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Studies Performed for Chappaqua Housing Proposal

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. - Conifer Realty returned to Town Hall on Tuesday night after performing traffic and fire studies on its affordable housing proposal at the request of the New Castle Planning Board.

The studies were performed in response to concerns that were raised at previous meetings about the possibility of extra tenants disrupting traffic and the building being difficult to reach in the event of a fire.

For the study, Conifer tracked from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. - peak hours at two intersections: Quaker Road and Hunts Place, and Hunts Place and Saw Mill River Parkway's exit 32 northbound off-ramp.

Mike Pierson, Conifer's traffic engineer, said there are currently delays along the westbound approach of Hunts Place to the signalized intersection of Quaker Road.

"There is simply not enough green time given to the Hunts Place traffic and there's excess green time given to Quaker," Pierson said.

Pierson said he believes Conifer's project would not further disrupt traffic and would only add 16 additional vehicles in the morning and 17 in the evening.

"Apartment buildings generate less traffic per unit basis as compared to single family units and some other residential units, which have larger families and more vehicles per unit," Pierson said.

While Pierson said he does not believe the traffic generated from the units will be significant, he recommended eight more seconds of green time be given to Hunts Place drivers.

"Regardless of whether or not the improvement is done, our site traffic does not impact the levels of service at the intersection," Pierson said. "The levels of service will be the same with our without our project."

Planning Board member Sheila Crespi asked for the evening study to be expanded to 8 p.m. for a better representation of traffic coming from the Saw Mill River Parkway, which Conifer agreed to.

Reporting on a meeting with the Chappaqua Fire Department, architect Gary Warshauer said the department would be able to use the exit 32 off-ramp to stage its vehicles and equipment, which concerned planning board members.

"If the fire trucks come under the bridge, down Hunts Place, and pull up the ramp, they can collide with a car that has no idea that a truck is about to pull up and stop traffic on the parkway," said Crespi.

According to Crespi, the quickest alternative route to get to the exit 32 ramp without reversing traffic would be to go to Pleasantville and enter the parkway on exit 30, which he said would significantly lower the response time.

"I see problems with both ways of responding using the exit," said Crespi. "I think there are real safety issues there."

Conifer agreed to speak with Westchester County Police about using the off-ramp and will further expand the traffic and fire studies. The studies, along with comments from the planning board, will be presented to the New Castle Town Board, which will ultimately make a ruling on the building.

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