The Jogging Jeweler has complied a list (by village/town) for residents to consider in their own research, problem solving, and to raise awareness among more members of our community. Within each list I will provide the blog numbers that photographic or video footage can be found demonstrating the problems.
At the request of a reader we traveled up Ashford Ave and down Ogden to capture what traveling is like for a pedestrian in this area of Dobbs Ferry. As you witness in the video above - we are counting cars again. 10 cars pass without stopping.
Welcome back for the second part of analyzing the results from the OCA Survey. The remaining two questions to be reviewed are...
How far do you travel on the OCA?
2-3 miles - 80 votes
3 - 5 miles - 72 Votes
1 mile - 51 Votes
5 - 7 miles - 33 Votes
Adding up the higher mileage groups (2-7 miles) we have 185 users or 82.5% of users on the OCA for at least a one mile stretch - meaning a majority of users are traveling at least one direction for a mile and turning around.
What answers outside of those provide on the survey does this give us about the OCA?
Using Dobbs Ferry, a central location for the Rivertowns, one mile on the OCA heading North gets you through Mercy College campus and just over the Irvington border. One mile South on the OCA from Dobbs Ferry, gets you into Hastings.
Most likely users are on the OCA in more than one village - crossing multiple streets without crosswalks.
Why do you use the Old Croton Aqueduct?
This question "broke" about half through the survey, and had to be reset. Whomp! Whomp! The answers to this question are based off of 104 users. Do not despair, we have the recent tally to compare to the survey results.
In this question users were allowed to select multiple answers as the OCA provides many different types of users - we had 104 users, and 191 answers.
Walkers - 76 Answers
Running - 46 Answers
Dog Walking - 27 Answers
Bicycling - 25 Answers
School - 12 Answers
Work - 5 Answers
Tally Vs. Survey
Walkers dominate both the tally and survey.
The survey results skewed lower for students as they most likely are not on the Facebook groups this survey was posted in - limiting their ability to provide answers.
Dog Walkers in both the Survey and Tally, are similar, 12% and 14%, respectively.
The Work group in the tally does not show as based on visuals it is difficult to know if someone is walking to and/or from work, unless they were to be specifically asked like in the survey.
Runners & Bicycles both nearly doubled in the survey versus the tally.
What does this tell us? And how do we improve the OCA for any and all groups?
Walking users are the OCA largest subset - Perhaps installing OCA entrance signs throughout the villages and/or village guides to indicate locations of attractions & needs.
Dog walkers - Wonder if they are the subset that pushes higher on the frequency of use? Maybe adding trash cans so avoid dropped bags of pooh.
Athletes - Runners/Bicycles - This tally likely changes with the weather - snow, ice, rain and mud likely create fair weather users in these subsets. Leveling out entrances where terrain meets road so there is no broken pavement or curbs to push bicycles and strollers over.
Students - Based on the tally results, students are nearly 1/3 of all users - most likely during the school year and at times directly before/after school. Can we get some crosswalks for these kids?
Last time I checked - when you love something, you treat it nicely. Perhaps its time we ask that the OCA is shown some proper love?
| Broadway Sidewalk, Irvington #2 - The One & Only |
The above video documents the only, severely narrow sidewalk along Broadway in Irvington that services pedestrians coming to and from Dows Lane.
Problem: The only sidewalk available for pedestrians to use along this portion of Broadway is so severely narrow that even passing drivers feel too close and merge into the next lane to give pedestrians their much needed elbow room.
Solution: This one is a bit of a toughy with that stone and iron fence along edging the length of this narrow sidewalk. According to the Highway Design Manual the relationship between walkway width and pedestrian volume at the bare minimum of 20 people/minute/meter should be 1.525 meters in width.
This is not a Manhattan sidewalk, it is not heavily populated, however it leads into an elementary school and should feel easily accessible, safe, and wide enough for a parent holding their child's hand to walk side-by-side which is possible at 1.525 meters (approximately 60 inches). There were numerous comments on a previous Facebook post about this section of sidewalk, they ranged from running groups needing to run single file with elbows tucked in to moms walking their kids to school a couple times, and then giving up because they felt it was too dangerous.
SO - Jogging Jeweler - what could be done? Well - let's look at Broadway, how wide are the lanes? Our friends over at Planetizen indicate that there is a sweet spot for lane widths, measuring in at 10-10.5 feet.
If the lanes along Broadway are wider than necessary perhaps the State of New York could spare the inches needed to make this sidewalk better, wider, safer, and more useful to our community.
Did you know?
Walking one mile to and from school each day is two-thirds of the recommended sixty minutes of physical activity a day. Plus, children who walk to school have higher levels of physical activity throughout the day.
The Old Croton Aqueduct, running smack through the middle of Hastings, Dobbs, and Irvington and onwards, it is a New York State Park and has National Historic Landmark Status.
Problem: As seen in the video above, the OCA practically vanishes as it passes through Dobbs Ferry. There are no signs to suggest which way it may continue, as a pedestrian one assumes to continue onward traversing streets, through a parking lot, and an alley. There are NO crosswalks throughout downtown Dobbs Ferry to suggest that this trail, State Park technically speaking, is passing through and/or is a heavily used passage by dog-walkers, moms pushing strollers, runners, bikers, and local students.
