Safer Cherry Street

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Dear Chris Burdick, Lee Roberts, MaryAnn Carr, Kate Galligan, and Don Scott:

There are several roads in the Town of Bedford that are unnecessarily dangerous for residents, and Cherry Street is one of them. Only a block from the elementary school, Cherry is lined with single-family homes, and is one of the main walking/biking/driving routes to the school and downtown Katonah. A 2014 weeklong speed study at Cherry and Whitlockville (posted 30mph) clocked 5,623 cars at 41-45mph, 1,069 at 46-50mph, 127 at 51-55mph, 16 at 56-60mph, 2 at 61-65mph, 2 at 66-70mph, and 3 at 70+mph. A recent follow-up, presented at the January 2018 Town Board meeting, found that, despite the traffic-calming measures implemented, there has been no significant speed reduction. While the new Speed Sign data on the town website is encouraging, with a 5mph lowering of the 85 percentile measure, we do not yet know if the behavior of the most dangerous violators (500-600 cars per day traveling faster than the 85 percentile at Whitlockville) is being modified. In addition to the problem of excess speeds, stop signs on Cherry are routinely ignored, and parents waiting with children have observed cars passing school buses that have signals flashing and stop signs out. This petition supports the use of speed tables or speed cushions (which do not effect EMS or FD response times) at appropriate and strategic locations on Cherry Street—possibilities include at the town offices, at Huntville, at Croton Lake, and north of Quicks. If "Welcome to Katonah" gateway signs are approved these would also be appropriate locations, and the crosswalk at Valley Road is another possibility.  There are versions of these devices that are removable and can be implemented on either a trial basis or permanently.

If these changes make Cherry safer for town residents, likely they are appropriate for other dangerous roads. Obvious possibilities in Katonah include Huntville near the school, and Bedford Road entering Katonah from the south at KBHVAC, and from the north at the funeral home or the commuter parking lot. In Bedford Hills McLain Street, like Cherry a notorious cut-thru, has long been the scene of multiple accidents. And certainly it will be the town residents who live on these roads that understand them best and can guide you.  

Over thirty years ago forward-thinking community members dramatically improved the character (and safety and livability) of downtown Katonah by championing the 117-Bypass, and their example is a model for us now. The serious accident at Kelly and Cherry this last December was a stark reminder that the downsides of inaction (or ineffective action) are potentially catastrophic. As is succinctly articulated on the town website, the Town Board is responsible for the “health, safety, and welfare” of residents. We trust you will do everything in your capacity to make our town as safe as possible.


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