Many residents of Ardsley, Greenburgh, Dobbs Ferry have expressed concern about the relatively new traffic changes at the Saw Mill River Parkway/Lawrence Street intersection. I wrote a letter to the NYS Transportation department highlighting these concerns and received the following response. I thought that their response would be of interest.
Acting Regional Director
Honorable Paul Feiner
Town of Greenburgh
177 Hillside Ave. Greenburgh, NY 10607
Dear Mr. Feiner:
Thank you for your letter in which your forwarded correspondence from concerned citizens which express traffic concerns related to the Saw Mill River Parkway (SMRP)/Lawrence Street intersection within the Village of Dobbs Ferry in Westchester County. In particular, the correspondence points out perceived design issues with the intersection reconstruction made necessary by the anticipated additional traffic volume generated by the Rivertowns Square project. The concerns extend to the elimination of the northbound SMRP right-turn pocket and the temporary impact of the Ashford Avenue bridge project.
The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) participated in the local planning process under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) by contributing traffic impact related comments to the lead agency (Village of Dobbs Ferry). The Village of Dobbs Ferry along with its consultant engineering firm also considered the traffic impact and accepted the proposed mitigations. The Rivertowns Square project presented challenges in accommodating additional traffic generation, while preserving the operation of the existing system. The Department must balance the needs of all property owners and their right to develop with the safe and efficient operation of the State highway system. Adding the lanes on Lawrence Street, on both east and west approaches, increased the capacity of the intersection; however, since the east side of Lawrence Street is a bridge over the Saw Mill River, it required
maximum use of the very limited space on the bridge. The outcome is that northbound
vehicles turning right would need to turn from the travel lane to avoid overlapping with the added lanes on the bridge over the Saw Mill River. Given that the existing right-turn pocket on the SMRP was only about 65 feet long, the queuing capacity and
deceleration benefit traded was minor. Of note, the pedestrian facilities at the intersection have been improved substantially which is appropriate given proximity to the South County Trailway.
Notwithstanding, it is certainly understood and appreciated that a person who once used a facility such as the turn lane would feel loss when it was taken away. This decision was made after an extensive deliberative process spanning many months in conjunction with the local lead agency environmental review process. The configuration provided the best balanced solution and is expected to operate acceptably after the construction concludes and adjustments are made. Such adjustments include pavement marking and signal timing revisions. One such planned revision includes the relocation of the stop bar on Lawrence Street to allow a greater turn radius for northbound SMRP vehicles turning right. This revision is best executed during warmer weather. In the meantime, the traffic signal timing at the Saw Mill River Parkway at the Lawrence Street intersection has been optimized to reduce delays along the parkway. The current signal timing has three different programs: one for the morning rush hour, one for the evening rush hour, and one for all other times of the day. The signal timing has been modified for conditions before, during, and after construction based on the roadway configuration and will be adjusted during the Ashford Avenue Bridge reconstruction. The Department will continue to monitor the safety of this intersection and will take action when warranted.
Thank you for your inquiry and for your interest in traffic safety. Please feel free to contact me.
Todd B. Westhuis, P.E. Acting Regional Director