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.