SCHUMER LAUNCHES THREE-PRONGED EFFORT TO MAKE ROADS SAFER FOR RESIDENTS IN WESTCHESTER & ROCKLAND COUNTY; WILL CALL ON FEDS TO ANALYZE DANGEROUS ROADS AND INTERSECTIONS, MAKE SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS & THEN IMPLEMENT THEM TO HELP PREVENT FUTURE ACCIDENTS
Recent Journal News Report Reveals Startling Data, Listing 133 Sections of Roadway in Lower Hudson Valley That Have Some of the Highest Crash Rates in the State; 12 Specific Locations Are Considered To Be Highly Dangerous Roads & Are Located In Westchester & Rockland Counties
In Light of this Alarming Information, Schumer Says Feds Must First Work With Locals To Identify Areas of Roadway In Desperate Need Of Improvements & Conduct ‘Road Safety Audit’; Then, Schumer Says Feds Should Give Highest Priority For Funding To Recommended Remedies From Audit & Implement Them To Prevent Numerous Accidents From Happening at These Sites
Schumer: Fed Safety Audit Would Prioritize Westchester & Rockland, Augment Current State & Local Road Safety Work, & Identify How To Make Roads & Intersections As Safe As Possible
Standing at Saxon Woods Park near the entrance towards Hutchinson Parkway/Mamaroneck Ave, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today launched a three-pronged effort to analyze dangerous roads and intersections in the Lower Hudson Valley, make safety recommendations, and then implement them to prevent potentially numerous accidents from happening again. Schumer explained this effort comes on the heels of a recent Journal News report that revealed concerning data in which 133 sections of roadway in the Lower Hudson Valley were listed as having some of the highest crash rates in the state. Among these, 12 specific road sections between Westchester and Rockland Counties are considered to be highly dangerous. In the wake of this information, Schumer said the federal government must step up to the plate and work with locals in both counties to identify areas of roadway that are in desperate need of improvements in order to improve road safety.
Therefore, first, Schumer urged the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to work with locals to analyze these roads and intersections, in order to identify particular roadways that could use immediate improvements and could benefit most from federal assistance. Following this collaboration, Schumer said the FHWA should conduct a Road Safety Audit (RSA) on these sections of road to develop recommendations to improve safety on Lower Hudson Valley roadways. Finally, Schumer is urging the FHWA to then give the highest priority for federal funding to the recommended remedies that result from the audit and implement them, in order to prevent numerous accidents from happening in Westchester and Rockland County communities.
“Westchester and Rockland Counties have some of the highest crash rates in the state, and we must use every tool at our disposal to analyze why and make desperately needed safety improvements. The Journal News' alarming report is a wake-up call that a traffic safety overhaul is desperately needed at several of these area roads and that is why I am calling for the experts at the Federal Highway Administration to conduct a 'Road Safety Audit' and then work with local officials to implement safety improvements that prevent crashes and save lives. Many local communities have already laid the groundwork for action, but we need federal expertise and technical support to identify and help fund the best possible improvements on these troubling sections of roadway,” said Schumer.
Schumer continued, “Additionally, I am calling on the FHWA to prioritize federal funding for any safety recommendations produced by this safety audit, so that construction and improvements can get underway as soon as possible. These dangerous sections of road have been witness to a handful of accidents before, and it is high time we take steps to address safety hazards before it is too late.”
Schumer explained that, according to a recent Journal News analysis of NY State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) data, the Lower Hudson Valley has 133 sections of roadway that have some of the highest crash rates in New York State. According to the report, many of these road segments have significantly more accidents than the state average for a similar roadway. Of these, there are 12 specific road sections between Westchester and Rockland Counties that are considered to be highly dangerous. For example, Schumer said in 2014, a stretch of Route 202 in Haverstraw was ranked among the twenty most accident-prone sections of road in the state with more than ten times the number of accidents as a similar roadway. In Westchester, the Hutchinson River Parkway, near Mamaroneck Avenue, is also considered one of the more troublesome roadway segments. Stretches of densely traveled parkways like the Saw Mill River and Cross County are also high on the list. As a result, Schumer said serious steps must be taken to improve these sections of roadway that have proven dangerous to motorists and where concerning crash site trends have emerged.
