Route 22 Corridor Improvements Project
The Town continues to lobby the State of New York Department of Transportation (the “DOT”) to make improvements on the segment of Route 22 from the end of Route 684 to Doansburg Road, a critical quality of life issue that has been unaddressed for decades. This is the Town’s perspective:
· 1996 – 2003 - The DOT first raised the possibility of improving Route 22 in the early 1980’s as it anticipated growth along this major transportation corridor, including growth from neighboring Connecticut. This project languished until 1996, when after petitioning by the Town Board, the DOT commenced its planning process. Based upon recommendations of the Town and its planners, as well as input from several public hearings, a comprehensive plan was developed to address the primary safety issues of head-on collisions and poor line-of-sight, as well as the need for turning lanes to facilitate traffic flow and maintain speed through this corridor. The plans also
included a number of storm water best practices to control storm water run off into the reservoirs. Opposition, including environmentalists from the Jerome Park section of the Bronx and other watershed advocacy groups, pressured the DOT to delay this project due to concern that improvements on this 3-mile stretch of Route 22 would lead to uncontrolled development.
· 2004 - 2005 – As a founding member of the East Dutchess/Putnam Planning Alliance, the Town of Southeast participated in a mediation process where all stakeholders, including Towns and Villages in Putnam and Dutchess Counties along the Route 22 corridor, the DOT and various watershed advocacy groups. This mediation process continued as recent as July 2005, with the Town providing the DOT with a summary of the Town’s recent zoning initiatives which reduced residential development, more stringently regulates wetlands and other factors which will minimize traffic flow on Route 22.
· January 17, 2007 – New York State DOT hold outreach meeting to see if residents had any additional observations about the condition of Route 22.
The Case for Improving Route 22
Below is a compilation of arguments that the Town Board has made during the mediation process in order to gain a consensus that improvements to Route 22 are needed:
· Pollution - After every rain and snowstorm, storm water run-off contaminates the reservoirs unabated. This includes sediment, salt, oil, gasoline and other pollutants that foul the water. The Route 22 plan endorsed by the Town is environmentally responsible, as it will treat storm water before it flows into the reservoirs. The DOT estimates that Average Daily Traffic between Route 312 and Milltown Road is about 36,000 or 13 million cars per year. The emissions coming from millions of cars sitting in traffic is a contributing factor to the American Lung Association’s grading of Putnam’s air quality as an ‘F.’ The longer this project is delayed, the more water
and air pollution residents will have to endure.
· Double Standards - Throughout the region, roads are being expanded along or in the midst of reservoir property. A prime example was the bridge widening project at Route 6 and Simpson Road. Where is the outcry? And yet the Route 22 expansion plan, which has no encroachment on reservoir property, is opposed.
· Commercial Development – Opponents blame the Route 22 congestion on commercial development between Mill Town Road and Route 312. This is misleading as the vast majority of traffic is thru traffic coming from our North and Connecticut. The 36,000 cars that pass through daily are not all pulling into the A&P. If development to our North is an issue, the appropriate strategy is the modification of zoning codes, not perpetuating congestion and polluting the reservoirs. The Town of Southeast has already taken measures to reduce the amount of future residential development and is currently working to enact a new Route 22 over lay zone to ensure that future development along
Route 22 is of a lower density; approximately 77% less density. Southeast is the only town in the region which had instituted building moratoriums in commercial areas (Route 6, Route 312 and Route 22) in order to lower the density of development which is more consistent with our rural heritage.
· Safety – Human beings are being killed and maimed on this dangerous road. In the last 7 years, there have been over 5 fatalities and approximately 600 accidents (some estimate that 90% occur on clear, dry days) on Route 22 in Southeast because of congestion and the lack of safety improvements.
· Brewster Schools – As any parent in the Brewster School District knows, having school buses pick up children at 7:00 AM in order to avoid traffic on Route 22 is a major inconvenience. They will also tell you of their consternation when the school bus in the afternoon is late due to the traffic on Route 22.
· Country Roads – Traffic on Route 22 is forcing drivers to take alternate routes, like Minor Road and Brewster Hill Road. These are country roads that were never intended to accommodate congestion and speeding. Improving Route 22 would keep traffic off our local roads and help to retain the rural character of these residential areas.
Route 22 Corridor Improvements Project
Attached are selected documents drafted by the Town and its Planners in conjunction with facilitating improvements to Route 22; this is not an exhaustive list of all correspondence.
· January 31, 2007 – Memo to New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) from New York City Department of Environmental Protection
· December 8, 2006 – Memo to Town of Southeast from New York State Department of Transportation (DOT)
· December 6, 2006 – Memo to Town of Southeast from DOT
· July 12, 2005 – Memo to New York State DOT – This memo includes a summary of certain zoning amendments made by the Town of Southeast to help ensure that future growth in Southeast would not exasperate conditions on Route 22, i.e. the implementation of the 4-acre minimum lot size for residential development. The letter also clarified number of Zoning Board of Appeals variances granted.
· February 25, 2005 – Letter to Town of Southeast from New York State Department of Transportation (DOT)
· February 3, 2005 – Letter to New York State Department of Transportation (DOT)
· February 4, 2004 – Letter to New York State Governor from Honorable Willis H. Stephens, Jr.
· January 27, 2004 - Letter to New York State DOT
· November 8, 2002 - Memo to New York State DOT – This document provided the DOT with the Town’s recommendation for improving the Route 22 corridor. This document endorses a plan that improves traffic flow and reduces storm water runoff into the reservoir system: Supports a four lane highway from Doansburg Road South to Milltown Road, with a center turning lane for left hand turns. Also calls for a four lane highway south of Milltown (with a stone faced median), sidewalks and other pedestrian friendly improvements.
· January 4, 2001 – Memo to New York State DOT – This was the Town of Southeast’s comprehensive review of the 2000 plan and its recommendation for Route 22 improvements.
· January 6, 2000 – Letter to New York State Governor
· October 14, 1999 – Letter to New York State Governor
Residents interested in writing letters to support making improvements to Route 22 are encouraged to write to:
Honorable David Paterson
Governor, State of New York
Albany, New York 12247
Honorable Vincent L. Leibell
1441 Route 22, Suite 205
Brewster, New York 10509
Honorable Greg Ball
D.B. Smith Gov't Campus, Bldg 2
110 Old Route 6
Carmel, New York 10512
Honorable Robert Bondi
Putnam County Executive
40 Gleneida Avenue
Carmel, New York 10512
Fax (845) 225 0715
Joan Dupont, P.E.
State of New York
Department of Transportation
4 Burnett Boulevard
Poughkeepsie, New York 12603
Mr. Robert G. Smisko, Jr., PE
New York State Department of Transportation
4 Burnett Boulevard
Poughkeepsie, NY 12603
Next steps –
· Moratorium on the Route 22 corridor continues in order to give the Town time to update its zoning to reflect the fact that Route 22 is a traffic impaired highway. New zoning changes will reduce the density of commercial development and require any new projects to mitigate or reduce any adverse traffic impacts as a condition of approval.
· Will continue to lobby the State to improve this critical transportation corridor road.