Report on walking audit of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow

On the evening of Friday, September 24, seven members of Livable Tarrytowns got together and took an enjoyable walk, making stops along the way. We began at Neperan Park in Tarrytown and headed to lower Beekman Avenue in Sleepy Hollow. After socializing outside the home of two supporters, a few of us continued down Cortlandt to the Sleepy Hollow-Tarrytown border at Wildey Street. Throughout, we looked at and discussed particular sites and how to improve our thoroughfares, especially in terms of pedestrian and bike safety.

Below are photos (taken a few days later) of places where we stopped. We also share observations and suggestions for improving matters.

We intend to do more walking audits in the future with the goal of identifying other areas in need of improvement and generating constructive suggestions for change. With new people with fresh ideas on the boards of trustees in both villages and a new incoming mayor in Tarrytown, this is a great time to work for the enhancement of our public spaces.

An entrance to Neperan Park is just beyond the photo’s left edge. Because of this entrance and the curb cut on the upper right hand side of the photo (Altamont Avenue and Neperan Road), it would seem like this would be an obvious place for pedestrians to cross the road (as many do). But there is no crosswalk and no infrastructure to slow down motor vehicles. This is an accident waiting to happen.
On the right hand edge of the photo is another entrance to the park–a little further down the hill from the photo above. Because of Grove Street just across Neperan Road, there should be a crosswalk here as well. The nearest one is at Neperan and Broadway.
This is the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, looking southward across Neperan Road. The curb cuts indicate a place for walkers and cyclists to cross. But, once again, there’s no crosswalk. And the fact that that cars are allowed to park close to the edge of the curb cut shown on the bottom reduces the visibility of those crossing the road.
Crossing Broadway at crosswalks such as this one (at Central Avenue) is challenging and. at times, scary as drivers often cut off pedestrians when they are in the crosswalk. It is especially hazardous at night as the crosswalks are poorly illuminated. We call upon the Village of Tarrytown to add lighting so that the crosswalks are highly visible.
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These crosswalks would also benefit from curb extensions to reduce the distance pedestrians have to cross and to serve as a traffic calming measure. An interim measure would to be to install flexible posts or bollards (such as those on Pocantico Avenue across from the Morse School in Sleepy Hollow) a few feet from the curb (at a distance equal to the width of a typical car)..
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This is the North Washington Street entrance to Patriots Park. The wide entrances here and on Broadway along with the asphalted road within effectively invite drivers to use the park as a shortcut. And some do. The Village of Tarrytown should immediately install infrastructure to prevent vehicles from entering the park without authorization. The Village should also replace the asphalted road inside the park with crushed stone (similar to the carriage roads in Rockefeller State Park). This would still allow people to bike in the park while helping to cool the space in the summer.
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Along North Washington, particularly in the area of Patriots Park, many drivers partially park their vehicles on the sidewalk. This problem is especially pronounced on the far side of North Washington shown in this photo. This results in the degrading of the grassy strip between the road and the hard-surfaced sidewalk.
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Other than Broadway, Washington Street is the principal north-south thoroughfare between Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown. It has the added advantage of (more of less) connecting all the schools in the district shared by the two villages . We discussed a plan to turn Washington Street into a bike and pedestrian boulevard, one that would still allow access to motor vehicles while slowing down and markedly reducing traffic. We will share our ideas on this front in a future blog post.
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This crosswalk, which connects the beginning of a brief leg of Valley Street to North Washington, is dangerous for two reasons: 1) vehicles come around a slight corner, limiting their ability to see the crosswalk and anyone in it; and, relatedly, 2) vehicles parked along Washington reduce the visibility of pedestrians. In the short-term, Sleepy Hollow should eliminate the immediately adjacent parking spot and install flexible posts. Longer term, consideration should be given to eliminating this stretch of Valley Street (vehicles would still be able to access Valley Street by taking a right at the traffic signal at North Washington and Chestnut Street, about 150 feet away) and enlarging the mini park. Another option is to install a roundabout connecting N. Washington, Valley, and Chestnut, and reconfigure the “square” within and eliminate differences in terms of elevation between the sidewalk and drive lanes. Bollards and street trees would delineate pedestrian areas. The park would become more active and larger. The installation of a brick surface would give the impression of central square or plaza.
Along Beekman Avenue, crosswalks such as this (and especially this one since it is across from a school) would similarly benefit from “bump outs” (see our previous post) to enhance pedestrian safety and slow down traffic. According to a member of Sleepy Hollow’s Board of Trustees, the Village will soon undertake street safety and place-making efforts along the full length of Beekman Avenue. Further down Beekman, Sleepy Hollow has allowed Hudson Anchor to create an outdoor dining bumpout (which occupies what were two parking spaces). Sleepy Hollow is also conducting a “road diet” study along its stretch of Route 9.
The Village of Sleepy Hollow recently turned this offshoot of Cortlandt Street (at Beekman) into a small park with seating, greatly enhancing the area aesthetically and in terms of pedestrian safety. Reportedly, the Village will make the park permanent! It it this type of creative thinking that is needed at Valley and North Washington (see above), among other locations in the two villages.
Parked vehicles frequently block this stretch of Wildey Street (between the Metro North tracks and Cortlandt) and the sidewalk in front of Stiloski’s. This prevents pedestrians from accessing the crosswalk (greatly in need of paint, it is barely visible between the two vehicles) connecting lower Wildey Street with the sidewalk on the h-bridge. We have brought this problem to the attention of Tarrytown officials.

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