When John Meyer Consulting Principal Richard Pearson told residents Monday night that their analyses revealed that Beacon Hill Drive could accomodate the added traffic from the proposed , there was audible laughter from the residents in attendance.
Pearson and fellow company principal Jim Ryan came to Dobbs Ferry's for the second of three public hearings on Rivertowns Square Monday night to present their analyses of 10 of the more than 30 major intersections developers Saber Dobbs Ferry LLC and Lincoln Dobbs Ferry hired them to assess for the impacts of the proposed shopping center and apartment complex on local traffic.
The analyses shown were done on a weekday afternoon and a Saturday afternoon. "Stores won't open until around 10 a.m., so the added traffic from the development should not affect school buses and the morning rush," Pearson said.
Remember the once popular computer game SimCity—in which kids, and adults after their kids had gone to bed—sat for hours creating fictitious cities complete with buildings, parks and streets?
"The electronic Synchro analysis we'll show tonight was actually based off of that technology," said Ryan, as he set up his computer and projector screen before the meeting. "We reviewed the intersections identified by the Dobbs Ferry Board of Trustees as outlined in the scoping document—that includes both state and local roadways."
Pearson and Ryan came prepared to present 10 major intersections, though time before the public hearing allowed them to show residents electronic simulations of only five: Lawrence Street and the Saw Mill River Parkway, Ashford Avenue and Washington Avenue, Beacon Hill Drive and Ashford Avenue, Beacon Hill Drive and Ogden Avenue and Ogden Avenue and Ashford Avenue.
The Synchro presentation juxtaposed current traffic at a certain time in the afternoon (on both a weekday and a Saturday) and "build" traffic once the proposed development is up and running—both on the same screen—so that residents could see the cars and trucks moving through each intersection before and after development.
"We used both electronic traffic counters on the roads and manual counters—or people who actually count vehicular traffic passing through an intersection," Ryan said. "There are established protocols for how to do this."
Intersections that garnered the most objection from residents were the crossings of Beacon Hill and Ashford Avenue and Beacon Hill and Ogden Avenue.
"Where is all the traffic coming down Beacon Hill?" called out Ogden Avenue resident David Gralnick. "I only saw one car."
In her statement later, resident Roxana Avalos said that she'd seen the hired traffic-counter with his "counter in one hand and a book in the other"—on more than one occasion.
Attorney for the Developers Mark Weingarten said, "I hear chuckling in the back, but remember that this is only one tool for looking at traffic. Our plans call for a number of structural improvements to the current traffic conditions."
The Village of Dobbs Ferry has hired its own consultants—paid for by the developers—who will present their analyses to the board of trustees as well.
"We hope to have those reports ready by the Jan. 23 meeting," said village engineering consultant Dwight Douglass.
Whether the extrapolated traffic analysis is accurate, nobody will truly know until if and when Rivertowns Square becomes a reality.
"We believe [the analysis] is right," Ryan said before the meeting. "The protocols developed are tried and true. Whether people will have more confidence in the traffic impact after seeing the Synchro analysis remains to be seen."
The third (and final) public hearing is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 23 at 6:30 p.m. also in the Embassy Club.
Do you have more confidence that the proposed Rivertowns Square will not have an egregious effect on traffic patterns in Dobbs Ferry after seeing Pearson and Ryan's presentation? Which intersections concern you the most?
*Editor's note: This article was originally published with Synchro Analysis misspelled. It has since been corrected. We regret the error.