When the state rebuilt Route 100 from Millwood to Briarcliff Manor, it added improved connections with the North County Trailway to accommodate scores of pedestrians and cyclists traveling the busy corridor.
As part of the 2020 project, a crosswalk was installed three-tenths of a mile south of the traffic light at Chappaqua Road, including road markings and signs alerting drivers and trailway users to approach with caution.
But the crosswalk’s location in a heavily trafficked, 55 mph zone has raised questions about potential uncertainty among drivers and trailway users about who has the right of way.
Among the questions:
- Do motorists traveling at highway speeds know if and when they are required to stop when approaching a crosswalk?
- Do the signs approaching the crosswalk give drivers enough time to make a decision about whether or not to hit the brakes?
- When are trailway users expecting drivers to let them cross?
State law dictates drivers must stop if a pedestrian or a person with a bicycle has already entered a crosswalk, but are supposed to keep going if the person has not yet entered the crosswalk.
The state Department of Transportation and Westchester County’s parks department have pledged to make safety upgrades to the crossing, after these issues were raised by The River Journal in August.
The state DOT will be moving the yellow pedestrian/bicycle crossing signs to new locations further away from the crosswalk in the coming weeks, a DOT spokeswoman told The River Journal in an email. She did not return messages seeking details about when or where this would be done.
Also, the county will be installing a pair of signs on the trailway’s southbound entrance warning users to stop and to walk bikes across the intersection, Peter Tartaglia, first deputy commissioner of Westchester’s Parks, Recreation & Conservation Department, wrote in an email to River Journal. That signage already exists on the northbound entrance to the trailway, which is part of the Empire State Trail.
The state also built a crosswalk and erected signs where the trailway meets the Route 100 ramp onto northbound Route 9A, where the speed limit is only 30 mph.
For Good Measure
Briarcliff’s Deputy Mayor Peter Chatzky also has raised concerns about the Route 100 crosswalk, after taking measurements of the approaches.
He wrote to the DOT on Sept. 16, requesting that signage warning drivers about the crosswalk be moved from 200 feet from the trailway entrances to at least 400 feet away. Chatzky stated the signs’ placement is more appropriate for a 45 mph speed limit rather than the 55 mph permitted in that stretch.
“Because this is a new cyclist crossing on a often busy street with vehicles travelling in excess of 60 mph,” Chatzky wrote, “the ideal solution might be to add flashing beacons to the warning signs, which should be relocated further from the crossing path, to allow more drivers time to slow for crossing cyclists and pedestrians.”
Chatzky later told River Journal: “I drive that route several times a week. … If I didn’t know the crosswalk was there, an out of town driver on this route, would I notice to stop? And that’s when I thought, it does seem close.”
He pointed out that the new crosswalk is in a more visible location than the spot near the 9A split where trailway users formerly crossed Route 100. But the new location’s placement in a 55 mph zone created separate issues.
Interested in bicycling in the Hudson Valley and beyond? Read Robert Brum’s Shifting Gears blog.