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Sonn Drive, Wasted Youth, Giving Notice—Items on the Agenda for City Council Wednesday – February 24, 2010

The city council's agenda for Wednesday, February 24, 2010 is out. See you at 8pm in the Council Room at Rye City Hall or on Cablevision Channel 75 and Verizon Channel 39. We'll also see you on the Internet (next day) at http://rye.peg.tv.

Note there will be an executive session immediately preceding the council meeting at 7:00pm to discuss "labor relations". Let's check the batting order and highlights from the 18 agenda items.

We don't see it on the agenda, but MyRye.com will be listening for an update on the Rye Golf Club sledding ban debacle.

  • Open Mic. Residents may be heard who have matters to discuss that do not appear on the agenda. Always a crowd pleaser…
  • Mayor’s Manager Report.
  • H2O. Consultant’s Report on Hydrology and Flood Related Items.
  • Purchase. City Planner’s Report on Central Business District Streetscape Plan.
  • My Sonn… Consultant’s Report on Pedestrian Safety at Sonn Drive.
  • Go Away. Public Hearing to de-map Edgar Place.
  • Don't Waste Your Youth (Committee). Public Hearing to amend Chapter 10, “Committees” of the Code of the City of Rye by rescinding Article III to dissolve the Youth Advisory Committee.
  • Environmental ER? Discussion of SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review) Notice for Port Chester to serve as Lead Agency for the Redevelopment of the former United Hospital Site by Starwood Capital Management.
  • You are Building What? Consideration to set a public hearing to amend Chapter 53, “Architectural Review” of the Code of the City of Rye by amending §53-3 “Meetings and Procedures of Board” regarding noticing requirements for applications and to rescind Chapter 68-8(G) “Building and
    Demolition Permits” and consideration to set a public hearing to amend the Code of the City of Rye Chapters and Sections: §170-6(F) “Subdivision of Land, Procedures for Tentative Approval of Preliminary Layout”; §170-7(C) “Procedures for Approval of Subdivision Plat”; §197-7 “Zoning, Site Development Plan”; §197-10 “Zoning, Uses Permitted Subject to additional Standards”;§197-81(F)”Zoning Appellate Jurisdiction of Board”; §195-5(C) “Wetlands and Watercourses, Public Hearings and Public Notification by Applicant”; §196-15 “Wireless Communications Facilities, Public Hearings Required”, regarding noticing requirements.
  • That's Special. Schedule a special meeting of the City Council on Monday, March 15, at 7:00 p.m.
    for an update on the City’s financial position.

The next regular meeting of the City Council will be held on Wednesday, March 10, 2010.


  1. Getting back to the sledding at Rye Golf Club, I read with great sadness that three teenage girls got killed in Florida where they were just “playing around” on train tracks. They walked right passed the do not enter signs. The three girls got run over by a train. There are no trains at Rye Golf Club but there are ponds, trees that can be deadly if hit dead on etc. Put signs up that say sled at your own risk – tell that to the parents that God forbid their child goes thru a pond. They were just being children. It is too much liability for the Club and for the city. Would it happen – hopefully no but just like the flooding issue people still buy houses on the flood plain but yell at the city to do something about the flooding when it happens. You can’t have everything both ways. Let the kids have fun – something happens and then it is somebody’s fault. Not the innocent children that just want to have fun.

  2. Honest Citizen –

    I agree that guys like AboveAvg Citizen are just way out of touch with our highly evolved, litigation centric culture.

    Might I propose the banning of sale, purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages within the Rye City limits? Also the banning of ownership or operation of motorized vehicles of all classes? And why not while we’re at it lets propose a banning of children – some places in Florida do this and I’ve heard it’s really great.

  3. Having watched the council meeting today on tv, I have a question. How much money will putting a road diet by Osborn school cost? I personally think it is a dangerous idea – with all the traffic that goes there, trucks etc. Bob Zahm right at the council stated it was purely as a convenience that people didn’t want to walk the extra steps to where the crossing guard is? So the city of Rye will spend extra money so that moms won’t have to walk 50 feet?

  4. While I do believe that the majority of people cross at Sonn for convenience, a number of parents have also expressed real concern about the low curbing and high speed of cars on the northbound side of BPR. If you’ve walked it, you’ll see that it’s more like 400 feet than 50 AND that the cross walk at the light is lined up such that oncoming traffic have to turn to avoid riding up on the pedestrian waiting point and sidewalk.

    I’m not 100% sure, but I think that the cost estimate for the BPR road diet / sidewalk alignment was $45k. The traffic light was north of $150k. Don’t remember the cross walk, but that also has the cost / complexity of needing a stationed crossing guard.

