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Major Traffic Changes Considered For Downtown Chappaqua

A drawing that shows a two-way scenario for lower King Street. Photo Credit: WSP/Screen shot
A list of changes for a temporary overhaul of the King Street/South Greeley Avenue intersection. Photo Credit: WSP/Screen shot
A map showing temporary changes proposed for the King Street/South Greeley Avenue intersection Photo Credit: WSP/Screen shot
Proposed traffic changes near the triangle in downtown Chappaqua, which forms the intersection of South Greeley Avenue and Quaker Street. Photo Credit: WSP/Screen shot
A chart showing removal of a slip lane at the intersection of Washington Avenue and South Greeley Avenue. Photo Credit: WSP/Screen shot

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- Downtown Chappaqua could see major shifts in traffic and parking at prominent intersections as part of a proposed overhaul of the corridor under consideration.

New Castle Town Board members, who received a report last week of the measures from consulting firm WSP, expressed favorable feedback to a temporary measure for the intersection of King Street and South Greeley Avenue. It involves adding a stop sign to the downhill section of King, along with eliminating the slip lane (a traffic island) for making eastbound turns from South Greeley to the King Street Hill. The slip lane would be replaced with a new turning lane. A new crosswalk is proposed, which would cover a section of South Greeley that includes Starbucks on one side and Great Stuff on the other.

As part of the temporary intersection measure, a "Qwik Curb" would be installed, which would eventually be replaced with permanent curbing as part of the downtown overhaul. The construction is estimated to take two to three months and cost $23,000 to $25,000. It would also require state Department of Transportation approval.

Town Supervisor Rob Greenstein called the addition of a crosswalk “something that absolutely should be done.”

The reconfiguration of the intersection would be made permanent under the overhaul for downtown being considered, although the curbing and streetscape materials would be changed.

Board members noted that the proposal at the intersection would mean adding a place to cross where people are already doing so.

Other measures, which would be for the long-term project itself but have not received the go-ahead from the board, include making lower King Street a two-way road -- it would lead to the elimination of 10 parking spots as the spaces would be converted from diagonal to parallel as part of a shift from the northern to southern side -- and altering traffic for the triangular intersection downtown.

The triangle's road traffic would be shifted so that eastbound traffic only goes through the southbound leg (lane pair) while the westbound traffic would go through the northbound leg. The triangle, which is at the intersection of South Greeley and Quaker Street, would need to be reshaped in order to accommodate the traffic directional changes, the outcome of which has been likened to a roundabout.

While the triangle change proposal did not elicit concerns that were explicit, feedback appeared to be a mix for making lower King Street a two-way road.

Deputy Supervisor Lisa Katz raised the loss of parking spots and expressed concern about there being a difficult parking situation. She expressed preference for WSP's other proposed scenario for lower King, which would involve keeping it one way with a westbound direction, as it is now, but also shifting diagonal parking spaces to the southern end.

Greenstein explained why he wanted to explore a two-way scenario, citing the potential for drivers in a one-way configuration to get stuck in commuter traffic near the train station during the evening.

WSP's two-way scenario calls for adding a traffic light to the intersection with King and South Greeley, which is not proposed if lower King remains one way. A side effect of the two-way scenario, it was noted, could be that some commuter traffic winds up exiting from lower King instead of from the intersections currently used.

Another proposed change involves getting rid of a slip lane at the intersection of South Greeley and Washington Avenue, which would be meant to help to better align the intersection with the Chappaqua Library's roadway.

WSP will continue its review process of the proposed measures and seek DOT approval for the temporary one.

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