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Pedestrian Safety in Proposed Roundabout a Concern

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – The proposed roundabout at Heathcote Five Corners being considered by village officials has Robert Rifkin of Quaker Ridge worried about pedestrian safety and business owner Rose Marinaccio concerned about the loss of private property.

An information-gathering session hosted by the League of Women Voters Tuesday night at the Crossway Road Fire Station brought out more than 40 area residents, some of whom questioned the need for the roundabout and inquired about construction costs, implementation of the plan and traffic detours during construction.

“It may cut down on the wait time at the light, but I am concerned about the safety of the residents and others crossing between the shopping areas there,” Rifkin said. “The reality is that the traffic is mostly from Heathcote and Weaver streets and I want to make sure that the views of those neighbors are heard.”

Project Engineer Steve Godlewski of the consulting firm Creighton Manning Engineering told attendees that if built, the roundabout would calm traffic flow, reduce vehicle sped in the area, reduce accidents and the severity of injuries in them, shorten pedestrian crossings, reduce delays caused from waiting for the completion of a five-light cycle and provide a “sense of place” at the intersection.

Despite the listed benefits, Marinaccio, office manager at Five Corners Real Estate, observed that any proposal would results in a loss of property for her business, including the small parking area for clients.

“This will affect business,” she said. “As a resident and business owner, I am concerned and will stay tuned to the discussions. I am also very interested to see how others in the area feel about it.”

Godlewski informed attendees that any plan for the roundabout would call for the village to obtain right-of-way on private property, but assured them municipalities routinely compensate property owners for the acquisition.

The community could pay for the infrastructure improvement by either obtaining outside funding or issuing bonds, Godlewski said.  But Village Manager Alfred Gatta, who sat in the audience, quickly stood up to state that village trustees have indicated they would proceed with the project only if it was funded by state and federal grants.

“There is no plan to go forward at present,” Gatta said.

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