Op-Ed: Hazardous Crosswalk in Sleepy Hollow

Crosswalk at 285 North Broadway: “Watch out! Vehicles invade the sidewalk. Don’t get hit.” Photo: Patrick Munroe

Sleepy Hollow Mayor Ken Wray and the trustees ignore their responsibility for public safety. Since May 2019, they have refused to implement measures to protect pedestrians from vehicles overrunning the sidewalk at a heavily used Route 9 crosswalk. It’s at Mickey’s Automotive, 285 North Broadway. It’s near the top of a hill that southbound traffic climbs toward the highway’s intersection with Route 448 and three local streets.  To date, Village officials  have refused even to reply to my repeated requests that they act on these safety measures, ones they don’t need the NY State Department of Transportation to approve. My requests are by email and hand-delivered letters with site photos.

From the Mickey’s Automotive sidewalk, scores of people use the Route 9 crosswalk every day. Most speak Spanish and go to the Open Door medical center at Route 9 and New Broadway, where the Webber Park neighborhood begins.

On Mickey’s sidewalk in July 2012, a pickup truck nearly killed me. I was waiting to cross the highway with three others. I heard the roar of the truck’s engine and turned toward it. Its bracket-mounted side-view mirror would have struck me in the head and upper body if I hadn’t ducked in time. At that speed, it could have killed me. I sent the Village a letter asking them to implement safety measures and seek help from the NY State Department of Transportation.

On January 11, 2018, knowing the danger, I was standing back from the crosswalk. The trailer of an 18-wheeler invaded the sidewalk, and I watched its tires rolling onto the curb. One of them exploded on a broken curb stone.  The blast showered me with sand and debris, knocking me back against Mickey’s. He and a co-worker ran out to help me. That same day I sent another letter to the Mayor and trustees, reminding them of the 2012 pickup incident and imploring their help.

Photo is from August 2021. They put the planter there, and on August 6th, a truck knocked it into the middle of Route 9. (Photo: Patrick Munroe)

Finally, in July 2018, the Mayor agreed to meet me at the site. There, we agreed that reducing uphill Route 9 from two lanes to one would reduce the incursions, maybe eliminate them. I said the problem was left-lane drivers crowding right-lane ones onto the sidewalk.

In May 2019, I set up borrowed traffic cones at the crosswalk. In July, a saw horse from Elecnor Hawkeye. In September, I made a warning sign and taped it to the pedestrian-signal pole. Somebody tore it down and my later ones, too. To date, Village officials haven’t acknowledged my repeated requests for an official sign.

In a February 20th email to me, the Mayor rightly criticized the DOT but wondered why I still bother him about taking action. On February 21st I emailed and hand-delivered to him and the trustees another list of three measures: put up a sign, hire a crossing guard, put orange plastic panels on the sidewalk uphill to Mickey’s.

Thursday morning 2/24, I put on a reflecting vest and became a volunteer crossing guard there. Today too, 8:30 to noon. The hazards persist, like the official neglect.

Patrick Munroe
Sleepy Hollow, NY

 

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