Schumer highlighted several of these trouble spots in Westchester and Rockland Counties and noted the number of accidents identified in the Journal News report:
- Hutchinson River Parkway, by Mamaroneck Avenue: 92 Accidents, 22 with injuries
- Cross Country Parkway, west of Sheridan Avenue overpass: 157 Accidents, 43 with injuries
- Cross Country Parkway, east of Saw Mill River Parkway: 88 Accidents, 31 with injuries
- Route 59, between Pascack Road and NYS Thruway: 137 Accidents, 19 with injuries
- Route 59, between Route 45 and Dutch Lane: 97 Accidents, 25 with injuries
- Route 45, north of Division Avenue and Tioken Road: 476 Accidents, 107 with injuries, 1 fatal
- Route 202, west of Palisades Parkway: 92 Accidents, 29 with injuries
Schumer said that while the NYSDOT and communities across the Lower Hudson Valley have been taking steps to improve the safety of many of these roadways and intersections, federal expertise and resources are needed to evaluate project feasibility and provide the funding needed to help many projects – particularly those that will prove to be costly – get underway. For this reason, Schumer is urging the FHWA to help localities and the state identify the areas that are most in need of improvements, develop recommendations, and implement the measures needed to improve safety. During his visit to Westchester, Schumer launched a three-pronged effort to analyze dangerous roads and intersections in the Lower Hudson Valley, make safety recommendations, and then implement them to prevent potentially numerous accidents from happening again.
Schumer said the FHWA should therefore work with local communities to identify the roadways that are most in need of improvements, and could most benefit from federal expertise. Then, he said the FHWA should work with state and local stakeholders to conduct a Road Safety Audit on these sections of road to kick-start the process. An RSA would examine and analyze the roadway or intersection, including the design of the roads, the traffic flow and mix, and other characteristics, and identify possible safety improvements, like installing crash attenuators for example. Finally, following this audit, Schumer said the FHWA should give high priority for federal funding to the recommended remedies that result from the audit. This funding would ultimately help implement potential hazard mitigation recommendations to help ensure increased safety on the precarious sections of roadway in Westchester and Rockland communities.
Schumer said the RSA in particular is a critical step that would augment local community efforts by providing the FHWA’s technical expertise to supplement the steps already taken to improve the safety of many roadways and intersections. Schumer said the audit would aim to identify the best ways to make dangerous roads and intersection safer for the long term. RSAs are conducted by the FHWA in partnership with state Departments of Transportation and other stakeholders to identify safety hazards and develop recommendations for overall safety improvements to highways. An RSA is a formal process that consists, among other elements, of selecting an RSA team and stakeholders, performing field reviews, conducting an analysis and preparing an RSA report. This report then presents and incorporates findings from the audit into a final project to increase safety. Schumer said the FHWA would work with the NYSDOT and local Westchester and Rockland communities to conduct any audits, which would examine and analyze the road or intersection, including the design of the roads, the traffic flow and mix, and other characteristics, and identify possible safety improvements, like installing crash attenuators. According to the FHWA, RSAs can be used in any phase of project development, from planning and preliminary engineering, to design and construction. RSAs can also be used on any sized project from minor intersection and roadway retrofits to mega-projects.
Schumer was joined by Thomas Roach, Mayor for the City of White Plains, and other local officials.
A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter to the FHWA appears below:
Dear Acting Administrator Nadeau:
I write to urge the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to work with the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and communities in Westchester and Rockland Counties to increase the safety of roadways and intersections in the Lower Hudson Valley.
A recent Journal News report detailed concerning data about the crash rates and level of safety of roads in the Lower Hudson Valley. According to the Journal News analysis of NYSDOT data, the Lower Hudson Valley has 133 roadway segments with some of the highest crash rates in the state. Many of these sections of roadway have significantly more accidents than the state average for a similar roadway. For example, in 2014, a stretch of Route 202 in Haverstraw was ranked among the twenty most accident-prone sections of road in the state with more than ten times the number of accidents as a similar roadway.
Fortunately, NYSDOT and communities across the Lower Hudson Valley are taking steps to improve the safety of many of these roadways and intersections. However, federal expertise and resources are needed to identify the areas that are most in need of improvements, to develop recommendations, and to implement the measures needed to improve safety. Therefore, I urge the FHWA to work with local communities to identify the roadways that are most in need of improvements, and could most benefit from federal expertise, and to then work with state and local stakeholders to conduct a Road Safety Audit. A Road Safety Audit would examine and analyze the roadway or intersection, including the design of the roads, the traffic flow and mix, and other characteristics, and identify possible safety improvements, like installing crash attenuators. Finally, I would urge that any potential hazard mitigation recommendations produced by a Road Safety Audit be given a high priority for federal highway funding so that improvements can begin as soon as possible.
Thank you for your attention to this important request.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
Cc: NYSDOT Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll
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