  5. Honest Citizen,

    Welcome to Rye and how things shouldn’t be done!

    Mayor French has yet added another PTO Mom to the T&TC, now the TPSC, so they can try & persuade the decisions pertaining to their respected schools, Osborn & Midland.
    No doubt he is being pressured by his Deputy Mayor and former PTO Mom Mrs.Suzanna Keith. It won’t be long before Mrs.Keith is running Rye along with all her gal pal PTO Moms.

    Mrs.Koenig wants a crosswalk at the south end of Midland School, just about 100 ft. from the existing crosswalk to accomadate aprox. a dozen or so lazy people.

    It couldn’t be more dangerous to do this but hey convienence is everything, why worry about being safe!

    And although I sympathize with the parents that walk that stretch between Oakland Beach and Sonn when they speak of the sidewalk being to close to the street I think putting a crosswalk at Sonn is insane!
    The added diet and widening of the sidewalk can be & should be done without a crosswalk.
    But hey convienence is everything, why worry about being safe.

    Seems like convienence out weighs safety, boy are we headed down a dangerous path!!!

    I have great respect for Bob Zahm, but if I have to hear one more time from Mrs.Keith about her good buddy and her boasting I’m gonna puke!

    I’m interested in results not friendships!!!

    This is becoming a Popularity Contest!

  6. Robert, did you see the article where the city is going to pay about $40,000 to replace the bridge over the creek in the cemetary across from the Nursery Field? $40,000!?!?!?

    Go to Home Depot and buy some 2×10’s and lay them over the creek!

  7. John Jones –

    The parents who cross at Sonn are doing it not because they’re lazy, they’re doing it because they don’t want to walk a gauntlet where cars and trucks routinely hit 45 MPH, and one half-second of distraction on the driver’s part will lead to a horrific and fatal accident. There have been more than a few such accidents on this stretch of road, thankfully not during the morning rush hour – but unless something is done, it’s only a matter of time before an accident happens.

    The police don’t enforce the speed limit on this stretch of road enough to slow the traffic down. Drivers completely ignore the 20 MPH limit in the school district – perhaps they’re too busy speaking on their cells or texting the office to notice that they’re in a school district. Or maybe they think the law doesn’t really apply to them.

    If you really think those parents who cross at Sonn are lazy, ask yourself why they aren’t driving their kids to school. It’s not about convenience, it’s not because they’re lazy, it’s about getting our kids to school without having to put their lives in danger each and every morning because drivers willfully flout the law and the police don’t enforce it.

  8. Matt,
    Well aware of the danger and I did point that out. I also said I sympathize with their concerns.

    That can be corrected w/out the crosswalk!

    I’ll tell you what, fix the sidewalk as the plans direct w/out installing a crosswalk and lets see how many of those parents behavior changes.

    When we start putting convienence before safety we will have much bigger problems than what already exist!!!

    I’m all for upgrades & corrections, just not at the expense of someones safety for the purpose of convienence.

  9. John –

    I concede that fixing the sidewalk might correct the problem, and I’ll also agree with you that simply installing the crosswalk could well provide a false sense of security to any pedestrians, as it probably won’t slow down those texting and talking drivers. (Just look what happens daily in downtown’s crosswalks – drivers routinely drive right by pedestrians who have the legal right of way). The fact that drivers speed past an elementary school is a good indicator that signs alone aren’t enough to alter behavior.

    One idea that I’ve seen work elsewhere is the creation of a very wide sidewalk (such as Broadway and 23rd Street area), which forces cars, trucks and busses to slow down, and gets them away from the pesdestrian’s walkway. Another solution that’s worked elsewhere (La Jolla, California) is the installation of small rotaries or traffic circles, which forces traffic to slow down to drive around the circle. As a result, traffic slows down, and pedestrians have “safe zones” halfway across the street. A variation of this theme was put in at the intersection of the the Post Road and the Old Post Road by the High School football field. Cars now are forced to slow down, given the tight space between the sidewalk and the median strip.

    I just don’t agree with your assessment that the parents are being lazy. I think they’re responding in a logical way to very real danger they face every day. So yes, fix the problems of the narrow sidewalk without barriers, reduce the wide road, and slow the traffic down. We should see parents be more willing to walk to the existing lights, and the demand for a crosswalk should dissapate.

    But doing nothing is not a legitimate option.

  10. Matt,
    I concur,maybe lazy was a bad choice of wording.

    Something definitely needs to change there without doubt.

    All changes are good if done carefully and for the right reasons.

