A permanent plan for downtown Scarsdale and a solution to traffic and safety issues across the village may be years away, but a temporary fix to inform the village’s approach going forward is coming soon. may be done.
FHI Studio Consultant Michael Ahillen, Village Planner Greg Cutler, and Village Manager Rob Cole took a look at all the renderings and public feedback on the latest presentation of the Scarsdale Strategic Place Making and Mobility Plan, held at the Scarsdale Board of Trustees. I have drawn a clearer picture of what will lead to better results. Work Session Tuesday, October 25th.
The FHI’s final plans and recommendations will be posted on www.scarsdalemobility.com by Monday, October 31st.
“The recommendations that will be part of the final plan are not materially different from what we have seen so far,” said Cutler. “It’s really a tweak and sort of narrowing down what the recommendations and suggestions are that they prefer, but with previous presentations and draft plans…there are a lot of different options. We still have these alternatives, but I have a consultant recommendation.”
Once posted, the community, village staff and village board can start digesting the plan before moving on to the next stage. The next stage is to discuss an optional “progressive approach to implementation”. Opportunities for feedback will lead to something lasting.
Cutler confirmed that “no aesthetically pleasing intervention is done before investing heavily in more permanent infrastructure.”
Mayor Jane Veron said the illustrations presented so far are “conceptual” and that the “Scarsdale aesthetic” and “characters” have not yet been considered. was one of the reasons the village didn’t invest heavily in the design stage until they found they would accept those designs.
Ahilen praised the “community-driven process” supported by the village board and village staff, saying that all feedback was documented and considered in the “idea” and “concept development” and “further It’s been fine-tuned and developed over time.” ‘ That process will continue from temporary to permanent, he said, noting that the underlying theme of the work remains pedestrian and bicycle safety, and that “all users It emphasizes creating a ‘accessible’ multimodal model and also takes into account the importance of creating accessible parking for local businesses and improving traffic flow, circulation and safety.
“There will continue to be further design iterations before anything is implemented,” Ahillen said. “I mentioned the term ‘final plan’, but we’re still talking about draft concepts here. These are for discussion. For example, aesthetics is something that still needs to be worked out. ..”
Although “very different from Scarsdale,” Ahillen noted that the “tactical urbanism” approach in Jersey City, New Jersey was taken and could be used locally. Ahillen calls it “a unique experience that is important to our region.”
“This is a municipal and community-led implementation approach that focuses on low-cost materials and scalable interventions…all aimed at creating long-term change,” he said. I got
Pilot programs are key to tactical urban planning, and Scarsdale knows it well. The Dine the ‘Dale tent, which occupied 12 parking spaces and blocked off the village’s main road during the COVID-19 pandemic, is now in his area downtown, along with more sidewalk seating at restaurants. A great boon, its pilot will be part of future discussions.
Ahilen said several pilot programs, including temporary curb extensions to shorten sidewalks, temporary road closures to check traffic flow, and holding events with various areas closed. can be conducted for 2 hours, 1 day, or 2 weeks. Then you can weigh the pros and cons before moving on to the next step.
Public art is already part of downtown Scarsdale’s placemaking, with students participating in planters outside dining tents and murals on East Parkway. Ahillen said tapping into these resources and relationships is key to keeping Scarsdale vibrant and preserving its historical and color scheme aesthetics.
“There are various ways in which we can incorporate local character into some of these temporary designs while also developing some safety benefits,” he said.
As far as mobility on roads like Sprague Road, where residents hope to reduce both speeds and vehicle numbers, testing phases are being employed to test different methods of slowing and diverting traffic. will be
“We can really accept that we can implement it within six months of the project being completed, and that a) it works from a technical standpoint, and b) we understand what the community members want. And you can actually do it,” Ahillen said.
Trustee Jonathan Lewis asked about the process going forward. Cole said village staff met earlier in the day to discuss.
“What we envision is what might follow this general path,” he said. “We consider the final recommendations from our consultants, informed by a very rigorous public disclosure process…we identify potential opportunities for tactical urban planning. and prioritize those subsets to go first, then engage a partner who is a civil engineer or traffic engineer who can provide design specifications for your tactical urbanization project, including exact locations, dimensions, etc. We will contract companies like FHI, who have representatives on the DPW side, to implement these interventions and save money in terms of actual implementation costs.”
Costs will then be taken into consideration before the village decides how and when to move to a more permanent solution, along with more community feedback on each pilot, plus quantitative measures to measure effectiveness. data is collected.
Trustee’s Jeremy Gans said the third-year dining tent is a perfect example of “what to build,” and what happens across the village in tactical urban planning for the best end result. is a good way to understand
“We want to keep the momentum going here to try out some of these concepts and make our wonderful village center even better,” Gans said.
When councilor Ken Mazer asked about gathering feedback, Ahillen said he believes it will continue to be strong based on how engaged the community has been so far. “We’re going to really embody multiple avenues to reach people,” he said, noting that his QR code on each pilot’s site would be a useful approach. .
Veron said when she first joined the board and various parking meters and payment methods were being tested, negative community feedback prompted the board to reverse course and come up with a better solution. said. Feedback is very important, she noted.
Cutler said the “phasing and prioritization” will be based on safety priorities, but noted that funding will also be a major part of the decision-making process. will take time and its timeline is difficult to predict.
Trustee Samir Ahuja said there are a lot of ideas to try out in a short period of time, saying, “If it’s a bad idea, you’ll learn it quickly. A lot of analysis… maybe try a few things.” , let’s run it right away and see what happens.”
Susan Douglas, President of the Scarsdale Forum, chairman of the Downtown Revitalization Commission and member of the Senior Advisory Board, said she would like to see “low-cost beautification” in addition to bigger changes. I was.
Another priority is walkability, as 20% of the village’s population is over 60 years old. She said it was “difficult” to get to and from the Freightway car park, and even when people working in the village were offered free parking on the fifth floor, it was little used and the merchants parked in front of the shop. I said keep parked. Veron said connecting the village to Freightway should be safer, more fun and more accessible.
In a public comment, former councilor David Shulman reminded councilors that more and more residents are being run over by vehicles crossing the Popham Road from Overhill these days, and Madelaine Eppenstein said the village crosswalk is one on the list. I wanted to know the extent to which I called it a “crisis.” ”
Veron said several “piecemeal” approaches have been tried under several mayors over the years, from moving crosswalks to changing traffic lights, adding signs and installing new barriers. explained. She said that’s why the village now takes a “holistic approach.”
Cole says engineering firms in the past have not been effective at making progress.
“In going into this effort, we were very conscientious and said, ‘Let’s do this differently,’” he said. “Let’s expand our toolbox and bring in companies that can look at problems holistically rather than at specific complaint sites. While these sites are very important. It’s like looking at an environmental problem, you can’t just plant one tree and think you’re done and fix the floodplain, you need to get it as an ecosystem Just as the principles that apply to ecological science apply to community design and development, we need to step back and see what’s going on and develop and apply new tools. I think FHI has given us a pretty good roadmap for us to start exploring new tools and new strategies, testing them and getting additional feedback.”
Call priority is to “take the time to get it right” and to get it right “once”.