It’s been a good six months since my last blog post as The Jogging Jeweler. A move cross the country with not just my family, but my business as well, has kept me busy. What’s the Jogging Jeweler going to do in a new state?
If you happened along Route 9 in Dobbs Ferry a few weeks ago, you may have noticed a group of parents and children, hovering around the new crossing light at Route 9 and Clinton/Oak. The below video was captured during our effort to film pedestrians using the light.
| Irvington's Old Croton Aqueduct Entrance Upgrade |
Earlier this summer Irvington began work on Main Street through an upgrade of the the Old Croton Aqueduct as it passes through town and past a monument located in front of Main Street School. The OCA once ended at the end of the school's tree-lined parking lot forcing pedestrians and cyclists the pass through the parking lot crossing Main St to continue on their OCA journey.
It looks nice...
Parking lot is more orderly and bright.
The sidewalk is nicely paved with bricks.
Two crosswalks crossing the school's entrance and exit driveways have been repaved with a faux brick patterned as well as repainted.
A crosswalk from a newly planted grassy path, that one assumes is the new entrance to the OCA was also added.
Paint - The crosswalk crossing Main Street that pedestrians, school children, and cyclist should be using has yet to receive the same beautification.
Signage - The OCA does not yet have signs or posts, like those found on Mercy's campus, directing users the appropriate direction. It also seems they have yet to install the yellow diamonds alerting drivers along Main Street of frequent use of the crosswalk in front of this newly re-furbished area.
Blind spot - The Main St crosswalk, when used from the retail side of the street, has a massive blind spot caused by parking at the crosswalk's edge. Had a vehicle been parked in the handicap spot, marked by the blue lines on the road, a pedestrian is forced to step off the curb and into oncoming traffic to see. That first parking spot needs to back up and let the crosswalk and its pedestrians breath and be seen.
The Jogging Jeweler certainly hopes the work for this area is not yet complete and they are awaiting the arrival of paint and signs for pedestrians and the OCA.
UPDATED - 9/25/17
Did some research. According to the Main Street Streetscape plan (found here - see page 47 specifically) which is dated 9/12/2014 it does appear:
a second Main Street crosswalk was (is?) planned on.
The existing Main Street crosswalk, as well as this 2nd crosswalk are to match the brick patterned ones in the school's parking lot.
A painted pathway through the South parking lot to mark the OCA's continued path.
In the text on page 47 it is recommeneded that signage pointing out pedestrian and cyclist usage as well as linkage to other villages via the OCA would better serve this community gathering space.
The search for a more recent plans as well as contacting local officials are my next steps.
What can you do?
Do you live in Irvington? Want to help?
Write an email to the BOT.
Talk to your Village Admin.
Reach out to the committee in charge of this project.
Reach out to your local Safe Routes program leaders.
Remember when using a crosswalk as a pedestrian or driver - #STOPLOOKWAVE
The Jogging Jeweler has started this apparel based campaign in an effort to raise awareness of the what sharing the road really means.
Last fall our communities speckled the roadsides with lawn signs "Slow Down Rivertowns" - basically homeowners giving a polite fist-shake and holler at speedy drivers passing their homes. However, after raking leaves, moving snow, and weekly mowing few remain, those that do are now part of our day-to-day scenery and most likely ignored.
The bright colors and simple symbols hope to pass along the idea that we are all in this together. That behind the wheel or on foot is active participation in sharing the pathways we all use to go about our daily lives. AND - that saying "thank you" is courteous and will positively reinforce stopping, looking, and waving again and again and again.
Easy - purchase button down below!
Local & want to pick up? Send me an email and we can arrange a meeting.
Out of town? Let's ship it!
Where does the money for the shirts go?
To buy more shirts....winter is coming.
For real though - The Jogging Jeweler is not a paid gig. I do it because I give a damn and believe starting conversations about the issues we face as a community leads to ideas, solutions, and a better version of ourselves.
