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Letter to the Editor: 'Utter Disbelief' at Reckson's Traffic Studies for Ice Rink Project

Rye Brook resident Tracy Lane has submitted her letter to Rye Brook officials to be posted as a letter to the editor on Patch.

Greetings Honorable Mayor Rosenberg (Rye Brook, NY), Trustee Heiser (Rye Brook, NY),  Trustee Rednick (Rye Brook, NY), Trustee Klein (Rye Brook, NY), Trustee Epstien and Administrator Bradbury (Rye Brook, NY):

Unfortunately due to a family emergency, I was unable to attend and speak at the Village Public Hearing last Tuesday evening. I have, however, managed to watch the first hour online so far.

I feel compelled to write and share my utter disbelief at the traffic studies submitted by QMC and SL Green-Reckson. I can not understand why there are no morning traffic counts being considered. Anyone who uses King Street realizes that the morning hours are some of the worst. Mr. Null’s characterization that this time period is ‘insignificant” highlights the fact that he and those he represents are outsiders to our beloved Village. The words strongly showed that they do not care about or have the best interest of the Village at the core of their plans. The developers just do not understand the impact the 200-300 cars an hour will have to the people living along the King Street Corridor.

Only looking at traffic data from the 5pm-6pm time period as the Village Planning Consultant suggests is also masking the true picture. Peak traffic starts around 2:30 in the afternoon and continues, with little interruption, until 7pm weekdays during the school year. The proposed facility is requesting operational hours from 6AM-12:30AM (almost 24 hours). I do not believe it is requesting too much for all time periods to be given the consideration they deserve. I was appalled to hear him suggest that not only the timing of the traffic light be considered as a potential change but also to make the light at the King Street/Anderson Hill Road intersection a “no right turn on red” juncture. This, coming from the Rye Brook Village Consultant, was especially frightful. The crux of opposition to this project is that it does not belong in the proposed location because it does not fit in with the quaint  and residential environment the office park is in. A proposed solution to the traffic issue is to enforce a rule that is widely used only on busy multi lane state roads and throughout New York City? It adds insult to injury.

Another factor which the QMC/SL Green-Reckson team failed to include was a Sunday study/count. St. Paul Roman Catholic Church, located at the corner of King Street and Sherwood Ave. in Greenwich, CT., has 3 Masses on Sunday morning and one on Saturday evening (as well as a 9am Mass on Weekdays.) It goes without saying that Sunday is the Churches busiest day. On a weekday it is difficult, if not impossible, to turn left onto King Street from Sherwood Ave. I sometimes turn right and use Bellefair as a turnaround.

With so much talk about the extensive traffic counts they performed, I felt it my obligation to look at them myself. Although I have only had an opportunity to give it a quick glance, once again, I was shocked the applicants had the gall to submit data from Wednesday, March 20, 2013, Thursday, March 21, 2013 and Saturday, March 23, 2013. At first glance, these dates seem perfectly fine. It is only when one who lives along King Street starts to think about these dates that they appear odd. And that is because, without any formal traffic study, I know that for two weeks in March the traffic along King Street is lighter than normal. This is because Sacred Heart and The Brunswick School in Greenwich, Ct were closed for Spring Recess from March 11, 2013 to March 22, 2013.

I find it strongly suspicious with all the professionals on the QMC/SL Green-Reckson team that they were unaware of this. I feel these dates were specifically chosen to mask a true count with the hope that no one would notice since NYS schools have their recess in February.

The counts which were done are completely meaningless if two of the largest traffic generators were not open for business when the counts were established. They most certainly should not be used as a proper measure and, I believe, thrown out completely.

Whether these dates were chosen on purpose or not, I can not say. But the fact they were chosen and that data beneficial to the applicant was obtained is a huge perception issue. Those living near the proposed Ice Rink already feel that the new ownership does not care about the Rye Brook Community as much as its predecessor. The timing of this count does nothing to endear the project to me or allow me to think SL Green will continue to be a good neighbor, as Reckson was.

