The Examiner

Mt. Pleasant Traffic, Safety Concerns Remains High After Two Crashes

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A stretch of Bradhurst Avenue which was the site of one of two head-on collisions last month, which has raised the concern of two nearby residents. Martin Wilbur photo

Two serious accidents last month on highly traveled roads in Mount Pleasant has renewed a couple of outspoken residents’ focus on traffic volume and how development-related decisions by officials is impacting travel in town.

A pair of head-on collisions on consecutive weekends, the first on Bradhurst Avenue on Mar. 18 and the second on Grasslands Road on Mar. 26, may have been unrelated incidents, but that hasn’t stopped Valhalla resident Glenn Accocella from continuing to appeal to the town to take steps to make the area’s roads safer.

“They just keep passing stuff, not contemplating what they’re going to do with the traffic on the roads,” said Accocella, a Bradhurst Avenue resident near Blythedale Children’s Hospital and not far from Westchester Medical Center.

Speed did not appear to be a factor in the Mar. 18 accident on Bradhurst Avenue, said Mount Pleasant Police Chief Paul Oliva, as one of the drivers of the two cars was unlicensed. The other driver had to be extricated from the vehicle and suffered two broken femurs.

Despite that incident, Oliva said Bradhurst Avenue is not a high-accident route.

“We do not have an extensive history of accidents at that location,” Oliva said. “To my knowledge, there have not been any accidents at that location in the last five years.”

Eight days later on Grasslands Road not far from the entrance to Westchester Community College and where the new Brightview Senior Living facility will be located, police said a vehicle traveling eastbound crossed into the oncoming lane. An investigation later determined that the eastbound driver turned improperly and failed to yield to the right of way while making a U-turn over a double yellow line.

However, another Valhalla resident, Sean Quigley, said the traffic continues to be “horrendous,” particularly west of the Metro-North tracks where much of the commercial development has been approved during the past decade.

With additional approved projects not even on line yet, traffic and safety nightmares will continue to grow, he said.

“The abysmal traffic situation is real and will only get worse with North 60, Amazon warehouse, Brightview Senior Living, (the) new daycare center on Legion Drive and I am sure others in the pipeline,” Quigley said.

Other residents have also been concerned not only about what is going on in Valhalla where the three million-square-foot North 60 project is under review and Brightview has yet to be built, but on Route 9A near the Amazon warehouse that is under construction. Residents of Belmont Road and Pythian Avenue want the town to halt cut-through traffic on Belmont between Route 9A and Bradhurst except for local traffic and deliveries.

Town Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi said that he has sought a meeting with the state Department of Transportation (DOT) not only for Bradhurst but also Route 9A. Those are state roads and the town is at the mercy of the DOT regarding improvements.

“(Route) 9A is in desperate need of some upgrades in that road,” Fulgenzi said. “Nothing has really been done between Elmsford and Briarcliff Manor. They need a lot of work. They (the state) know. They’ve heard from us, they’ve heard from Briarcliff, they’ve heard from the Village of Pleasantville. Now it’s a matter of sitting down and saying let’s do it before something serious happens.”

He said a requirement of North 60 developer Fareri Associates will require an east-west connecting road to eliminate traffic using neighborhood streets.

Accocella said closing roads would make the situation worst. Previously, Accocella successfully petitioned the state to get the Bradhurst Avenue speed limit lowered from 40 to 30 miles per hour. He is calling for the state to allow for commercial traffic to be allowed on the Sprain Brook Parkway in the area of I-287 to alleviate the volume on Mount Pleasant’s roads.

There are instances when he has trouble getting into and out of his driveway.

“I don’t want to see any closing roads; I want to see improving roadways, safer roadways, more enforcement of speed on the roadways,” Accocella said. “The more people you bring into the area, the more traffic’s there’s going to be.”

Fulgenzi said Mount Pleasant being at the crossroads of everything is both a blessing and a curse.

“We have mass transportation plus the railroad,” he said. “Plus, we have all the parkways that come through the town in Mount Pleasant, and everyone wants to come through this area to go where they have to go.”

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