – The Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) approved today a home rule resolution that will allow a small parcel of parkland in the Town of Greenburgh to be utilized for necessary safety improvements at the intersection of Jackson Avenue and North Sprain Road.
The resolution, which was passed unanimously today at a special meeting of the BOL, is the last step before the New York State Assembly and Senate take up separate pieces of legislation for the home rule authorization, both of which are expected to pass. The State legislation will give Westchester County the green light to convey to Greenburgh a narrow strip of land now part of Sprain Ridge Park and adjacent to a dangerous “S” curve along Jackson Avenue, in exchange for a similar-sized parcel of land adjacent to Taxter Park.
Currently, the two heavily trafficked roadways create a “Y” intersection with three stops signs and less-than-perfect visibility to see oncoming vehicles. A traffic consultant recommended that the “S” curve be straightened. The work will include improvements based on the intersection becoming a “T” instead, with a traffic light as well. Numerous accidents have occurred at this intersection over the last few years resulting in grievous injuries, including two fatalities.
“I am pleased that my colleagues on the Board of Legislators recognized the urgent need for improvements at this intersection, and now the approvals will soon all be in place for work to begin,” said Legislator MaryJane Shimsky (D-Hastings-on-Hudson), who also acknowledged the assistance of State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (both former BOL members) for having the legislation ready up in Albany on a timely basis.
The funding for the road safety improvement project is already in place, Shimsky noted. As part of a lawsuit settlement with Forest City Ratner, developer of Ridge Hill Village in Yonkers, $5 million was awarded to the Town of Greenburgh and Villages of Ardsley and Hastings-on-Hudson because the environmental review of the proposed development failed to properly consider resulting traffic issues for the three plaintiff municipalities. Both the Greenburgh Town Board and the two village boards identified this particular intersection as a top priority for funding from the settlement.
But this funding is at risk because the settlement states the money needs to be spent, at the latest, in 2016—which is a tight deadline for a project that will require a complete environmental review and design before construction can finally begin.
Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) and Legislator Shimsky spearheaded initial discussions with the developer about a two-year extension for use of the settlement funds and then kept the County moving forward on the safety improvements. Thomas Madden, Town of Greenburgh Commissioner of Planning and Zoning, was instrumental in negotiating and establishing the parameters of the Jackson Avenue work and determining the Sprain Ridge Park property to be alienated.
“It was crucial that all of the stakeholders worked together and finalized the necessary agreements before the Town of Greenburgh lost millions in settlement money for the project,” said Shimsky. “This level of cooperation was a winning combination for the motoring public and area residents.”
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