    I would love to see all that take place without a crosswalk as I don’t see it necessary with one so close by.

    If the behavior of the pedestrian changes so be it and if it doesn’t we will have our answer to “convienence” or not.

    I think we should find out before we put a crosswalk in that will make matters worse. Would hate to find out the hard way!

    That is the last thing we need at this point and I’m sure I speak for everyone on that.

    A crosswalk could always be added.

  11. It’s amazing to me that I’m the only person asking the question- “Why have most of the vehicle accidents involving pedestrians in Rye been caused by cars OBEYING the traffic laws?” Not one other person has asked that question. It’s as if we have blocked that FACT out of our collective consciousness. Is anyone else observing what I’m observing? Why do we waste Council meeting time talking about police enforcement when enforcement had nothing to do with the cause of the latest accidents? I don’t get it. The definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Are we waiting for a kid to finally get hit by a car disobeying the traffic laws to prove we’re not insane? Even if a kid does get hit by a car disobeying the laws it still doesn’t answer the question at the beginning of this post. Is anyone going to try and answer that question or is that question not slanderous enough to our fine men and women of Rye Police? You can’t make this sheet up.

  12. Behold “the real deal”s continuing distortion – “slanderous enough to our fine men and women of Rye Police?”

    Management critics somehow become critics of the rank and file. “Real deal” give it a rest will you? The enforcement statistics long suppressed by RPD management and now under the public spotlight reflect on management, not the rank and file. Enforcement activity is directly correlated to behavior patterns. Recall if you will the contempt with which conventional wisdom types greeted the so called “broken windows” campaign in NYC and the “misguided” police brass who initiated it. How’d that work out?

  13. “Real Deal” – start using your real name and maybe people will engage.

    Matt & John – I think what was proposed were three options with the recommendation being to first make the corrections to the sidewalk / BPR road diet and see if that resolves the problem. Putting in a crosswalk or a traffic light would seem to me, also, to be premature. That said, with best and safest sidewalk known, I believe we’ll still have people jaywalking at Sonn. Just like with the best enforcement we’d still have people speeding, etc. as that’s human nature.

  14. Robert,

    I never asked anyone to engage me, I just asked a question. But you can’t answer it so you you do what you do best which is change the subject. The subject is my question “why have all the accidents involved cars OBEYING the traffic laws?” You choose not to answer it. You choose to make enforcement an issue when the data says it’s not. If my identity is the reason you will not answer that question then I can’t help you.

  15. “Enforcement activity is directly correlated to behavior patterns. ”

    You still don’t get it. The accidents were caused by cars obeying the laws. What don’t you understand?

  16. Sure I get it “real deal.”

    10 years ago (before this Connors Crew saddled up at RPD) radar cars lurked everywhere and misdemeanor scalps were taken in great numbers. Thus my “behavior” as a long time local driver was “conditioned” to the point that my foot still involuntarily lifts off the gas pedal as I approach certain stretches of road – like, for instance, traveling north on Forest Avenue near the synagogue. I undershoot the speed limit and have a heightened awareness. And it’s this heightened awareness that could be the difference between life and death for a child making a mistake.

  17. My apologies for following my own post with another but one definition of “News” is that News is what someone wants to suppress, everything else is advertising. And as I told readers here, I grew up with personal relationships with some rank and file members of the RPD.

    Well after the last few back and forth’s on MyRye – out of the digital cloud – apparently from a certain low income tax (or maybe make that no income tax) state – I’ve received the following newsworthy pre-Connors RPD remembrances from the other side of the so called blue wall –

    “Violation issuance by the Rye radar officer rarely was under 10 summonses per day. That seems to have shrunk to an average of 1 per day in 2009.

    Daily radar car enforcement locations were as follows:

    Forest Avenue at the Synagogue

    Manursing Way at Playland Lake.

    Post Road at Overdale

    Post Road and Barlow

    Post Road and Parkway Drive

    Post and Roger Sherman

    Post Road and Parsons

    Post Road and Cedar Street (RCDS)

    North Street at Maple Avenue

    Theodore Fremd and Garver Drive

    Theodore Fremd and Access Drive

    Midland Avenue north of Playland Parkway

    Midland Avenue and Apawamis

    Midland Avenue at Midland School

    Midland Avenue at Peck Avenue

    Milton Road at Milton Point

    Additionally – if there were complaints about Stop Sign violations or other complaints the focus would shift proactively.”

