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Home Government Pedestrian Safety Marathon, Tonight (February 9, 2010) 6:30pm - AGENDA

Pedestrian Safety Marathon, Tonight (February 9, 2010) 6:30pm – AGENDA

UPDATE: Rye TV is not broadcasting live. MyRye.com is tweeting the meeting live on our Twitter account.

[Note the revised time. The original BOE start time was 6:00pm and it was re-scheduled to 6:30pm]

RCSD Board of Ed and the Rye City Council will hold a joint meeting on pedestrian and traffic safety issues tonight in the Rye Middle School Multi-Purpose Room (3 Parsons Street). The joint meeting begins at 8:00pm. The Board of Education meeting will be held just prior at 6:30pm at the same location.

"Pedestrian safety has been an issue of public concern for many years, and while the Safe Routes to School programs have had positive effect, we need to continually consider new perspectives as they arise.  This joint meeting will facilitate collaboration between the City and the District on this topic, as together we receive input from residents," said Board of Education President, Josh Nathan.

Here is the agenda for the 8:00pm joint meeting:

8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.


I. Pledge to the Flag

II. Welcome and Introductions – Board President: Joshua Nathan

III. Comments from Mayor Douglas French

IV. Focus of the Meeting:  Joshua Nathan

V. Safe Routes to School Presentation – Helen Gates

VI. Presentation by City of Rye Staff on School Pedestrian and Traffic Concerns

A. Osborn School [25 minutes]

1. Sonn Drive – Modified Sidewalk with Road Diet or Modified Diet with Signal and pedestrian crossing.

2. Osborn Road – Parking and congestion

Questions/Discussion – City Council Members and Board of Education Members

Public Comment

Next Steps

B. Midland School [25 minutes]

1. North Playground Crosswalk – Drainage Issues, tree removal, elimination of drop-off and pick-up.

2. South Playground Crosswalk

3. Eve Lane easement and Community Synagogue access

4. Pedestrians walking on Forest Avenue

Questions/Discussion – City Council Members and Board of Education Members

Public Comment

Next Steps

C. Milton School [25 minutes]

1. Hewlett and Forest Crosswalks

2. Fairway

3. Signage improvement

Questions/Discussion – City Council Members and Board of Education Members

Public Comment

Next Steps

D. Rye Middle School and High School [25 minutes]

1. Milton- Apawamis crossing

2. Employee/ Student parking as enrollment grows

E. Resurrection School Issues

1. Failure to stop for school buses

2. Parking on Milton Road

Questions/Discussion – City Council Members and Board of Education Members

Next Steps

VII. Closing Comments from Mayor French and Board President Nathan

In just the last week, Rye Police Commissioner William Connors struck a boy with his car, Board of Ed member Bob Zahm demanded Rye City put traffic enforcement stats on its web site and explain the enforcement drop off from recent years and former Board of Ed President Steve Feeney (AKA the OG) dismissed busing as a safety cure-all.

It has been a busy week and tonight promises to be a robust discussion.

What do you think should happen to advance pedestrian safety in Rye? Leave a comment below.


  1. I don’t know if there are any real answers. I was one of the witnesses on Milton Avenue when the child on the bike got clipped by the car. It clearly was the child’s fault. By the grace of God he is OK. The driver still has to deal with the fact he hit a pedestrian. Clearly I think there should be a re-education of traffic safety for children and adults. It should start at home. Don’t jay walk, wait for green lights etc. They should always cross where there is a crossing guard and even for the Osborn parents – it means the child should walk the extra 50 steps to where there is a crossing guard. When my child was a student at Osborn many years ago, they tried desperately to get parents to volunteer to be crossing guards. That idea was a bust. No one wants to be a crossing guard. It is dangerous out there to be a pedestrian but it is equally dangerous to be a driver. I think having sign posts like they have in Harrison for crosswalks is a start. Most drivers have no idea what to do in crosswalks and pedestrians think they don’t have to look they could just cross.None of the recent accidents involving children were because of the speed of the cars. It was because the children were being children and unfortunately, that isn’t a good enough reason to blame the drivers. Should be an interesting meeting tonight!

