In honor of Earth Week, Bronxville School parents and the school administration organized a “Walk to School” week. It was a huge success with “moving trains” of children coming down the hills and not a single traffic jam or delay on Midland Avenue.
Hopefully, the walking routine will continue as there is scientific evidence that a morning walk to start one’s day increases alertness and correlates with improved academic performance, greater self-esteem and a sense of independence.
As a nation, the trend has been to rely more and more on the car. According to government statistics, the number of children driven to school within a 1-mile radius of their home was 20 percent in 1969. Now the number is over 55 percent and growing, and climbing with it is childhood obesity, traffic congestion and air pollution.
With the aim of making Bronxville an even more walkable village, we will be looking at areas that may now be suitable for additional sidewalks.
Residents have also asked about bike riding and the possibility of designated bike paths. By village code, bicycles may be ridden on sidewalks throughout the village if the rider is under the age of 11. However, no one can ride bikes or skateboards on the sidewalks in the two business districts.
Unfortunately, none of the village streets are wide enough for regulation bike lanes. Our wide streets – Pondfield Road and Midland Avenue – either have continuous parking areas and/or a hedge divide. Even if wide enough, Police Chief Satriale is not a proponent because bike lanes sometimes complicate bicycle and car turning movements at intersections. When riding in the road, bicycles should always be travelling in the same direction as cars.
With the warmer weather, more pedestrians are out and about especially youngsters. With that in mind, our police department, in the interest of safety, will be stepping up enforcement of the texting and cell phone use while driving laws as well as speed laws and the crossing of double yellow lines. As a reminder, the areas adjacent to all of the schools in the village, including our nursery schools, are school zones with a 20 mph speed limit.
As to the crossing of a double line violation which continues to be a scourge on Pondfield Road, a police officer, not a parking enforcement officer, must personally witness the violation. Frustratingly, calling the police after witnessing one of these infractions has no ramifications.
In addition to increased pedestrian activity, many more dogs are out and about on daily walks. Per village code, pets are not allowed in any of the village parks, including Sagamore, Bicentennial and Maltby, but we have routinely turned a blind eye when pets could peacefully co-exist with the primary park users.
However, just last week, we had to add the tennis court grounds as a “no dogs” enforced area. Essentially, dogs off the leash were scaring some of the youngsters taking tennis lessons and the bucolic setting was being marred by dog waste. Sadly, it takes only a few indifferent dog owners to spoil it for all the good and conscientious owners.
Our “yield to pedestrian” warning stantions (which serve as a traffic calming device) at the intersection of Kraft Avenue and Park Place are routinely destroyed by area delivery trucks. As a consequence, we tried just posting the pedestrian signs on the adjacent posts. However, in response to resident on-site input, the stantions seem to be needed and new ones are ordered and will be in the intersection shortly.
As graduations and family celebrations increase during the spring months, the village Parking Office has crafted a test overnight parking policy to aid residents who may need a spot on the street now and then for visiting family and friends. The new pilot plan would be a courtesy or limited exemption from current village law which always supersedes. Per local code, parking is prohibited on all public streets and in parking meter zones within the village between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m.
However, effective May 1, callers to the police desk requesting overnight parking will receive up to three courtesy nights per month, as tracked by their license plate number, so as to accommodate guest visits or emergencies.
The spring and summer months bring more people out of their homes and offices. Our children are fully engaged in outdoor sports activities and can be seen walking through the village from fields and track to school and home. Please use extra caution when moving about our village as spring is officially here.