Intersections where the sidewalk extends into the street and effectively narrows the area vehicles can travel, called “bump-outs,” have caused trouble in village and should not be encouraged in the village’s updated comprehensive plan. This was the message of village special projects coordinator Alex Wade, speaking at the March 1 board meeting.
The idea behind bump-outs is to increase the safety of pedestrian crossings by decreasing the distance pedestrians need to travel, forcing cars to slow down, and discouraging cars from blocking near intersections, which limits visibility.
But Wade believes this design causes more problems than it solves when used on relatively narrow streets.
“The mayor, Eyal [Code Enforcement Officer Eyal Saad] and I and the head of the senior center fought the DOT pretty hard to stop them from doing that because trucks cannot make that turn,” said Wade. “Those things pile up with snow and they’re just a nuisance, and they provide no safety.”
Wade said he doesn’t want the comprehensive plan to endorse the bump-outs, because it could encourage the DOT to install them on other streets in the village as well; for instance, Market Street and Ulster Avenue, another intersection where Wade believes the streets are too narrow to support them. Wade suggested that the comprehensive plan, a draft of which has been completed, state that while bump-outs may be suitable for wider roads in the town, they are not suitable for the village.
Trustee Jeannine Mayer said that the plan does specify that bump-outs could be used “if applicable.” Wade agreed that that is the wording, but it may not be enough “to fight against the DOT. The DOT said that about the one on Washington Avenue.” Mayor Bill Murphy noted that applicable may be interpreted in various ways by different people; Wade agreed that the DOT may see a bump-out as applicable, while the village may not.
“I agree, make it town-only or if it is in the village it must be approved by the Village Board,” Murphy said.