.

Mayor Marvin's Column: Another Look at Village Laws

This is a weekly column written by Bronxville Mayor Mary C. Marvin for the week of Sept. 17, 2012.

 

This is a weekly column written and submitted by Bronxville Mayor Mary C. Marvin.

Last week’s column dedicated to safety throughout the Village elicited more inquires and needed clarifications about practices throughout the Village.

When a pedestrian enters a designated crosswalk, the law requires not only the car in the immediate lane to stop, but also the cars traveling in the opposite direction. 

As illustration, at the crosswalk near Botticelli Bridal Shop and Houlihan Lawrence, the law requires that all four lanes of traffic stop when an individual enters the crosswalk.  However, it is important to remember that a crosswalk is not an extension of the sidewalk and pedestrians must exercise careful judgment before stepping off the curb and when crossing in mid-street. 

According to New York State law, “every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk shall yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway.”

In the business district, residents get frustrated observing our Parking Enforcement Officers seeming intent on their meter duty and oblivious to driving infractions, most notably vehicles crossing the double yellow lines to enter a parking place.

By law, our Parking Enforcement Officers or PEOs are not police officers, nor even peace officers and are only authorized and trained to issue parking tickets.  New York State Vehicle and Traffic Laws can only be enforced by trained police officers. 

Traffic stops of any kind are actually the most dangerous duty for a police office because stops often lead to more serious charges/crimes such as weapons possession, stolen vehicles or outstanding criminal warrants.  PEOs have none of the training, equipment or weapons to handle these unpredictable situations.

With the weather so nice and our youngsters taking advantage of the daylight hours to play outdoors, many residents have asked for “Children at Play” and/or “Slow Children” signs in child rich neighborhoods. 

State and Federal traffic standards reject the use of these signs because they openly suggest that playing in the street is an acceptable safety practice.  The signs also give parents and especially children a false sense of security as the sign is assumed to provide protection, when in reality, it does not. 

Let Patch save you time. Get great local stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone everyday with our free newsletter. Simple, fast sign-up here.

Studies demonstrate no evidence that these signs result in reduced pedestrian accidents or lower vehicular speed.  If the Village placed these signs, it would imply that the Village condones children playing in the street and expose us to greater liability.

On the other hand, signs that alert drivers to nearby playgrounds are extremely beneficial because these parks, such as our own Sagamore Park, are often located in areas where a reasonable driver would not expect a large group of children to be present.

The warm weather also brings out our older youth who often gather on the school grounds.  Residents often inquire why they do not see our police vehicles patrolling school property.  The school fields and all the adjacent school property is private property and analogous to one’s own backyard. 

If police, in the normal course of Village patrol, see suspicious activity while passing the school or any business or residential property, they have the authority and duty to enter the property and investigate. 

However, they cannot come on property uninvited, for no reason.  General responsibility for peace and order rests with the property owners and that is why the school, Lawrence Hospital and Concordia College hire their own security teams as necessary.

Also under the umbrella of safety, we are in the process of improving some of our green spaces throughout the Village.  Our refurbishment of Sagamore Park is 99% complete featuring new soft cushion surfaces, handrails and protective gates making it a much more child friendly environment.

The same contractors have now moved down to Maltby Field to upgrade the soil as a first step and create attractive passive open spaces with benches and walkways.

Once a former ash pit, the current soil has been tested and deemed non-toxic in any form, but it does contain particulate matter and even the occasional glass shard.  It will be replaced with quality top soil so children can safely play on it and residents can relax on a blanket in comfort.

Concurrent with this project is an upgrade of Leonard Morange Square, the green space adjacent to the downtown side of the Metro North station.  Dead trees are being removed, broken sidewalks replaced and plantings enhanced.  Safe passage in and through the park is paramount due to the number of commuters who traverse it every day as well as the large number of residents who take advantage of the shady benches.

Upon completion of these endeavors, our focus will turn more toward the Kensington Road area.  Many groups of Trustees in the recent past had hopes that private funds would be used to beautify that area in conjunction with residential development. 

As example, the most recent development project which faded along with the economy, required the builder to install new sidewalks, curbing, landscape and even bury all the electrical wires in the area.

However, given the tepid interest in the site for development at the current time, we are discussing an improvement plan that would be undertaken by the Village in stages based on our financial condition and the ability to perhaps secure State grant monies.  We know work in that area needs to be done and is clearly overdue.

Our open spaces are so few and thus so precious to the character of the Village that their safety, maintenance and beauty must remain a high priority.

Follow Bronxville-Eastchester Patch on Facebook and Twitter today.

Josh Semendoff (Editor) September 19, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Thanks for all the really great and practical info on here Mayor Marvin regarding the exactness of the law. So often I find myself speculating what the actual specifics are regarding cross walk laws and other law enforcement protocol.
Rob Randolph September 19, 2012 at 01:32 PM
While on the subject of pedestrians and vehicles, often times many more than I would like, I have come close to hitting a pedestrian on Palmer Ave. The section imparticular is between the hospital entrance and Gilards. It is very dark in that area for some reason. Untill the past few years I have never none it to seem so dark. Pedestrians seem to dart out from between parked cars. Are the street lights there not as bright as they once were? Are the trees lining the street reducing the light given off ? I also notice this at the intersection at St.Joseph's and the strech of street leading up to the Starbucks. Just sayin .....
Josh Semendoff (Editor) September 19, 2012 at 01:41 PM
I agree Rob more so with the area by St. Joseph's and also even around the Blue Moon area. I think that area is even worse along Sagamore Rd. because you are coming off the hill and it is a three-way intersection. Again though, speed is almost always the common denominator in traffic incidents so staying within posted speed limits is key.
R Thorn September 19, 2012 at 05:41 PM
NYS VTL 1151(a) When traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk on the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, except that any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overpass has been provided shall yield the right of way to all vehicles. (b) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield. (c) Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.
Nina September 20, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Mary, Thanks for the update. Your comments are always appreciated, as is your very sincere interest in the Village. My place of business allows me to continually see the roundabout in front of One Pondfield Road. Everyday, cars coming down from Sagamore turn left instead of right here and sometimes arguments break out between drivers - usually the car going the wrong way is insisting the other back up! Can better signage help?
Josh Semendoff (Editor) September 20, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Good thinking Nina, I agree that perhaps more clearly labeled signage is needed there, directing traffic with arrows in the correct directions.
JOHN DEMPSEY JR. September 20, 2012 at 05:34 PM
IF DRIVERS ADJUST THEIR SPEED IN THE VILLAGE WHICH CAN BECOME QUITE CONGESTED AND STOP MAKING DANGEROUS TURNS IN ORDER TO GET A PARKING SPACE , WE WOULD ALL BE SAFER.
j palushevic December 01, 2012 at 02:45 AM
R THORN- as to NYS VTL 1151 (b) mostly kids from the high school don't know the law because of signs posted on the roadway so they think they can just walk onto the crosswalk with vehicles traveling @ 30mph

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something