I feel it it my duty to bring this to your attention and trust you take the necessary steps to protect all the citizens of Rye Brook (and Greenwich) who elected you into office. I believe what is getting lost in all of this is that QMC/SL Green-Reckson is applying for a SPECIAL PERMIT. They already have a permit to build on their land but do not find that financially advantageous to them. In effect they are saying, to heck with the rest of the Villagers as long as we can make a profit. To me, that is the ultimate arrogance and is certainly not neighborly. Even with these skewed traffic studies, an estimated additional 210-300 something cars per hour could be using King Street. That in and of itself is ridiculous. Mr Mayor, you said regarding cars along King Street and Anderson Hill Road that you “Don’t want it to back up”. How can that not happen?

I understand additional studies are being done or the data needs to be interpreted from previous studies at Sherwood Ave, Bellefair Blvd. and the Huch intersections. I did not hear, in the first hour of the public hearing, any mention of what a disaster all four exit and entrance ways to the Hutch and Merritt are at King Street. They are quite the obstacle course during the day for local drivers. They are treacherous at night for even those most seasoned drivers and long term residents of the area. Is it seriously being suggested that we now have 300-500 cars who are not familiar with the twists and turns of the exits and entranceways use them in the pitch black? Remember, most of the year it is dark until 7am and by 7pm.

I have not heard any mention on how, if approved, this project will affect Lincoln Avenue. I personally use Lincoln Ave. quite frequently to avoid the constant back up at Anderson Hill Road and King Street. Is Purchase College going to feel safe allowing out of towners to use their campus. Already they have it blocked off by Campus Police at night and I must encounter three police cars to use Lincoln Avenue. How soon before they decide to stop traffic altogether from being on their campus. That will affect my quality of life as Lincoln Avenue is a great time saver at all hours of the day.

It is not only King Street that will be affected. The Lincoln Avenue corridor is most certainly an open question. Ridge Street will become a nightmare and the schools by the Hutch Exit 29 (Ridge St.) will be affected and consequently the children’s safety will become an issue. I believe the one thing everyone agrees on is that the King Street overpass of the Hutch/Merrit has more than its share of accidents. Why are we looking to add more traffic to these already poorly constructed entrance and exits?

I look forward to finding the time to complete viewing the public hearing and will continue to communicate with you.

Respectfully,

Tracy Lane

Rye Brook

 

