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Some Critical Of Croton Point Avenue Bike Plan

CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – Residents and business owners expressed concern about a proposed $2.8 million bicycle-pedestrian safety project along Croton Point Avenue, at a public hearing Tuesday evening. Business owners said they would lose parking, and residents noted the project costs more than twice the federal grant money approved for it.

The proposal would put traffic lights at three intersections along one-fifth of a mile on Croton Point Avenue and would add 10 feet of bicycle and pedestrian lanes on each side of the road.

"My concern is that the village has elected to take away parking, critical parking," said deli owner John Perillo. Engineers told Perillo Tuesday evening that the state Department of Transportation would not approve the project with on-street parking.

Mark Franzoso, owner of Franzoso Contracting, said he was concerned that street deliveries would drive bicyclists into the streets, out of the bike lane, and that numerous curb cuts made it a dangerous road. "I'm concerned about it," he said.

About 1,700 cars travel the strip each morning and evening. Six accidents involving bikes or pedestrians have happened on Croton Point Avenue in the past three years, mostly around the on and off ramps for Route 9, the engineers said. At a cost of about $50,000 annually, a village employee directs traffic every morning and evening.

"The state put the on-ramps and off-ramps wherever it wanted to, and we've been living with the legacy of an ill-placed and, now, high-volume highway ever since," said Mayor Leo Wiegman.

In the plan, the gateway to the Croton-Harmon train station, known as Veterans Plaza, and the Route 9 South and Route 9 North on and off ramps would get traffic signals, three new signals in all. The cloverleaf shapes of the current on and off ramps would be replaced with a 90-degree turn. Widening would occur at the Route 9 South off ramp, to accommodate cars as they wait at the new traffic light. The bike lane would end at South Riverside Avenue, where bicycles would begin sharing the road with cars.

About $1.2 million of the plan's funding would come from the federal government; the rest would come from the Village of Croton, about $1.6 million, for $2.8 million altogether.

If the project stays on schedule, construction could begin in spring 2014. Design approval could take place spring 2013.

The public hearing took place during a windstorm Tuesday evening, and about 20 people attended the meeting. Trustee Greg Schmidt said he wished the meeting had been suspended.

"The weather has kept a lot of people away from this meeting," he said, adding that a form to submit written comments doesn't allow people the dialogue of a public hearing. A form can be downloaded to submit written comments to the board.

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