By Stephen E. Lipken
Michael A. Beattie, Professional Engineer (P.E.); Professional Traffic Operations Engineer (PTOE) and Vice President, Allee King Rosen and Fleming (AKRF) presented plans for a “Complete Streets Program” at the Tuesday, May 16 New Rochelle City Council Regular Legislative Meeting (RLM).
Beattie recalled that City Council passed Resolution 42 in 2012, “A Sustainable Complete Streets policy as defined by Smart Growth America. Complete Streets recognizes that our street system should serve everyone and provide safe access for all users, including pedestrian, bicycles, motorists, transit riders of all ages and abilities including those lesser abled,” plus connecting Residential, Downtown and Waterfront Areas.
Defining North Avenue as “spine of the City,” Beattie advocated mixed-use East-West development along the Transit Corridor, generating pedestrian and transit activity, including opening up the Burling Lane pedestrian bridge, possibly removing parking, substituting two bike lanes.
Phase 1: Roadway Identification; Phase 2 Conceptual Designs: Anderson Street; Eastchester Road; Lincoln Avenue; North Avenue; Pinebrook Boulevard and Quaker Ridge Road.
Concepts outlined included narrowing North Avenue to two lanes with a midblock pedestrian refuge; bike lanes and 7 foot-wide sidewalks along Quaker Ridge Road with one consolidated exit for Pinebrook Boulevard; a $3.5 million Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant was received for Quaker Ridge Road.
Mayor Noam Bramson expressed some skepticism regarding narrowing North Avenue to two lanes. Beattie replied that lower speeds would get people to look at businesses and promote pedestrian safety.
Discussion continued whether to move City Hall Downtown. “I remember when City Hall was Downtown,” Councilman Albert Tarantino noted. “It became a catalyst…We should be looking at the possibility of moving City Hall Downtown as a starter for office space development...If our building was refitted as a school, the State would reimburse them 50%.”
“The biggest problem is lack of daytime population for retail…A couple hundred more people on the street would be beneficial to restaurants and…businesses. The School District is going to have to expand to accommodate increased population,” Councilman Ivar Hyden observed.
Bramson recommended talking to the School District “sooner rather than later.”