mstrace May 02, 2013 at 07:39 PM
i ran out of space before mentioning the most important damage to our community....delayed EMS response times. one life lost in a fire or one person getting being delayed getting to the hospital is too much of a price to pay for an amusement facility. if you think these aren't real concerns, then you obviously do not live in the northern rye brook/greenwich areas. it's my understanding that less than 2 dozen children from blind brook play hockey. i don't think asking their parents to drive them to playland, like they've been doing for decades, is asking much. yes, it's closed bc of Sandy but that was unforeseen and is being remedied. though i sympathize that it is taking longer than originally stated. as for children from other communities, if their parents want a hockey rink so badly for them, contact your local leaders and let them build one where you live. i find it rude that everyone who is so thrilled to have it at this location does not live here. they will only get the benefits and not the negative consequences.
mstrace May 02, 2013 at 07:54 PM
please share these concerns with the RB BOT! they're email address is in the link to the petition mentioned below. you may also be interested in these letters which were sent to the BOT regarding your concerns: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mE44FAaM6ypYlORbMei3w5IeShloXblGpSl8qp54snk/pub https://docs.google.com/document/d/15f6poYaW2xTwO1XB_4qIyXx3VorT-Q0O4d2RlhRez78/pub petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/deny-special-permit-application-to-build-a-megarink-by-sl-green-reckson
NIMBY May 02, 2013 at 08:13 PM
Hey Dick I'm moving to Toll Brothers. Can't wait, they are building an ice rink there. When are you opening Playland up? Fill us in on whats going on there? If you are wondering who I am I was sitting next to you reading your IPAD at the meeting.
Bill Phair May 02, 2013 at 08:17 PM
mstrace I dont know how many kids in Rye Brook play hockey. Building the office building is more likely to cause delays for EMS vehicles, but they just want another entrance to the office park. What noise will you hear from inside the building? I know all the drunks milling around in the parking lot. Why is it so hard to accept that alcohol will not be allowed on site. I have gone to many rinks and most do not serve alcohol. Why would property values be reduced by this facility, if the answer is traffic then one would say a new office building will reduce property values. Economic activity actually increases values. So again I ask how does an youth athletic facility (its not an amusement park that would be Playland) damage a community?
NIMBY May 02, 2013 at 08:17 PM
Now we are really slinging mud. Dick next time hook your IPAD up to a monitor so everyone can see what your typing. I love that fantastic women who claimed to be a FAA expert. Reminds me of my grandma who was the head of NASA for a short while. The funny thing is Bill Phair is trying to have a serious conversation with you. What a waste of time that is.
mstrace May 02, 2013 at 08:22 PM
SL Green and Reckson have not given up their rights to build on the additional 140,000sf of space. they want to make this site into the new "new roc" city. you've been very successful at changing the dialog in the comments. i'm ashamed i allowed myself to be used by you and further your agenda. i quickly reread the article and it is about faulty traffic counts. not anything that spouted. is that because when truth and facts aren't on your side, you change the topic?
NIMBY May 02, 2013 at 08:22 PM
OMG: HUD housing or a Day Top Village is a much better use for the space. I am sure they will love walking around in the outdoors. Hockey players drink as much as golfers. Do they serve booze on the Doral 9? Should we worry about that. The Bellefaire Deli closed after 8 years, anyone worried about the next business person who opens there? Ever thing you all could get King Street wider and paved out of all of this. Make it safer for everyone. Tolls Brothers countdown: 6 months? Can't wait especially with the rink being built. Rink, lunch at deli, golf , drinks at the bar Doral. Who wants a pink Cosmo?
NIMBY May 02, 2013 at 08:25 PM
Like a good neighbor Reckson is there? Sounds kind of catchy doesn't it? Maybe they will use that in the next presentation. I hope they change the traffic guy. He has no personality and can't count properly. Anyone knows it is only 90 cars an hours at most for any tournament.
mstrace May 02, 2013 at 08:25 PM
NIMBY...i like you very much and was hoping for an invitation to skate at your new home but now who's slinging mud? Marcia is a well respected member of the community. she has worked tirelessly for years to minimize the impact of the airport on the surrounding communities. and bp isn't trying to have a serious conversation regarding the topic of the letter. he's trying to change the topic and that is the counts were done when 3 huge traffic contributors were closed.
NIMBY May 02, 2013 at 08:29 PM
I love this blog! It is almost 5pm lets meet at Doral for happy hour. We can hug it out. Community Description Right near the new Ice Skating rink! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Enclave at Rye Brook is located in the beautiful Village of Rye Brook, New York. This luxury community will consist of 30 townhomes and the home designs will offer a first-floor master bedroom, a well-appointed kitchen, 2 additional bedrooms, a 2-car garage, and a full basement. The Enclave at Rye Brook will provide a low-maintenance living with a great location to major highways and any convenience. Just minutes from 1-684, Merritt and Hutchison Parkways Less Than 40-minute drive to New York City Rye Brook Schools First Floor master bedrooms World Class skating facility!
Working Mom May 02, 2013 at 09:23 PM