Solution: There are several solutions for this issue. However I am going to identify two that can be easily tackled by the village to better identify the OCA as it crosses five of our downtown streets:
Place signage on Cedar Street that reads - Pedestrian Zone. This is will identify to the drivers of vehicles that pedestrians have the right of way, that they as drivers are to expected to drive slowly and use caution.
5 Crosswalks on Cedar, Oak, Elm, Chestnust, & Walnut. In the exact spots that the OCA crosses our village roads. While the village has no ability to change the OCA (it is owned by NY state) it is completely within our village's rights and abilities to properly label, and create safe passages on our streets for pedestrians.
Did you know?
1. The cost of striped crosswalks range from approximately $100 to 2,100 each, or on average approximately $7 per square foot. A high visibility crosswalk can range from $600 to $5,700 each, or around $2,500 on average.
Running along Broadway, to Hastings-On-Hudson went better than other runs thus far. Our route had sidewalks, crosswalks, good sight lines for seeing traffic which means few blind spots. This route was chosen as warmer weather melted the snow and the OCA was too muddy for this stroller pushing momma. However - the run was not necessarily smoother.
Problem: Hastings-On-Hudson has curbs... lots of curbs. The photo demonstrates at least six, including ones coming in and out of the local high school - what happened to being handicap accessible? I caught seven in my footage, however knowing what the Old Croton Aqueduct is like through Hastings [think bigger curbs] I speculate there may be more curbs that were not captured in this footage.
Streets that are truly “complete” provide all of us with a choice of mobility options. They allow everyone to travel to and from work, school, and other destinations with the same level of safety and convenience, whether or not they have mobility, vision, or cognitive disabilities.
Complete Streets also help people who are coping with temporary disabilities as well as those pushing strollers, pulling wheeled luggage, or managing large packages. Complete Streets policies provide flexibility to transportation professionals and give them room to be creative in developing solutions that promote accessible travel. Operating under a policy can prompt a deeper analysis and encourage them to work with community members with disabilities.
In roadway design, Complete Streets means attention to details at intersections, such as installing curb ramps, audible or tactile signals for blind pedestrians, and/or providing longer crossing times; along pedestrian routes by providing smooth sidewalks free of obstacles...
The crosswalk at the corner of Clinton/Oak & Broadway in Dobbs Ferry, NY has its issues. Traffic coming from multiple directions, a blind hill, vehicles that park illegally, drivers going around vehicles stopped for pedestrians - a lot going on for pedestrians and drivers.
Problem: Before I am even at the crosswalk there is already a pedestrian waiting to cross. By the time I arrive SIX vehicles have passed, vehicle number 7 stops to allow us to cross, however vehicle number 8 does not seem to be slowing down in time to stop. The vehicle does eventually stop, however this is a frequent scene at this particular intersection.
Problem: Vehicles park illegally, blocking a pedestrians view of oncoming traffic. Shortened distances of line of sight cause pedestrians to inch further into the intersection to see and result in not having enough time to see and cross safely.
Enforcement of crosswalks, parking, stop signs, and "don't block the box" at this intersection.
A flashing light for pedestrians to push when they're crossing.
Moving the crosswalk, in line with the front of South Church, so pedestrians & vehicles can see each other better.
A turn lane for vehicles turning left onto Clinton or Right onto Oak
Oak being one way, down to Main St., to eliminate the left and/or right turns off of Oak St.
A street light on the corner of Oak and Broadway, this portion of the intersection is impossible to see at night.
Monday night I had the opportunity to speak with a Political Science class at Mercy College. I met an adjunct professor while attending a Rotary Club meeting. I was hoping the Mercy Rotaract could help the Chamber of Commerce create a survey or perhaps open a line of communication with Mercy students about their experiences as drivers, pedestrians, and residents in Dobbs Ferry. When I began discussing this he asked instead that I come speak to his students as he found my approach to the parking, traffic, and pedestrian safety issues to be impactful and a real-life scenario in which his students could learn from.
Take-aways from Mercy Students:
The Old Croton Aqueduct is dark and in-usable to them in the evenings.This hints at a few things - (a) they likely aren’t walking into town in the evenings, whether it is to visit local restaurants, cafes, stores, or friends which (b) it likely means they’re driving and parking on our streets. (c) They tried walking the OCA, it didn’t go well, but the interest to walk at night is there - so (d) if hypothetical solar powered lights were added, the path would likely get used by them, reducing traffic and parked cars in DF.
They acknowledged that there are even distracted and speeding drivers on their campus.Meaning that they understand the impact of having the ever-living life scared out of you by drivers not obeying the law. Which is important beucase it means they’re in touch with our reality.
They know just as little about Dobbs residents, as we know about them. This is not good and definitely needs to change. Mercy College is one of the largest non-profit properties in our community, we should know more of what they are doing, what events they are hosting, and how they want to help our community. The students overall were positive, had great questions, answers, and suggestions to how we as a community could solve the problems of pedestrian safety.