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Rye Looks To Increase Pedestrian Safety Near Schools

Rye students take part in Walk to School Day, one of the activities organized by the Safe Routes to School Committee.
Rye students take part in Walk to School Day, one of the activities organized by the Safe Routes to School Committee. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Rye YMCA

RYE, N.Y. -- Rye has begun preliminary work on a number of projects designed to increase pedestrian safety around the city's schools.

Earlier this year Rye received a $223,952 grant from the federal government as part of the "Safe Routes to School" program. The grant application was coordinated by the Rye YMCA for activities such as Walk to School Week, and projects that would increase safety and accessibility around schools, as well as reduce traffic.

After identifying needs and working with the schools, the city is now in the process of putting together the projects, according to City Manager Scott Pickup.The projects will require continued coordination with the schools, and Pickup said that the hope is to get them out to bid in the spring so that work can begin implementing them next summer when the children are out of school.

The largest of the four projects identified is a series of pedestrian-activated rapid flash beacons, which would be placed at intersections to warn drivers of pedestrians. Four pairs of beacons would be installed, costing around $80,000 total. The plan is to put them at the following intersections: Boston Post Road and Old Post Road, Hewlett Avenue and Forest Avenue, Apawamis Avenue and Forest Avenue, and Forest Avenue and Eve Lane. These intersections are not currently manned by crossing guards.

There are also plans to extend the curb at the intersection of Osborn Road and Theall Road. This $25,000 project would reduce the 90-foot crossing distance by about 30 feet, as well as replace deteriorating sidewalks.

A $45,000 project at the intersection of Grace Church Street and Midland Avenue would reduce the 100-foot crossing distance, as well as expand the center island in the road to provide a pedestrian refuge area.

Approximately $75,000 of the money would be spent on elevating the sidewalk on Hewlett Avenue near Milton School. Currently, the sidewalk is at the same level as the street, but it would be raised six inches to better separate vehicles from pedestrians.

City Planner Christian Miller said that the projects have not been fully designed yet, as the city is currently working through the New York state Department of Transportation's review and compliance process. He said that the process may take some time.

"They're not aware of anybody that's used these flashing beacons," Miller said. "So they're going to get back to us and make sure that they're okay with them."

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