Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chappaqua/Pleasantville Meeting

We had the Chappaqua/Pleasantville meeting last night, in my parent's living room, amidst the beginnings of an epic snowsnorm. Members of the Westchester Cycling Club gathered, along with myself and friend/s, to discuss how we could make our local community more conducive to bike and pedestrian use.

Overall, the general consensus was that improvements to State Route 117- a sidewalk or multiuse path, and widening the shoulder for bikes- was essential. Also agreed on was the potential for a multiuse path alongside the train tracks, running from Pleasantville to Chappaqua to Mount Kisco. A sharrowed system of bike paths could also run on local roads with minimal 117 use.

One neighbor mentioned the need for a safe bike path to the North County Trailway entrance in Pleasantville; another mentioned the lack of bus shelters or safe access to bus stops.

I'm in the process of contacting town planners for Chappaqua to find out the status of the sidewalk project, which has already been partially planned and is waiting to be implemented. We discussed the potential for starting a multi-town petition, in the case that the State DOT is in charge of the project, or that the planning board dismisses our ideas.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Congestion Pricing and Westchester

As NYC considers raising the rate of Metrocards (AGAIN); and transportation officials analyze traffic data that shows that over half the city takes public transportation to work, and the ones who drive are "disproportionately affluent", a question is raised:

Who exactly drives in New York City?

And of those drivers, who voted against the legislation?

Well, I, for one, did just this weekend. Granted, I carpooled, but it was still a car. And I did the week before. And the week before that, as well.


Because I live in Westchester. In the suburbs. And while there are very adequate train and bus systems in Westchester, they are either exceedingly expensive(the train: $20 round trip to NY, for a 40 minute ride) , and/or exceedingly time-consuming ($11 round trip, for an hour and a half). The car ride? 45 minutes, with the cost of gas, parking, and maybe a small toll. Money sometimes trumps public transportation advocacy.

Although I haven't yet read the study, I am very inclined to believe that the suburban population of New Yorkers(NY-staters) who work and play in the city, but retreat to the outskirts to live, plays an influential role in holding back congestion pricing. In fact, our representatives voted against it.

Why? Because it could be expensive, and people can't afford it. Because it would put an undue burden on trains, which are already packed to the brim and lacking parking. Because nobody convinced them otherwise.

So, in this time around, I would like to make the argument that, if New York City wants to win Congestion Pricing this time around, transportation advocates need to take some time to get out of the city, and attempt to win over Westchester, Rockland, and Long Island. Or at least one of them.

Because New Jersey can't vote.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bikes, Beers & Cheese!!!

The first meeting of the Chappaqua chapter of the Bike Walk Alliance of Westchester-Putnam! (BWAWP) is in the works.

On Wednesday, February 24th, at 7:30 pm,
Awesome workshop planned to discuss the potential future of biking and town..right here....with brew-skies.

Will include:
*introduction of BWAWP, it's goals, and current actions
*Brainstorming session to choose focused projects for Chappaqua.
*Visions on what is currently planned around Westchester and NYC
*Drawing, photos, and short films!
*yummy snacks and beer!

Come out to support biking and walking; to learn about what's happening in your community; to share your knowledge and opinions; to socialize...and to represent!

Hope to see you there!

BWAWP has plans to set up chapters in each township and hamlet of Westchester and Putnam, to advocate individualized biking plans to meet everyone's needs.

Friday, February 5, 2010


An 11-year-old boy was hit in Pelham yesterday by a drunk driver, with three minors in the car. And the driver will still be allowed to drive to work.

Here's a link to the article on Lower

Thankfully, and incredibly luckily, only the eleven-year-old's shoulder is injured, after he hit the windshield and almost undoubtably totaled his bike. May he heal in time for summer vacation...

White Plains Bike Meeting

Last night, in the cozy home of a White Plains resident, members of the Bike Walk Alliance of Westchester-Putnam (BWAWP) and the East Coast Greenway met with local citizen activists to brainstorm and plan the potential future of biking in the city of White Plains, NY.

White Plains is about 30 miles from New York City, and has around 57,000 residents, many of whom commute into Manhattan daily.

The East Coast Greenway will be building paths in and around the city, and would like the city to fill in some of the infrastructure gaps that local cyclists will continue to feel.

So far, bikers mentioned a lack of safety, lack of bike parking, lack of quality bike parking, and lack of signage; as well as emphasis on cars as the primary transport, and a city rule that reserves an enormous amount of space for car parking

Ideas for potential solutions included securing donations of bike parking facilities; prioritizing an East-West path and a North-South path through White Plains as favorable cycling roads, and developing along those roads through painted sharrows, cycle tracks and bike boxes. Another idea mentioned was inviting city officials to a bike party to raise awareness and good feelings.

A ride around White Plains to determine most desirable boulevards will be held by BWAWP White Plains Chapter in early March.

To get involved with the BWAWP, either in White Plains or other parts of Westchester-Putnam Counties, email:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Westchester County is a county with a tremendous amount of potential, and an enormous carbon footprint. According to Wikipedia, it "covers an area of 450 square miles and has a diverse population of approximately 950,000, residing in 45 municipalities". With the Hudson River on the west, the Long Island Sound and New York City to the South, it is an area rich with rivers, culture, cities, trees, and....some public transportation. And some bike paths.

But not enough.

I grew up, for the most part, in a small town in Northern Westchester named Chappaqua. While Chappaqua is an extremely wealthy area in terms of median income, it is tragic in terms of infrastructure. I have seen third world countries with better conditions. What is so wrong?

The roads have no sidewalks.

The buses have no shelters.

The buses often only come every hour and a half.

There are no bike paths.

The roads are windy, people drive fast, and are dangerous.

There are a number of small introductions that could be done to this area, to make it bike, walk, and public transportation friendly. A number of the residents don't have cars: youth under the age of 16, the elderly, people with disabilities, some immigrants, some NYC natives. My goal with this site is to capture what potential lies in this wealthy area, to inspire conversation and ideally, action. Are you with me? I hope so. If you live in the area, are interested in advocacy and don't know where to begin, please contact me at Thank you!