While Heritage Hill Road may see some speed calming measures in the future, one Irvington parent said it isn’t soon enough.
Kevin Swersey, a member of the high school and middle school safety committees, has been petitioning the Irvington School District for years to install speed humps on the road that goes through the Irvington High/Middle School complex and leads up to Dearman Park, a residential development that contains 16 high end single family homes.
"The issue at hand is the safety of the students, faculty and citizens in the area,” said Swersey.
Irvington Police Chief Michael Cerone said that speeding is definitely a problem on Heritage Hill Road, where drivers often exceed the speed limit.
“We've never seen any evidence that there is imminent danger to people’s lives there, but it [putting in speed humps] is something we feel is a good idea and we’re moving forward to do it,” said Grados.
Though the high school and middle safety committees have advocated for the speed humps—their installation was halted because of pending litigation between the school district and the Dearman Park Association, according to Beverly Miller, the district's Assistant Superintendent for Finance, who was quoted by Patch in .
Irvington School Board President Robert Grados recently told Patch that the district will eventually install speed humps, but said that the recently amicable settlement of the lawsuit isn’t the reason.
“The litigation wasn't stopping us at all from moving forward with the speed humps,” said Grados. “We continued to pursue the speed humps, while the litigation was active. Now that it’s no longer active, it’s definitely not an impediment.”
Padraic Steinschneider, who is one of two partners in Dearman Park Associates, said Dearman Park residents welcome the school district’s efforts to make Heritage Hill Road safer.
“We would not object to any appropriate safety measures being implemented, provided that they did not interfere with our rights and the rights of the residents in Dearman Park to get safely and easily to and from Broadway,” said Steinschneider. “We have no objection to the installation of speed humps, if the district decides that to be appropriate.”
LAN Associates, who was hired as the district’s architect through a bidding process last winter, is working on creating plans and specifications for the installation of speed humps.
“They are currently busy working on three other district projects and have also just been given the charge to analyze different options to renovate the athletic fields and rectify drainage problems,” said Miller.
Though she isn’t sure when the architect will complete the plans for the speed humps, she is hopeful it won’t take too long.
Once the plan comes back the board has to review it and then discuss it with Dearman Park residents.
“We want to be good neighbors,” said Grados. “We want them to approve any plan for speed humps that the district comes up with. We'd want them to agree with our plan, and if they have any input we'd want to hear their input.”
The district will also have to find money to pay for them, since there isn’t funds currently budgeted for that item.
But Swersey says this is all “smoke in mirrors,” that Grados should commit to a date for installing the speed humps and that they should have been installed when the road was recently paved in order to save money.
“There’s nothing definitive in writing that confirms that this is going to be done, and in times of fiscal uncertainly it should have been planned out as a top priority to save money,” said Swersey. “I’ve been doing this [trying to get the humps installed] for years—and saying that they are going to do it at their own pace is not satisfactory in terms of safety. It should be a priority for everyone involved to get it done as soon as possible. “
Miller said the road was in poor condition and schedule for paving, which had to take place before school started.
“This all started with a recommendation of the safety committee, which is effectively lay people, community members and teachers,” said Grados. “They’re not [traffic] professionals and you can’t just take a recommendation from a committee and move forward and spend money putting in humps. But we took the recommendation under advisement and we're moving forward on it. If someone is making the claim somehow were wasting money I just don’t think that’s true.”