By Ed Perratore
Diamond Properties’ plan for ShopRite to move to 333 N. Bedford Rd. in Mount Kisco received a boost last week after the village’s traffic consultant largely concurred with the results of the applicant’s traffic study.
Plans call for the supermarket to move from Bedford Hills to a 85,652-square-foot space at The Park, the sprawling 38-acre site that also hosts the entertainment complex Grand Prix New York, the fitness center Saw Mill Club East and other businesses.
A major part of the plan is to align the driveways to and from the complex with roads on the other side of North Bedford Road, making accurate traffic projections critical.
If anything, the applicant’s traffic study erred on the conservative side when it doubled the traffic ShopRite generates by counting it in both its current and future locations, said George Jacquemart, a principal for the Manhattan-based BFJ Planning.
“The applicant’s traffic report made a series of worst-case assumptions that accumulated, one assumption on top of the other, and we agreed that their results were worse than they probably would be,” he reported at last week’s continuation of a public hearing before the Mount Kisco Planning Board. “So we sat together and came up with some more reasonable but still worst-case assumptions.”
Traffic levels of service are graded qualitatively from A, which represents unimpeded flow at the posted speed limit, to F, a near-constant traffic jam with vehicles moving only as those in front do. Jacquemart’s review concluded that even at Route 117’s worst intersection, Bedford Road and Green Lane, the service level qualifies as a C, which is nearly free-flowing.
The worst service level for northbound drivers turning left onto Green Lane is a D (approaching unstable flow, with increased driver anxiety). However, the anticipated scenario does not drop to the worst scores of E or F.
Drivers traveling past 333 N. Bedford Rd. should have easier travel even before the new supermarket opens, since the plan calls for road improvements to be completed first.
“There are two improvements that are proposed,” Jacquemart said. “One is to signalize those two intersections and upgrade them to much more high-performance intersections. The other is to introduce signal coordination. Those two combined will improve conditions in that segment of (Route) 117.”
Furthermore, the Bedford Road-Green Lane intersection will be fitted with a communication device that transmits data on traffic conditions to the state Department of Transportation (DOT), so it can remotely tweak signal timing as needed.
Jacquemart also validated the applicant’s assessment of parking. Plans call for 872 spaces for the main site, excluding The Park’s adjacent properties at 309 and 383 N. Bedford Rd. It was concluded that parking occupancy during the peak periods on Fridays and Saturdays would be 85 percent of the complex’s 872 spaces once ShopRite opens.
However, Jacquemart recommended that once the new ShopRite is operational, parking should be monitored to ensure it doesn’t veer uncomfortably close to full capacity.
Project engineer Stephen Spina of Armonk-based John Meyer Consulting appealed to the Planning Board to conclude the process.
“We’re hoping to get the public hearing closed and receive a positive recommendation to move to the zoning board, as well as the SEQRA determination,” Spina said. “We’re hoping we’re at that point.”
The state Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process requires the approving governmental body to identify the significant environmental impacts of a project and to mitigate those impacts.
The village appears ready to draw up the necessary papers to complete the SEQRA determination, among other permitting, and refer the applicant to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
But two potential obstacles could slow the process. First, the Bedford Planning Board must also sign off on the plan since a small portion of 333 N. Bedford Rd. lies in Bedford. Spina said representatives for Diamond Properties have heard nothing from Bedford, despite regular attempts to contact them.
The other potential obstacle is that the DOT must also sign off on the plan since Route 117 is a state road.
“We need to meet with them because they don’t fully understand the context of the project and its related properties,” said Spina. “They don’t understand the topography of the site, how the adjacent properties of 389 and 383 (N. Bedford Rd.) interact with one another, which buildings behind those properties need access to get in or out. With a meeting, we think we can eliminate a lot of their concerns.”
The Mount Kisco Planning Board is expected to grant its approval provided Bedford and the DOT each give the go-ahead. Short of that, last week’s hearing was adjourned and kept open.