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Dobbs Ferry To Make Streets Safer For Cyclists

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – Dobbs Ferry streets could soon be safer for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers, thanks to the village’s adoption of a Complete Streets policy. The policy, which many other Westchester towns and villages have enacted, requires the government and developers to consider adding safety features for non-vehicle use of roads when new road or upgrades occur.

The move comes at a time when cycling safety is at the forefront of public discussion because of the recent deaths of Sleepy Hollow and Ossining cyclists.

“In the areas of Westchester we haven’t really done much at all,” said Donna Cassell, Dobbs Ferry trustee and traffic committee liaison. “There are lots of great trails and a lot of recreational bike path but I don’t believe we really have enough everyday user bike lanes and paths in the villages.”

Cassell said she finds it surprising there are not more options for non-vehicle transportation because the Rivertowns area is a perfect location for walk and bike travel. One of the main factors holding back bike and pedestrian features is the suburban mentality that revolves around automobile transportation, Cassell said.

“I think there’s a tremendous amount that could be done,” said Michael Oliva, co-founder of the Bike Walk Alliance of Westchester and Putnam. “Most of the roadways around here aren’t safe for the cyclist to ride on. Speeds are generally too high, the biggest problem is enforcement of speed. It’s a major problem.”

Oliva said there are basic improvements towns and villages can take to make streets safer for not only cyclists, but walkers and drivers also. An act as simple as placing bicycle stencils in the middle or side of the road can make drivers more aware of other users on the road, Oliva said.

“I know I have to be more aware when I’m cycling in Westchester,” Oliva said. “I definitely feel safer when I’m cycling in other areas. I feel safer in New York City because they’ve designed better streets.”

Oliva said the Complete Streets policy is generally a good move because it requires those creating or repairing roads to take all users’ safety into consideration.

“You have the money, you’re going to repair a street, why not do it right,” Oliva said. “Hopefully this policy does have teeth.”

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