This column was written and submitted by Bronxville Mayor Mary C. Marvin.
This past summer Bronxville was the quietest in recent memory on all fronts; number of accidents, teen incidents and home and car thefts. We are optimistic that history will repeat itself in the Fall.
We were able to accomplish a significant number of infrastructure improvements, including road paving in all corners of the Village, (a final stretch of Kensington Road will be paved on one of the upcoming holidays), new sidewalks, curbs and plantings and a long overdue resurfacing of the Village tennis courts just in time to be of use to our School’s tennis teams.
Summer also saw the arrival of many new families to the Village. I understand upwards of 40 properties changed ownership this summer. We are already benefitting from our new residents’ energy, enthusiasm and new ideas and we welcome one and all.
Also, one of our most esteemed and loyal residents, Mildred McLearn, celebrated her 100th birthday in late August. Mildred is the quintessential Bronxvillian – even at 99, she often came to see me at Village Hall to share some history, impart an idea or express some concern about an initiative – all done in the spirit of love for her Village.
Now that September is upon us and its “Back to School”, this is the opportune time to review Village laws relating to pedestrian and traffic safety.
The areas adjacent to all of the schools in the Village, including our nursery schools, are school zones with a 20mph speed limit.
Our police officers are also enforcing the “No texting” and “No cell phone use” driving laws throughout the Village as well as the “No Idling” law. Both the County and Village laws prohibit cars and buses to idle in wait for more than three minutes.
Bicycles may be ridden on sidewalks throughout the Village if the rider is under the age of 11. However, no one can ride bicycles or skateboards on the sidewalks in our two business districts.
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As a reminder, homeowners have the responsibility to maintain the sidewalks adjacent to their homes in good repair, whether paved or not. This Fall, we will send out notices to homeowners not in compliance to do the necessary repairs and maintenance, to make walking safer throughout the Village.
The streets around the Bronxville School are busiest at drop-off and dismissal times so you may want to arrange errands accordingly. The High School and Middle School day begins at 7:50 a.m. and ends at 2:45 p.m. The approximately 20 minute period around these times brings many cars to Midland Avenue, Pondfield Road and Meadow Avenue.
The busy times in town at our eateries for student lunches are between 11 a.m. and 11:40 a.m. and 12:10 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Now that all the children are back in town, residents are even more attuned to the speed of cars driving in the Village.
Our Village speed limit is 30mph, the lowest allowed by New York State. The only exceptions are marked school zones. Any further reduction requires State legislation which would be predicated on documented data demonstrating accident rates and speeding data and great traffic volume, something the Village cannot currently demonstrate.
Speed reduction where it is not warranted can also unintentionally lead to increased traffic, congestion and pollution.
However, if you know any area of particular concern, call our Police Department and we will do speed monitoring.
To increase safety, residents often ask for an additional crossing guard, either near the library or at the intersection of Pondfield Road and Midland Avenue as well as the placement of speed bumps in various locations throughout the Village.
As to the crossing guard configuration, the Village adheres to Federally promulgated safety standards recognized by the State and Federal Highway Administration to guide us in all areas of traffic and pedestrian safety.
Crossing guards should only be placed at an intersection that has a high volume of children, is a significant distance from the nearest intersection controlled by a traffic light, and the route the children would have to take to reach that traffic light intersection is without proper sidewalks such as the condition along Crows Nest Road. Hence, the need for a guard at Masterton Road.
Crossing guards are never to be placed at an intersection controlled by a traffic light due to the dangerous confusion that can be caused when a driver sees perhaps a green light but then a guard waving a child across the intersection. The dueling authorities make for a potentially dangerous situation.
The Village also adheres to State and Federal standards in the use of traffic calming devices. Before any speed hump or bump is installed, a traffic engineering study must be undertaken to determine both its necessity and proper location with verifiable data on traffic volume, speeds and accident rates.
Incorrectly installed bumps have subjected municipalities to significant liability. For example, a bump too close to a curve in a road does not provide adequate warning to the unfamiliar driver and can result in increased accidents at that location.
Even after it is determined a speed bump would be helpful, a series of signs must be placed in both directions and the bump and the road markings leading up to it must be brightly painted. Speed bumps that you see without this signage and paint are incorrectly installed, thus exposing a municipality to additional liability.
As for rumble strips or roughing of the road, there is no study that has proven they are an effective traffic calming device. Also the noise made by the autos crossing these rough spots is extremely loud and incessant to neighboring dwellings.
That being said, we will undertake any study and initiate any corrective action when warranted to protect our most precious resource – our residents.