    And here are some RPD suggestions from out of the digital cloud –

    “The department used to post all member ticket activity in the locker room so members could be proud of what they were doing and know who might not be with the program. Now apparently the public can’t even find out what the overall numbers are. A suggestion might be that the department could post the overall ticket numbers by category and the individual statistics of each member by category.”

  18. Tedc,

    Glad to see you’re such a good driver. I assure you, you are not alone in Rye. I’ll rephrase my question. Why is it that drivers like you, drivers who obey the laws and drive carefully, are the only drivers involved in accidents involving pedestrians? If enforcement would increase careful driving does that mean accidents involving pedestrians would increase? If not, Why?

  19. I’m sure I will get my head cut off for engaging here but what the hell, won’t be the first time,lol!

    Real Deal,
    What I printed and handed to the Council related to “MANAGEMENT” as it relates to “ENFORCEMENT” or the lack there of!

    In the past I use to blame the officers until I was woken up to all the “management issues” which are supposably creating what I and many other residents are witnessing, inaction and lack of enforcement.

    There is no doubt that “SPEEDING” is a major issue in Rye and if you disagree with that then tell me and I will stop wasting my time with you!

    Just because no one was issued a summons in any one of the many accidents involving children does not mean we do not have problems that need to be addressed!

    There have been several incidents over the years at the intersection of Palisades/Midland. This can not and should no longer be ignored!
    My son was killed by someone, as you put it,”obeying” the speed limit, I have never denied that or said otherwise, this does not mean you get to do 60 in a 20!

    As I said 100 times over;
    “we know what 30mph can do to a kid, should we wait to see what a 3,ooolb speeding bullet can do”?

    What chance will a 70lb kid have when a 3,00lb vehicle doing 60mph hits him/her?

  20. Jim,

    Like I said, I wish you the best and I hope you get your stop sign. I totally understand your concerns. My problem is that no one is addressing the fact that enforcement wasn’t the problem with the accidents. How can you write that off? It’s a legitimate question that refuses to be answered. The longer it isn’t answered by Mr. Zahm the more I believe he has an agenda. As far as tedc is concerned, the guy should look in the mirror. Remember the old days when you could sleigh ride on the Rye Golf course? Well the reason that was is because there were no adults around like tedc. His actions, and the actions of many in this town recently, have put a stop to that priviledge. Trumpeting “exposure” and “liability” constantly on this site has it’s ramifications.

  21. Real deal – hmmm – here’s your words from below –

    “Remember the old days when you could sleigh ride on the Rye Golf course? Well the reason that was is because there were no adults around like tedc. His actions, and the actions of many in this town recently, have put a stop to that priviledge. Trumpeting “exposure” and “liability” constantly on this site has it’s ramifications.”

    And here are my words defending childhood sledding in Rye. So exactly what (as Mayor Otis always used to say) are ‘ya talking about now?

    “I remember getting hurt sledding at Rye Golf. One time I hit a bolder then ended up in the creek. I was able to limp home shivering, felt lucky and was back on the hill the following week. Others I knew broke arms and dislocated shoulders over the years we sledded there. Everyone went back to the hill when healed. Nobody from my group would trade those childhood experiences for the world. Put up tough signs reflecting the legal liability of the parents of the children. They bear the burden – as do the participating minors – of assuming the risks including outright death.”

  22. Real Deal,
    Thanks for understanding me.

    I need some help in the department of understanding your point.

    For me, the subject of enforcement is simple, I know as most of Rye knows what happened to Jarrid from a vehicle during 30 or below, so I could only imagine what will happen when a vehicle doing greater speeds will do to a child when struck.

    I don’t want anyone joining the circle my family has been chosen for. My fight with enforcement began with the rejection of a simple request for a Stop Sign and crosswalks on Midland. I then decided to expose all the dangers on Midland which unfortunately included and exposed the inactions of the RPD. These are not things I made up but facts that I ignored far far too long that needed addressing.
    Like I said “I never asked for this”.

    Over all, enforcement in Rye has really taken a back seat. Other than the obvious concern for safety I don’t know what agenda Bob Zahm could have.

    What I’m confused about with your question is:
    I don’t recall anyone blaming the cause of the accidents on the lack of enforcement. Therefore, I don’t understand why you want it addressed?
    As for writing it off,speaking for myself, I think by saying it repeatedly would be considered not writing it off. Other than the guy not paying attention and his age I said he broke no laws when he hit Jarrid.

    Are you looking for the RPD to get some kind of thank you for this? I’m not sure what your seeking by addressing this?