Sorry, NIMBY, but this comes down to a simple business decision. We don’t need hugs or happy hours any more than we need assaults on the character and integrity of the people involved in submitting and reviewing the site plans. What we need is more information, so the Village trustees can weigh the facts and make the decision that is in the best economic interest of the community. Intuitively, the facts do not favor the rinks – not here and not now. The proof will become apparent when all the facts are made available to the public. Until then, let's give Toll Brothers a break and not write anything that would lower their property values or anyone else's.
mstrace May 02, 2013 at 09:41 PM
Working Mom, you're right. The Toll Bros project is a welcome addition to the community. I will delete my comment as I due hope they are successful. Their success will enhance our Village. Thank you for pointing that out!
Bill Phair May 02, 2013 at 10:06 PM
Not at all, I am hoping the traffic is figured out, I just dont see how a ice rink generates more traffic than an office building and if it does so be it. The topic is still the same how does this facility damage Rye Brook.
rick buzin May 03, 2013 at 03:03 PM
I commend all who commented here. As in all controversial issues, there is generally more hyperbole than anything else. The job of our elected officials is to separate out fact from fiction (read--opinion). I fell very comfortable that our BOT will do their "due diligence" in this case. Unfortunately, the potential positives of this project have been almost totally ignored by those who choose to speak against it. As a former Trustee of both the Village and the Blind Brook schools, I can very clearly see major financial, social and recreational advantages to this project; certainly enough to give serious consideration to approving it. However, from Day One I made it clear that traffic was truly the only significant issue arguing against the project. My gut tells me that an INDEPENDENT traffic study is the appropriate way to determine how this would impact our community. Till then, I think we are whistling in the dark...................
Dick Hubert May 05, 2013 at 08:41 PM
Rick Buzin, welcome to the dialogue. I’m not sure how up to speed you are on this entire debate. Were you at the initial RB Village hearings in December and January, and most recently, in April, on the SL Green / Reckson application? Watch the videos on the Village web site if you missed them. The meetings in January and April were jammed to overflowing with residents from Rye Brook and representatives of various Greenwich Homeowners Associations. With near gut unanimity, all were opposed...for traffic, quality of life issues, and, quite frankly, the chutzpah (may I use the word?) of the Megarink team in trying to place this massive facility (half the size of the recently announced “largest in the nation” 9 rink Megarink Kingsbridge Armory facility in the Bronx) in the midst of a residential neighborhood in a tiny residential Village off a two lane suburban road. Supporters for the most part were out of Village and out of state supporters of league hockey brought here by the Megarink backers. End Part One.
Dick Hubert May 05, 2013 at 08:43 PM
Part Two: As for the Rye Brook Board, as you know, no one on the Board lives in the lower third of the Village in the Port Chester School District, or the Northern part of the Village (and by northern, I mean North of the Hutch/King Street interchange). Their personal understanding of the impact of Megarink project on those of us who live near and along Northern King Street is problematic. Our only elected local representative who lives in the Northern part of the Village is the County Legislator for both Harrison and Rye Brook (and Port Chester), David Gelfarb. I should note that Mr. Gelfarb, as contrasted with the current members of the Rye Brook Board, won in a truly contested election. Surely you understand the significance of that as a former Blind Brook School Board member, and Rye Brook Board member, the latter as a member of the currently ruling Rye Brook Together party. By the way, Mr. Gelfarb has posted this statement on his Facebook page: “The proposed rinks would be detrimental to the quality of life of residents of Rye Brook and Greenwich. In particular, the rinks would lead to crowds that would impede the ability of emergency service workers and first-responders to perform their duties.” End Part Two.
Dick Hubert May 05, 2013 at 08:43 PM
Part Three. So yes, among other items, an independent traffic study free of Reckson/SL Green and even Village Board influence is necessary, but it is amazing that the current study on the table should have massive holes poked in it in public by a Rye Brook resident, Ms. Tracy Lane, and not by the Village’s consultants or Board members. Rick, this is a mess. A Board responsive to the wishes of its affected residents should walk away from this Megarink project immediately.
Working Mom May 07, 2013 at 11:36 PM
An independent traffic study would certainly help separate out fact from fiction. So would a separate study to see if there is really enough demand for 9 rinks in the Bronx plus 4 more in Rye Brook. But how do we get these studies done?
d donnolly May 08, 2013 at 02:48 PM
Whats amazing to me is that even though there is great concern and many people who do not want this project in our area, Reckson and their crew continue to disrespect the community and try to push it right over us. Let them take it to their community, either CT or Mass. where they are from. The negatives of this project are not singular, they are multiple, and I imagine they feel they can outlast or wear out the community resolve. I hope the community interest and displeasure does not wane or fade.
Bill Phair May 08, 2013 at 03:34 PM
Hi guys, had to get some work done... D please expand on the "The negatives of this project are not singular, they are multiple".