  2. Honest Citizen,
    A little confused by your post…
    Milton Ave.? Surely you mean Milton Rd.?
    Are you referring to the incident @ the intersection of Playland Prkwy?
    I have to disagree with you on a couple of things…You say; “Most drivers have no idea what to do in crosswalks and pedestrians think they don’t have to look they could just cross”.
    I believe it is just the opposite, there are signs all over in every town across NYS that inform drivers that Pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks, we all travel outside of Rye, Most people KNOW THE LAW but would rather be selfish at the costs of others to save a few precious second of their day!
    As for people stepping into crosswalks without looking, this happens far less than your opinion of “most”, if not there would be many more incidents!
    I do agree with the assessment that their needs to be more education. NO DOUBT!
    This needs to be done across the board but should not be taken as the only solution to the problem!
    Drivers, Parents,Children,Teachers,Police,etc.etc.!!!
    Crossing Guards….Major Problem Here!! In my opinion, the reason most parents do not want to volunteer is because they feel they shouldn’t have to with the taxes they pay and that they just can’t be bothered(selfish)!!!
    Thank God speed did not play a part in any of the accidents, when not if, it does what then???

  3. Honest Citizen,
    I guess we can agree to disagree!

    I don’t buy it!
    There are signs posted all over NYS that clearly send the message…”NYS LAW, YOU MUST YIELD TO PEDESTRIAN IN CROSSWALK”

    I find it HIGHLY DOUBTFUL that drivers do not know of this law!

    My opinion, drivers know exactly what to do, it is about time they do so!!!

    I’m not saying that the pedestrian shouldn’t use some common sense when using the crosswalks, but clearly the PEDESTRIAN has the right over the driver…NYS LAW!

    Tonights meeting will be interesting to say the least!

    Will you be attending?

  4. Couple solutions. We can put a stop sign on Midland and call it a day. We can paint crosswalks on the pavement to stop 2 ton cars. We could bus our kids to school and not have to worry about white lines, stop signs, blind spots, parked cars, dangerous drop-off and pick-up SNAFU’s, kids decisions,etc. My take is there are many people in this town in over their heads. Mayor French was too busy securing funding for a new field instead of working on securing funding to keep our children safe.

  5. Just looking at the agenda for the meeting should tell the people of this town how complicated piece mailing a solution together will be compared to a comprehensive solution like busing. And if truth be known, that agenda is only scratching the surface of ALL the dangerous scenarios our kids face everyday.

  6. Indeed, pedestrian safety is a complicated issue. Anyone expecting to hear/find/see The Solution tonight is, at best, naïve.
    The safety of our children when enroute to/from school or when walking to any other destination is just part of the problem. There’s also the risk run by all other users of our sidewalks and byways; walkers, strollers, joggers, skateboarders, bicyclists, etc. We all need to be realistic about what is technically (or financially) feasible versus what is right.
    Being honest with ourselves, we will NEVER remove all risk. Just aint gonna happen. We should be trying to take the biggest risks out of the picture. That means following the Safe Routes mantra of Education, Enforcement, and Engineering. I place engineering last because it is most expensive and typically takes the longest lead time. I put education first because as long as we have adults misleading by their behavior, we’ll have future adults (aka children) doing the same; e.g., putting themselves and others at risk.
    I insist (not demand) that the current enforcement stats be publicly posted because they are a trigger and measure of what’s happening. Personally, I prefer to see our safety focus on enforcement-related statistics rather than on actual accidents and injuries.

  7. I commend av citizen for stating the obvious– suggesting that part of the solution resides with guidance offered at home. True in this and so many other matters.

    Also agree with Mr. Zahm that ped safety is a “complicated issue” (an understatement, it seems) and that the risk will never be fully removed.

    But I’m actually just jumping into this whole thing to say that I suspect that tonight’s big meeting should be interesting– and in particular will tell us much about our new council people. Let me explain…

    I hadn’t followed local government stuff too closely, even though I’ve been here all my life (sue me, I’m a single mother with other stuff on my mind!). But I bought into the whole “12 years is a long time” bit, and voted for the challengers’ ticket across the board (good luck to you all!). So since then, I’ve been paying closer attention.