  23. Jim,

    Remember back in high school during science lab? You were taught to write down your hypothesis before you started the experiment. Your hypothesis was based on some “bias” or previous knowledge. For example, say you were trying to prove that liquids contracted when cooled. Using water, you wrote down that all the cold water would sink to the bottom of the pool because when you went swimming the cold water was always at the bottom of the pool. You also know from the book that liquids contract and get more dense when cooled. So you started to cool the pool. ( I went to a very affluent high school) If you left the pool side before the water on the bottom hit 34 degrees you would say that you proved your hypothesis, that the coldest water sank to the bottom. But as we know, that’s not true. The coldest water floats and is less dense. Totally counter intuitive. Lets jump to pedestrian safety. An intuitive hypothesis would be that more pedestrians would be hit by cars disobeying the laws than cars obeying the laws. As we stand right now, the data doesn’t support that hypothesis. In fact, there has not been ANY pedestrians struck by a car disobeying the traffic laws. Again, totally counter intuitive. WHY? Do you think this phenomenon merits some research? Are we going to find out WHY or are we just going to ignore it? No time has been spent discussing this “nightmare” and all time has been spent on enforcement which everyone ASSUMES would make pedestrians safer. Let’s look at enforcement. Tedc posted last night that years ago AT LEAST 10 tickets a day were written. Does that mean enforcement was higher or drivers were more reckless? People are ASSUMING the reason ticket volumes are down today is because enforcement is down BUT could it be that drivers are more careful today? We would need to make sure the same practices were performed by the police today as yesteryear AND have them write more than 10 tickets a day before we can say that people today drive worse than people of yesteryear. Jovanovich sarcastically commented at a Council meeting that Rye must have sobered up a lot recently because fewer DWI’s were issued. Do you think people are more careful about drinking and driving today than yesteryear? Is it possible that drivers are more careful today than years ago? If so, maybe enforcement isn’t the problem. All I’m saying is look at the data objectively. Am I saying enforcement should be higher? No, Am I saying enforcement should be lower? No. Am I saying that enforcement shouldn’t be looked at? No. What I’m saying is that the “nightmare”, as displayed by the data as I learned in school, isn’t being addressed. Until it is, the nightmare will continue. What I see going on right now is people going off on tangent lines instead of addressing THE problem. Don’t worry, I’ll spare you the geometry lesson for today.

  24. Real Deal,

    LMAO @ your affluent high school analysis, thnx.

    I think I’m starting to see where you are going with this and I can’t say I disagree.

    Speaking for myself, I know I have never credited the lack in enforcement as the reason behind all the accidents. That is not to say that I believe we don’t have a problem in regards to enforcement.

    I personally do not credit the 50% drop in violations written to increased better driving behavior. I strongly believe we have a big problem and as of January this year the RPD has been respectful to that and I am grateful for it!

    As to your question, what I think your saying, and if I’m wrong please correct me, is since no one has credited the lack of enforcement as the reason for the accidents then what is the reason and why are we not addressing it.

    I’m guessing your opinion is the children are not educated enough to navigate the streets without adult supervision.

    My opinion, there are several culprits in the problem & many participants to the solution.

    Do the children need to be educated in navigating the streets, ABSOLUTELY!

    Does the RPD need to clamp down(enforce) on speeders, cell phone drivers,etc; ABSOLUTELY!

    Does the City need to adapt more signage including stop signs, ABSOLUTELY!

    Do we as Parents/Adults need to change our poor behaviors and assist/volunteer in all this, ABSOLUTELY!

    I attend a lot of these discussions and I can say there is progress even tho there is no visible action to back this up,so until then, it is what is has always been in the past…TALK!

  25. Jim,

    Let me just rephrase it in the affirmative so there is no question what I’m saying.

    If you take the data available at face value a case could be made for the following statement: “Increasing enforcement, no mater how much it is increased, will not stop or lower pedestrian accidents.” That is what I’m saying and that is why I question the amount of time spent on enforcement. I understand the sample size is small. I’m just taking it on face value without trying to go into statistical significance. If anyone disagrees with that statement and says enforcement will lower pedestrian accidents then I say “Show me the data that supports that conclusion because there is NO data that supports that”. It’s counter intuitive but, what I will also say is anyone questioning the statement made by Brian Dempsey that a stop sign might cause more problems than it prevents should think about what he’s saying. That’s also counter intuitive but he’s basing that statement on a much bigger sample size.

    Good Luck.

  26. Real Deal,

    Got it.

    On the flip side, enforcement or not, statistics or not, I would much rather be proactive in reducing the amount of speeding, cell phone driving and what have you before these habits are credited to an accident or worse, and in my opinion it’s not a matter of if but when!

    Better to side with caution than not!


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