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Safety Worries Escalate for Pville’s Saw Mill, Grant Street Crossing

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The intersection at the Saw Mill Parkway and Grant Street where nearby residents have brought the dangers posed to drivers and pedestrians to the attention of Pleasantville officials.

The Village of Pleasantville is known for being a walking village where residents and visitors are encouraged to get around on foot.

But walking across the Saw Mill River Parkway at Grant Street has become increasingly more perilous.

A recent outcry from residents demanded that measures be taken to make crossing the parkway safer and to control traffic on nearby streets, including Pleasant Avenue and Sarles Lane, where drivers barrel down at high speeds to access the parkway.

A few weeks ago, about 50 concerned residents living near the parkway met to address safety issues with Mayor Peter Scherer, Village Administrator Eric Morrissey, Police Chief Erik Grutzner and Anthony Carr, superintendent of public works.

Their concerns were again raised at the June 26 Village Board work session by resident Yemi Pickard who asked how the village could help to slow down speeding drivers who not only run red lights but also make illegal turns, causing frequent accidents.

“We want the village to be involved,” said Pickard, a Pleasant Avenue resident. “Could the village help with signage or repaint the crosswalk?”

Numerous accidents are caused by southbound drivers on the Saw Mill Parkway who slow down to make an illegal turn onto Grant Street, where they get rear-ended or cause high-speed collisions. Turns from the parkway onto Grant Street are prohibited.

Pickard claimed that commuters speed down Pleasant Avenue to avoid traffic on Sarles Lane, endangering pedestrians attempting to cross those streets.

Scherer said the village has jurisdiction over its local roads regarding speed.

“We might be able to change the signs to slow people on the right turn from the parkway onto Grant at the light,” Scherer said.

Kieran O’Leary, a spokesman for the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, said the Saw Mill Parkway is maintained by the state Department of Transportation (DOT), but the county polices the parkway and flags accidents. Any changes made to the road or the traffic signal would have to be approved and executed by the DOT, he said.

Accident statistics for that intersection are tracked by the county police, but can only be obtained through a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request, The Examiner was told.

Last February a person crossing the parkway in the evening was hit by a speeding vehicle whose driver allegedly ran a red light. The live-stream video of the accident along with multiple traffic violations have been posted online by Pleasantville resident Tim Mattison, who lives in the same neighborhood as Pickard.

Mattison has posted about 12 accidents or violations just for the month of June and about a dozen other videos dating back to September 2021, many showing cars running traffic lights, even seven or eight seconds after the light turns red.

A pedestrian crosswalk over the parkway would be an ideal solution, it was suggested, but Scherer said it was doubtful a project of that magnitude could happen.

“The state stipulates a crosswalk be 17 feet high with a cage over it. It would cost many millions of dollars and there is zero chance of that happening with the DOT,” Scherer said.

Other ideas discussed at the work session included installing rumble strips on the parkway to alert drivers that they’re approaching traffic lights and having the red light on in all directions for an extended period of time to allow pedestrians to cross.

Installing speed bumps on local streets and having a police car stationed near the intersection for longer periods of time were also discussed.

Scherer said the Pleasantville DPW will be evaluating what is within the village’s purview to make the streets safer.

Grutzner said the police department is very much aware of residents’ concerns about the Saw Mill crossing.

“We are increasing enforcement for all manner of traffic violations at that intersection and will continue to work with our partner, the Westchester County public safety department, who is very responsive and takes enforcement at that location very seriously.”

Pickard said the issue is of high importance because about 25 families in her neighborhood have young children.

“Within the next year there will be at least 50 kids walking to school from here,” Pickard said. “Right now, many kids commute on foot to Tutor Time Day Care on Bedford Road. Some parents have chosen to drive because it’s too dangerous to walk.”


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