The Examiner

New Castle Gives Whole Foods Green Light to Open

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The new Whole Foods at Chappaqua Crossing will open Saturday morning at 9 a.m.

Whole Foods at Chappaqua Crossing will open Saturday morning after the town and planning boards each approved late this week a temporary traffic plan near the site.

New Castle Building Inspector Bill Maskiell was expected to issue a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy in time for the brand new 40,000-square-foot supermarket to open to customers at 9 a.m. following the Planning Board’s Friday afternoon vote on the Maintenance and Protection of Traffic plan (MPT). On Thursday afternoon, the Town Board unanimously approved the plan.

“We’ve been working towards this goal for 15 years so we’ve got 15 years of relief,” said Felix Charney, CEO and president of developer Summit/Greenfield.

Whole Foods had been expected to open on Wednesday but lingering concerns about traffic and pedestrian safety in the vicinity of the Roaring Brook Road and Route 117 intersection on the part of both boards to force Whole Foods to postpone the opening.  

However, during a Tuesday night work session, municipal officials, along with the town’s traffic consultant Lou Luglio, agreed that if a series of steps were taken the store could open this weekend.

Supervisor Robert Greenstein welcomed Whole Foods to the community.

“Both boards have been laser focused on safety,” said Greenstein. “Together we have prepared an MPT plan that will make the intersection safer; safer now for both drivers and pedestrians and safer in the future when permanent measures that we are mandating are implemented.”

Upon Luglio’s recommendation, the temporary left turn lane from northbound Route 117 onto Roaring Brook Road was eliminated because it would only accommodate up to three vehicles at a time as opposed to six or seven cares in a permanent lane. 

Other conditions required Summit/Greenfield to add a barrier between the edge of the road on the northbound side of Route 117 and a pedestrian path; adding “don’t block the box” on the roadway at the campus’s Route 117 entrance and at the nearby intersections with Annandale Road and Cowdin Lane; and to place traffic barrels around the utility pole that will remain for now at the corner of southbound Route 117 and Roaring Brook Road.

There will also be no right on red for the right turn lane onto Roaring Brook during the temporary plan. 

Summit/Greenfield was also obligated to install temporary signal heads with push buttons to allow pedestrians to cross Route 117 at the Roaring Brook Road intersection. However, the state Department of Transportation (DOT) did not agree to holding traffic in all directions while pedestrians crossed. Instead, the pedestrian walk signal will coincide with the green light for Roaring Brook Road traffic onto Route 117.

New Castle police will provide three officers, at Summit/Greenfield’s expense, to direct traffic at the site from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. Officers will remain until at least through Jan. 20, when officials will meet to be re-evaluated.

Extra lighting to illuminate the intersection to enhance pedestrian safety has been brought in.

Video message boards to alert have also been brought in and 25 mile per hour speed restriction signs were to be posted through the construction zone.

New Castle Police Lt. James Carroll said he was out at the site on Wednesday and Thursday and the traffic was moving through the area without incident as Summit/Greenfield was installing the improvements.

“Overall, it performed well,” Carroll said. “Traffic flowed north and southbound. There were a couple of occasions on the northbound (side of Route 117) there were a lot of northbound left turns that took more than once cycle to get through the light.”

Greenstein said volume will increase whenever Whole Foods would open.

“There’s going to be traffic no matter what whenever they open and there’s going to be traffic for a couple of weeks and that’s regardless of whether the road improvements are completed or not,” Greenstein said.

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