CORTLANDT, N.Y. -- The Cortlandt Daily Voice accepts signed, original letters to the editor. Letters may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org .
The following letter was written by John A. Perillo of Ossining to the Croton-on-Hudson Village Board and residents of the village:
The Perillo family has owned 43 Croton Point Ave., a gateway to the Croton community since 1990. Businesses that have occupied this location include Jean-Jacques Culinary, Caruso’s Italian Deli, Good-to-go Deli and now Giovanni’s Italian American Deli.
Giovanni’s is a “minority/women-owned” business, and it gives me great pleasure to bring such an opportunity to the Village of Croton. However, the village board is planning to spend over $3 million on renovations to Croton Point Avenue that will continue to negatively impact the businesses in the entire area all for political reasons.
The concerns are as follows:
The elimination of parking along the north and south side of the road is currently affecting businesses negatively. It’s outrageous to think that the Village is considering losing business revenues and replacing it with bike lanes that will have limited use and absolutely no financial gain to the Village of Croton. There is 24-hour surveillance documenting daily activity that proves that there are less than 15 bicycles traveling that corridor each month with most cyclists walking their bikes uphill.
Currently, there is no master plan for bike lanes within the community from north, south, east and west of the village. However, there is a partial bike lane that runs on South Riverside Avenue near the Croton Colonial Diner but fades into the curb on top of the road. As a former planner and a person who has been involved in village municipal government for over 35 years, this is simply bad planning.
My attorney and I have met with village officials at municipal hall and have attended village board meetings to discuss this project. The only thing we received in return have been unjustifiable and unproductive statements that I consider biased, prejudice and in bad taste. Likewise, similar comments and concerns from business owners and community members have gone on deaf ears. It is quite clear that there is a lack of concern not only for the businesses in Croton, which are the bread and butter of the village, but also for the community. It’s obvious that this board’s political agenda is blinding them from exercising reasonable and practical judgment; this will result in big financial burdens to all taxpayers once the project is completed.
The board should not spend over $3 million of taxpayer money on this project because I’m sure the village has other more pertinent needs. If they do go forward with the project, they will be held accountable for negligence, irresponsibility and as a board unsuited to govern. Additionally, by embarking on this project, the board is clearly telling the community that they are completely out of touch with today’s economic uncertainties, and more importantly, that they lack concern for the average community member struggling to stay afloat and to stay solvent.
The question then remains, why doesn’t the board consider a common-sense approach and build a bike lane on the south side of Croton Point Avenue with a concrete jersey barrier, as suggested several times before. This compromise will enable them to add a bike lane conducive to cyclist, pedestrians and businesses in the area while focusing on safety first. Another question is why doesn’t the board re-time the sequence of the traffic light on top of Croton Point Avenue, monitor and enforce the village speed limit on that corridor to manage traffic flow. These basic suggestions could result in addressing traffic needs while saving several million dollars in taxpayer money.
Regarding the board’s attempt to justify this project by stating that it will improve traffic flow and will enhance desirability of the parking lot to out-of-town commuters is nonsense! Everybody knows that without any additional enhancements, the parking permit situation in Croton is overflowing with demand; therefore, even if some commuters decide to defect to the Cortland station, there are many anxious commuters waiting to fill these slots making this reasoning completely irrelevant.
Lastly, I take this opportunity to put the Croton Village Board on notice when I say that if they do not restore parking to its original status, as it has been for years, a federal discrimination lawsuit is seriously being considered.
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