The Jogging Jeweler typically writes about pedestrian and traffic safety, however on my most recent run was one of the most natural of surprises - a mother deer with her young....Not 1! Not 2! BUT 3 baby fawns accompanied this mother.
What does this mean?
This means their natural habit - our backyards, gardens, schools, and parks is an AMAZING & thriving environment for them. So much so that they are able to feed and provide safety for multiple offspring with each birthing season.
What is the Dilemma?
Well - much like here in the Rivertowns, back in the Midwest where I grew up deer populations, when out of control are incredibly destructive to vegetation. Farmers knowingly deduct the first 2-10 rows of any field from their harvest yields as that's how much the deer can eat.
For us sub-urban dwellers these deer pose a much bigger threat, one that was recently demonstrate when I picked up my daughter from the sitter this past summer. An 18-month old at the sitter's was covered in marks. Had one of the kids bitten him? No. Did he have ringworm? No...He had Lymes Disease.
Deer carry ticks. They come into our gardens, yards, parks, playgrounds and the ticks fall off - bringing diseases such a Lyme, literally, to our door.
What can we do?
Four Posters - Fire Island is well-known for their approach to limiting the deer population, vegetation, and ticks carried by the deer. Fire Island has created a feeding system for the deer that is surrounded by large rollers treated with a pesticide.(Read more) When the deer insert their hungry little heads between the rollers to eat, the rollers apply a pesticide similar to Frontline for our dogs and cats to the deer, killing their existing ticks and preventing new ones from getting a free ride.
Tick Tubes - Cardboard, bio-degradable tubes, filled with cotton balls that are soaked in a synethic version of a naturally occurring tick repellent that is toxic to ticks but not mammals. Tubes are placed at homes throughout neighborhoods for mice, whom the ticks contract Lyme's from, to collect the cotton balls for nest building. Ticks then feed on the mice, ingesting the toxin and dying. Never getting the chance to free-ride on a deer and enter areas that we frequent.(Read more)
Deer birth control - They capture the deer, shoot them with birth control, release them and then dart them again in two years time to re-up the dosage. Locals can help track the immunized does via the link provided. (Read more)
Culling - They target a certain location and position a bow hunter to strike the deer dead (with hopefully one shot). Not a fan of this idea in our immediate local areas - high density population with high traffic of people, kids, vehicles, etc. (Read more)
Moving to the suburbs and dealing with nature is part of the package. Whether they are deer, skunks, coons, possums, squirrels, turkey, coyotes, woodchucks, etc. We're the smarter species, we can most certainly figure out a way to live together without killing one another ;-)
Did you know?
Deer mate Sept-Nov, gestation lasts 7.5 months through the winter. Fawns are born May-June, hence why we are are seeing them out and about now.
Female deer with multiples may carry off-spring from different males.
Ticks contract Lyme's from mice, deer are the public transit for ticks.
The following is a list provided by the CDC of diseases carried by ticks:
Anaplasmosisis transmitted to humans by tick bites primarily from the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) in the northeastern and upper midwestern U.S. and the western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus) along the Pacific coast.
Babesiosisis caused by microscopic parasites that infect red blood cells. Most human cases of babesiosis in the U.S. are caused byBabesia microti.Babesia microtiis transmitted by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) and is found primarily in the northeast and upper midwest.
Borrelia mayoniiinfection has recently been described as a cause of illness in the upper midwestern United States. It has been found in blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) in Minnesota and Wisconsin.Borrelia mayoniiis a new species and is the only species besidesB. burgdorferiknown to causeLyme diseasein North America.
Borrelia miyamotoiinfection has recently been described as a cause of illness in the U.S. It is transmitted by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) and has a range similar to that of Lyme disease.
Bourbon virusinfection has been identified in a limited number patients in the Midwest and southern United States. At this time, we do not know if the virus might be found in other areas of the United States.
Colorado tick feveris caused by a virus transmitted by the Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni). It occurs in the the Rocky Mountain states at elevations of 4,000 to 10,500 feet.