    And I can’t yet tell if the new crew is actually ready to lead, and make the tough, dispassionate decisions that public office often requires… or whether they’re still campaigning. And frankly I’m getting concerned that the latter might be the case.

    (The way some of them have jumped into this nonsense about Rye Town Park parking?!!! Since some relatively new neighbor has decided that parking practices that have been in place since the park’s inception are unacceptable to their sensibilities? And further, they take the low road of saying that it’s about safety as opposed to their front-yard aesthetics? Getting anywhere near this “issue” was just not good judgment by people I voted for… but I digress).

    This meeting should tell us (or me, at least) much about the new Council people. They’ve just had what sounded to me like well-rendered, expert opinion on this whole midland/palisades stop sign thing– which indicated that placing a stop sign there would a) possibly worsen the safety situation there, and b) would jeopardize big bucks coming from the fed government (instead of our pockets!)– and somehow this whole stop sign issue is still alive?

    I mean, I don’t envy any of the council people, or the activists that are petitioning them, but where does this stop?

    The new group presumably benefited from the support of Mr. Amico (as well as his antagonism towards the previous council), so maybe they feel like they owe him? Maybe they haven’t yet learned, or don’t have it in them, to stand up to a squeaky wheel? I guess we’ll see. The situation near Osborn is in more need of attention anyway– at least the immediate school area.

    The whole recent push to foster more walking to school was and remains the best overall tactic to improve things. And it doesn’t help when various aggrieved adults counter that thinking by alleging that our sidewalks are unsafe(!). I mean c’mon– you show me a sidewalk that a 11 year old can’t successfully navigate and I’ll eat my hat. Sure we have many spots that aren’t perfect, and some that aren’t even good. But for generations kids managed to walk to school just fine.

    Sorry to rant. Looking forward to tonight’s meeting. Hope it’s televised…

  8. Betty,
    Being a single Mom is no easy task and I commend you for that.

    I make no apologies for “becoming” the squeaky wheel, never my intention.
    As I have said and will repeat,

    FTR-Nobody owes me anything nor do I believe that they think they do! They owe it to the community, to the children, and they owe it to Jarrid & Chris!

    Stop Signs exist for a reason, THEY WORK! They don’t cause accidents! If the new council finds it in their best interest to stand against me, well that is up to them!

    “(as well as his antagonism towards the previous council)”

    Any antagonism brought forward from me was provoked from one lie after another accompanied by disrespect!!

    Your Words:
    “I hadn’t followed local government stuff too closely, even though I’ve been here all my life (sue me, I’m a single mother with other stuff on my mind!)”.

    My fight started 4 years ago and is still ongoing, your above statement seems to contradict your remarks???

  9. There are several traffic/pedestrian issues that definitely need to be addressed. I continue to wonder why it is that the High School and the Middle School only have a crossing guard in the morning? There is double the traffic in the afternoon, not to mention periodic but severe traffic jams. Also, people aren’t stopping for pedestrians crossing in the crosswalks because it isn’t being enforced. A few years ago the police department went to great lengths to explain the workings of the traffic circle after several accidents/near misses, etc., and it was quite successful . That same attention (with some tickets thrown in) would get the point across. That leads me to the issue of Jaywalking. I am assuming that Jaywalking is legal in this area as I have never seen anyone receive a ticket for this offense. Downtown Rye is not easy to navigate due to the unusual crossing situation, but if we are really to get serious about traffic safety, we need to examine this. We are not setting a very good example to our children when we ourselves are darting across Purchase Street (often with them). The attention has always been placed on tickets for parking. There needs to be a sense of order for both pedestrians and drivers and this seems like a good place to start.

  10. I agree that this is a complex issue. I also agree with others that safety begins with parents modeling and teaching correct behavior. Spend one morning watching arrival AND dismissal at one of the elementary schools. Parents cross their children unsafely not in the crosswalks, park illegally in places that create blind spots, continually break drop-off rules and aggressively berate the employees, and auxilliary police, hired to enforce them. I know that the offenders are some, not all, parents. However, in my experience it is a large percentage of parents modeling, and thus reinforcing, unsafe behavior.


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