Featured PieceThe Northern Westchester Examiner

Public Provides First Input for Route 9A Corridor Improvements

News Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

We are part of The Trust Project
Some of the small groups of residents during the first public workshop of the state Department of Transportation’s Route 9A study that is eventually expected to improve the antiquated thoroughfare.

Enhancing safety and alleviating flooding and noise were the primary concerns of community members during a state Department of Transportation (DOT) public workshop last week on improving a key stretch of Route 9A.

The well-attended June 21 workshop at Todd Elementary School in Briarcliff Manor saw roughly 80 people from the surrounding communities of Ossining, Briarcliff and Mount Pleasant brainstorm in small groups to help the DOT pare down the list challenges facing nearby residents and motorists who use the roadway.

Starting in spring 2022, the DOT launched a $3 million study of the stretch of Route 9A from the split with Route 9 just south of the Croton-Harmon train station on the northern end to the exit ramps to the Taconic State Parkway in Mount Pleasant.

“Tonight, is really about talking about issues and needs, working together, making sure everyone’s well-represented,” said Sandra Jobson, the DOT’s regional planning and program manager who led the workshop.

Jobson said the information gleaned from the workshops will help the agency devise concepts and ideas for improvements that could modernize the road, and most importantly, make it safer.

Route 9A opened in 1932 and hasn’t changed much in the decades since then except for the installation of a center guardrail at some point. Local residents and officials have long complained how the roadway is antiquated and wasn’t designed to accommodate heavy truck traffic. In the study area, larger trucks must ride in the left lane so they can fit under the stone bridges and congestion is a problem during peak hours.

Over the last several years, Briarcliff Manor Mayor Steven Vescio has been one of the leading local advocates for the state to make improvements to Route 9A, which is also called the Peekskill-Briarcliff Parkway by the DOT. Vescio said last week he was optimistic about the process even though there hasn’t been any money earmarked yet for potential improvements.

However, he said getting the DOT to listen was an important hurdle to clear.

“I think a lot of the things that people are bringing up are very valid, are things that we’ve heard before and I think it was important that the public was given a voice, a direct voice to the state, that they can express their thoughts and have their needs addressed,” Vescio said.

Briarcliff Manor resident Jay Novin said he uses Route 9A nearly every day when going to work in White Plains. The safety issues are critical, highlighted by how one day a car careened off the parkway and into his backyard.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Novin said of the workshop where he was one of the participants. “I think there are a lot of things that have to be done to make sure that that the community, residents and all are satisfied. Listening to what the people are saying – safety, more police presence – would be a great help.”

Steve Neski, another Briarcliff Manor resident, said he was also hopeful that the community, with the help of the state and local representatives, will be able to provide the DOT with a blueprint for a safer and better functioning thoroughfare.

Striking a slightly more skeptical tone was Mount Pleasant Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi, who said he was looking forward to seeing the study completed but hoped “that I live long enough to see the road rebuilt.”

“I hope that the study is not just a feel-good thing to keep people quiet for a while because we’re talking big bucks,” Fulgenzi said.

He also hopes the area of study is expanded to include the stretch down to the Hawthorne exit of the Saw Mill Parkway. With the anticipated completion of the new 150,000-square-foot Amazon warehouse later this year, some local residents are expecting problems near that location.

In April 2022, state Sen. Peter Harckham announced with most area officials how the state legislature appropriated $3 million to study Route 9A. It took a little over a year to begin the public workshops after representatives from the towns of Ossining and Mount Pleasant, the villages of Briarcliff Manor and Ossining and Westchester County, which comprise the Transportation Partnering Committee, convened this spring.

Jobson said in the fall the committee will meet again followed by a tentatively scheduled November public workshop where stakeholders will learn of proposed concepts for the corridor. It is expected that before the end of next winter, the final scoping report will be released for the study area, she said.







We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.