Ehrlichiosisis transmitted to humans by the lone star tick (Ambylomma americanum), found primarily in the southcentral and eastern U.S.
Heartland viruscases have been identified in the Midwestern and southern United States. Studies suggest that Lone Star ticks can transmit the virus. It is unknown if the virus may be found in other areas of the U.S.
Lyme diseaseis transmitted by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) in the northeastern U.S. and upper midwestern U.S. and the western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus) along the Pacific coast.
Powassan diseaseis transmitted by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) and the groundhog tick (Ixodes cookei). Cases have been reported primarily from northeastern states and the Great Lakes region.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF)is transmitted by the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni), and the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sangunineus) in the U.S. The brown dog tick and other tick species are associated with RMSF in Central and South America.
Tickborne relapsing fever (TBRF)is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected soft ticks. TBRF has been reported in 15 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming and is associated with sleeping in rustic cabins and vacation homes.
Tularemiais transmitted to humans by the dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), the wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni), and the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum). Tularemia occurs throughout the U.S.
364D rickettsiosis(Rickettsia phillipi, proposed) is transmitted to humans by the Pacific Coast tick (Dermacentor occidentalisticks). This is a new disease that has been found in California.
| Where the sidewalks end... Route 9/Hastings Edition |
This past summer my daughter attended the Little Leaf camp on the Andrus on Hudson property located on the southern border of Hastings between the north and south bound lanes of Route 9. Every morning and afternoon for nearly 6 weeks straight we drove to and from camp along Route 9 from Dobbs Ferry into Hastings and onto the Andrus property. After a few drives I began to take notice of the conditions along Route 9...
What did I see?
The roadside vegetation on the northbound lanes of Route 9 leans in so far most drivers use a portion of the right hand lane to avoid the plants.
People in business attire running, biking, and on scooters - assuming to the train.
A person in a wheel chair
People walking from town with groceries
People in medical attire walking to/from Andrus
Bus Stops and riders waiting or walking to/from
Once I saw the guy in the wheel chair planning a run began - he was barely balanced on what appeared to be a sidewalk with two pedestrians trying to walk around him.
Exactly where the sidewalks ends..
Olinda Avenue.... See the below image and video to understand the path a pedestrian must take when traveling south on the OCA and desires to continue south on Route 9.
This video is a snapshot of 3 of the 5 crossing a pedestrian must use to continue south on Route 9.
What happens after Olinda?
Route 9 after Olinda gets a little treacherous - there is a paved path just beyond the curb that appears to be a sidewalk, whether or not it's actually a sidewalk is unknown at this time. This faux sidewalk is uneven, broken, overgrown, and/or blocked a majority of the time. See video below.
Route 9 splits, the north and south bound lanes go around the Andrus on Hudson property. When the property ends the north and south bound lanes slowly come back together. See image an video below.
This path when taken by a pedestrian requires crossing 4 lanes of traffic. On numerous occasions when dropping off and picking up I have seen Andrus on Hudson staff walking from near by bus stops not to mention that off to the left is church and that the Andrus campus holds a pre-school, senior center, and several summer camps. Lots of people coming and going. Watch the video below to get a better sense of what using this intersection is like.
The road back...
Route 9 south bound lacks that faux sidewalk leaving pedestrians no choice but to walk at the roads edge or in the grass. There is only one lane of traffic, offering a car's width between pedestrians at the road's edge and moving vehicles. However, there are no crosswalks. This portion of Route 9 also has bus stops that I saw in use while driving to/from camp. See video below.
What can we do???
Put these locations on the wiki map that the Route 9 active transportation group is developing.
Ask that state legislature to require crosswalks near senior and children facilities as well as bus stops.
Note local development projects - ask that those near bus stops, schools, hospitals, libraries, or other public highly frequented destinations by children or elderly adopt a crosswalk - especially in a location where one does not exist or needs updating.
This article discussed one of the latest initiatives from the Dobbs Ferry Chamber of Commerce, a non-for-profit organization that began in August of 2015 and has grown intoa group of nearly 80 members. Becoming the President in May of 2016, I began with addressing the echoing issues from our members - parking, traffic, & safety.
