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Traffic Studies, Call Data Used For Katonah Group Home Review

Bedford Police Lt. Jeffrey Dickan speaks at the Town Board's Sept. 29 meeting regarding the proposed Katonah group home.
Bedford Police Lt. Jeffrey Dickan speaks at the Town Board's Sept. 29 meeting regarding the proposed Katonah group home. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

(This is Daily Voice's third article regarding the Town Board's vote. For previous coverage, click here.)

BEDFORD HILLS, N.Y. -- Before the Bedford Town Board consented to assurances from the provider of a proposed Katonah group home, data from emergency calls and traffic studies were submitted for the review.

The first traffic study, which was done on behalf of Cardinal McCloskey Community Services (CMCS) by Alder Consulting, was dated Sept. 18. Projects that there would be one arriving traffic trip and two departing trips during a morning peak hour, while two arrival trips and two departure trips during a peak afternoon hour.

The proposal involves reusing a home at 4 Old Mill Lane for four developmentally disabled adults. Neighbors have voiced concerns about traffic safety due to the site’s proximity to a forked intersection with Old Mill and Whitlockville, along with the steep slope by the home. Prior to the board’s vote on Monday, Sept. 29, several speakers called the area a “choke point.” Some were concerned about the area, which serves as the only access road for the immediate neighborhood, being blocked off due to emergency calls for the group home.

The town commissioned its own traffic study, which is Sept. 29 and came from the engineering firm VHB. Its study shows that the current single-family usage of the house generates a single peak morning trip and two peak afternoon trips. However, it projects that the group home would generate up to three peak morning trips and as many as three peak afternoon trips. In the case of the afternoon volume, it is lower than Alder’s estimate.

VHB concluded that the trip increases would be for as many as two trips per hour, and determined that it “would not have noticeable effects on driver delays, emergency response times, or vehicular safety on Old Mill Lane in the area of the site.”

Police call data from existing group homes in town were compiled. The data go back to 2008. The frequent calls include “Aided Case” for a home at 116 Chestnut Ridge Road and for one at 71 Greenville Road 0 they were 47 and 24, respectively – along with 51 Missing Person reports for one at 200 Old Post Road.

Police Lt. Jeffrey Dickan, who discussed the data, likened the missing reports to being AWOL – the children had to return home at a certain time – rather than to someone missing.

Call data was collected from Bedford’s fire departments. The data show that automatic alarm calls were the most frequent. Jeffrey Osterman explained that there was an average of two calls annually for two Bedford Village group homes, and about seven for a Katonah home, with a smoke detector or kitchen fire being responsible for the latter.

Osterman did not see a pattern among the homes, and attributed factors to the population and how a home is operated.

Supervisor Chris Burdick wondered whether VHB was aware of the area’s choke-point nature.

“They’re well aware of it,” Osterman said. He also noted that winter conditions were described.

Burdick also asked about fire department apparatus preventing an ambulance getting in or out. Osterman recalled speaking with four Katonah Fire Department members and said that it did not appear to be an issue.

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