The Northern Westchester Examiner

DOT Agrees to Make Safety Upgrades on Bear Mtn Pkwy

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Intersection of Bear Mountain Parkway and Locust Avenue in Cortlandt where several fatal accidents have taken place.
Intersection of Bear Mountain Parkway and Locust Avenue in Cortlandt where several fatal accidents have taken place.

After years of pleading by Cortlandt officials, the state Department of Transportation has agreed to make several safety improvements on the Bear Mountain Parkway between Highland Avenue in Peekskill and Route 202 in Cortlandt.

The estimated $3 million project announced by DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald last week, which is expected to start this summer and be completed in spring 2014, will include installing centerline median barriers from Division Street to Locust Avenue and adding turning lanes.

“Safety is a top priority for NYSDOT and after hearing community concerns about the Bear Mountain Parkway, we are taking quick action to implement engineering solutions that will help slow traffic down, protect walkers and prevent dangerous crossover accidents so that both motorists and pedestrians can use the highway more safely,” McDonald said.

For about 15 years, the Cortlandt Town Board has been requesting changes to the roadway which carries between 15,000 and 20,000 vehicles daily and has featured many accidents and fatalities. Last July, town officials stepped up efforts by sending petitions with 1,500 signatures to the DOT after a fatal accident near Locust Avenue.

“We’ve certainly been in dire need of these improvements. We’re pleased that finally they’ve heard us,” Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi remarked.”We can’t bring back the lives that we lost but it will save lives in the future. It’s a victory for the community.”

Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster was equally appreciative of the DOT recognizing the immediate attention required on the Bear Mountain Parkway. DOT officials had balked at committing to improvements in the past, citing budget constraints.

“We realize that budgets are tight for all state agencies and thank Commissioner McDonald for prioritizing these public safety improvements,” Foster said.

Besides the construction of the median rail, left turn lanes and a new traffic signal will be installed at the intersections with Frost Lane and Carhart Avenue. Pedestrian enhancements at the intersection will involve crosswalks, signal indicators and a sidewalk on Carhart Avenue. Turn lanes will be provided for left turning vehicles at Bear Mountain Lane, Locust Avenue, Brookside Avenue and Arlo Lane. In addition, an auxiliary lane to accommodate traffic climbing the hill eastbound from Division Street will continue 1,200 feet beyond the Frost Lane/Carhart Avenue intersection.

Two informational public meetings will be held the last week of February. DOT representatives will be in Peekskill at The Neighborhood Center on Wednesday, February 27 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and at Cortlandt Town Hall on Thursday, February 28 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

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