What is The Fast Five?
The Fast Five are five items of low hanging fruit that the Chamber narrowed down in various meetings with members and other local community groups. Our overall goal was to pick items that were easy for the Village to target in terms of budget, time, and visibility (meaning residents and visitors alike would see the improvements.)
Feedback on Fast 5
Overall the feedback has remained positive on the Fast Five. There have been 3-4 complaints regarding the test period for extending the meters - that is, complaints without sound reasoning as to why it is not a good idea. The test period is suggested for 6-8 months in the hopes that we can at least capture two different seasons. This test period does not have to be 7 days/week, it could just be Thurs, Fri, & Sat. It's an effort towards making the parking we have more efficient. Maybe it'll improve parking for local businesses - maybe it won't, but if we don't start trying there will be no data regarding the efficiency of our parking spaces.
What Happens Next?
The Chamber is currently waiting to hear back from the BOT. The BOT has asked the traffic commission to review our list of suggestions. Hopefully, a presentation from the Chamber regarding the Fast Five will be on an upcoming agenda.
A HUGE hug of appreciation for all those that participated in making this effort come to fruition. It took months, endless meetings, lots of editing, and ultimately led me to start this blog. Even if 3 of 5 are addressed it is a win and progress!
#stoplookwave & #route9
Look for these hashtags used in social media posts. Feel free to use #route9 on posts, pictures, or comments about Route 9. And steal #stoplookwave for posts, pictures, or comments that will help raise the awareness of sharing responsibility as pedestrians and as drivers at our crosswalks. We all need to STOP, LOOK, & WAVE before crossing, it will provide acknowledgement of being seen and show gratitude.
On a recent run through Dobbs Ferry and Hastings-On-Hudson we ventured down the Old Croton Aqueduct by crossing Route 9 in Dobbs and traversing the trail south into Hastings. It took gingerly balancing my jogging stroller over that first curb to remember "oh yeah, there's the reason why we never run this way".
As previously stated in Blog #11 Hastings-On-Hudson has got some major curb issues - meaning there are crosswalks and crossing, such as those along the Old Croton Aqueduct, that are not easily traversed for handicap, strollers, bicyclists, or folks pulling luggage as they walk up from the train.
Nearly every intersection throughout Hastings-On-Hudson that the Old Croton Aqueduct passes through has a curb making the trail 100% avoided by someone like myself who runs while pushing a child in my stroller. She's used to the light jostling and me calling out "bumpy bumpy" for when an area is worse for wear, but curbs - those are a bit more noggin' knocking when at a clip faster than a casual walk.
Who We Gonna Call?
Ghost Busters :-D May be easier to call them, but the Old Croton Aqueduct is a New York State Park which means we need to be squeaky wheels to get the large ol' state of New York's attention. We can write the below people letters or emails, call them, write letters to the Editor for the Rivertowns Enterprise, or other local publications to draw attention to the fact that our historic park could use some TLC.
On Twitter? Follow Nita Lowey (@NitaLowey) or Eliot Engel (@RepEliotEngel)- send them a link to The Jogging Jeweler Blog, Youtube Video, Photo, or Facebook Post of your choice AND state why it's important to you that they help us address the safety concerns along Route 9 as well as the Old Croton Aqueduct prior to the New Bridge opening.
On Facebook? Follow Westchester County Board of Legislators - This will help you figure out which Legislators covers your area. Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington, & Hastings are covered by Mary Jane Shimsky. Shimsky chairs the Committee on Infrastructure, is on the Committee of Transportation & Public Work, as well as NYS/ National Transportation Steering Committee, & is a member of the the NYS Mass Transit Taskforce (behind the New Bridge - and all the Route 9 stuff).
Comment, Share, & Like! The more JJ readers sending in problem photos, sharing stories of their experiences, suggesting solutions, or asking questions about the blog creates a larger dialogue for all of our communities to participate in.