Dick Hubert May 08, 2013 at 03:39 PM
Warning to Patch Posters: " bill phair" is an anonymous poster from the Megarink team and should be ignored. Consider his posts as if they were malware or spam.
Bill Phair May 08, 2013 at 04:09 PM
So again Dick if you are not a Rye Brook resident you should not be posting is that accurate? Dick would you agree with Rick that a independent traffic study would be the way to go, and what ever the findings where you would accept them?
d donnolly May 08, 2013 at 07:07 PM
Traffic is one concern. Property values will decline, not just in the immediate area but all around because people do not move to Rye Brook or small villages because they want an influx of people traveling into their community at all hours of the evening and night. The "jobs" would be all mostly low paying minimal wage part time positions, so I am doubting it helps the job market. It will cripple the Playland Sustainable program, at least the rink portion of it. The facility would need to be open quite late at night on weeknights, and would need to be open almost 24 hours on weekends in order to sustain income to cover its costs. I checked around, every rink in the area, even the closely guarded and controlled Rye Country school has late night rental adult groups until 12 midnight, and they do not need to be open as its on a school campus. They talk about tournaments, and yes I have checked with the rinks in Marlboro who run them all the time. Very few teams, except the larger junior hockey teams bus in. So that means cars, cars, cars for every single event. No alcohol? People will bring it in and drink in and outside their cars, no question. Thats just a few of the negatives. People in the community want no part of this, why cant the developers see this and back off. Theres plenty of other good locations not in residential areas
d donnolly May 09, 2013 at 09:50 PM
another question, how does this project benefit our immediate community? I looked into it and our high school Blind Brook, cannot even support a high school hockey team on its own. It is supplemented by Rye Neck high school and Harrison high school. Our area unlike Rye, does not even have a youth hockey program or group, so how does it help our immediate community?
mstrace May 10, 2013 at 12:06 AM
d donnolly...would love to continue the convo off patch with you. in the interest of keeping personal emails private, please send your contact info to stoptherink@gmail.com. hope to talk to you soon!
bonkerspapa May 10, 2013 at 12:44 AM
Ms. Lane, you must have a psychic ball or maybe are just better at seeing the obvious than the Village planners and Dept of Transportation. There was an accident yesterday afternoon when it was daylight and sunny at the off ramp of the Merritt onto King St. I pulled over and watched someone be taken away on a stretcher. The amount of traffic this 2 car fender bender was creating was unbelievable. The Rye Brook officer was getting annoyed. While directing traffic he was telling the cars to keep moving and there was nothing to see yet everyone had to slow down to get onto the Merritt. I mean slow down more than usual for that spot of cars that are coming and going.
rick buzin May 18, 2013 at 12:12 PM
Matt.....don't even get me started with that intersection. It is a nightmare that our Ct. friends (who also happen to be adamantly opposed to the ice hockey rinks) have refused to help address. NY DOT informed Rye Brook that they would be on board to revamping this outdated and dangerous intersection years ago; but Conn DOT and our neighbors have been "dead-set" against it. It seems to me to be quite disingenuous of these same people to use "public safety" as a rationale for NOT building these rinks. Your experience does not surprise me in the least. Maybe we can trade off the rinks for a HUGE gain in public safety at the Merritt/ King Street exit?
Dick Hubert May 18, 2013 at 08:58 PM
Rick Buzin, if you are willing to trade the Megarinks for traffic lights and other improvements at the intersection of King Street and the Hutch, then I would urge you to communicate that to your Rye Brook Together compatriots who are sitting on the Rye Brook Board -- and be sure in the process they pass the word to First Selectman Peter Tesei in Greenwich. The Megarink people and their attorney Bill Null would probably object, but they deserve this fate after meeting secretely with Mayor Feinstein (who went public with it, thank you Ms. Feinstein!) to subvert the public approvals process (see the video of the November Rye Brook Board Meeting everyone, please!!).
momofkids June 06, 2013 at 10:54 AM
To be quite honest, the one reason I would be somewhat fine with the rink being built here, is if it assisted in significantly lowering my ridiculously high Rye Brook taxes...but of course that is not happening.
mstrace June 06, 2013 at 11:54 AM
Unfortunately our taxes are not going to be lowered so it's not as if we could justify the traffic, noise, and potential decreased property values as a ends to justify the means. As you said, it's not happening. In fact there is a good chance that the owners and operators may pay less taxes on improved and developed land than they are now for vacant undeveloped land. Gov Cuomo recently announced his intention to create Tax Free zones near SUNY campuses. This property is not only in Rye Brook but also on SUNY Purchase property. At the last hearing, a tax accountant spoke about his review of the economic impact study which Reckson provided. It was an utter fabrication and completely inflated. Could you imagine if this rink is developed and we not only have the additional negatives (namely the safety of Rye Brook residents) but the owners and operators pay no taxes but use all Rye Brook services? Our taxes will wind up increasing. This is a complete mess!

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