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Orangetown Requests Grant for Pearl River Intersection Safety Project

Orangetown will request a Community Development Block Grant to pay for a $180,000 project to upgrade the intersection of Central Ave. and Middletown Road in Pearl River to make it more friendly to pedestrians.

ShopRite and CVS Pharmacy sit on opposite sides of the street at the intersection of Middletown Road and Central Avenue in Pearl River.

Walking from one to the other often presents a challenge.

"The intersection is not pedestrian friendly. It is unfriendly," Orangetown Highway Department Superintendent Jim Dean said at Tuesday's Orangetown town board meeting. "The other issue is from there all the way down to Blauvelt Road, there is not a pedestrian-friendly crossing of that road (Middletown). If you want to cross that road, you have to be nimble."

That concern led to the decision to submit a request for $180,000 in Community Development Block Grant money to redesign the intersection to make it safer for pedestrians.

The Orangetown Town Board voted to approve the application during Tuesday's meeting at Orangetown Town Hall. Sister Peggy Scarano of the Citizens' Advisory Committee said the application is due Thursday to the County of Rockland Community development Office for consideration.

"I'd be afraid to cross it," Councilman Tom Morr said. "This is a good idea."

The opening of the project description reads:

"The Town of Orangetown proposes to undertake a 'Public Facilities Improvement Project.' All improvements will take place on publicly owned property. The objective of the project is to redesign and enhance the intersection of North Middletown Road and Central Avenue in Pearl River to protect pedestrians and promote walking as a safe, healthy and sustainable mode of transportation for seniors, persons with disabilities, students and shoppers."

The proposed project would include:

  • Curb cuts to enable elderly, disabled people and children to safely cross the intersection.
  • Installation of a new traffic signal and controller
  • ADA compliant detectable warning plates in curb ramps
  • Audible pedestrian signals at all crossings

According to the proposal, there have been approximately 233 accidents at the intersection since 2001. Two of those were fatalities in which a pedestrian was struck by a motorist. 

Dean estimated that other than changing light bulbs, no work has been done on the traffic signals at that intersection in 30 years. 

"This is definitely a need the town of Orangetown has," Dean said. "We haven't been able to fund it. It's a big expense. The pedestrian situation is not what it should be.

Check back with Patch for more from Tuesday's meeting. 

Sydney Smith January 30, 2013 at 12:40 PM
As a driver that intersection has always been a tough one. They must keep in mind the hundreds of cars going to and from Blue Hill and headed to the city each day, and all of the parents that for some reason fell they must drive the kids to school. That is one busy place.
Siobhan O'Neill January 30, 2013 at 12:57 PM
Good news..Crossing from the Gulf Mart to C.V.S is dangerous. I also hope they would put in a traffic light at the Holt Drive-Middletown Road intersection, this is a very dangerous spot as well. Students from the High School use this crossing everyday, and there is a lot of traffic.
C January 30, 2013 at 01:57 PM
This is a great idea...hopefully it includes closing the Entrance/Exit to CVS off Middletown Road. This was a complete design flaw when CVS 1st moved to this location. Can't understand why traffic isn't diverted onto Washington or Henry Street instead of directly across from Shop-Rite entrance and next to Washington Avenue.
Jimmy January 30, 2013 at 01:58 PM
Good idea but that intersection recently had a new light installed that made it way better for cars. Dean has to get out there more.
C January 30, 2013 at 02:12 PM
New light is great for travel coming East up Central Avenue but it is a nightmare trying to make a left out of CVS from Middletown Road exit. You have every car coming out of Shop-Rite making a right, cars coming out of Washington Avenue and cars trying to make left's into Shop-Rite parking lot, nevermind if it's the morning taking Zimi traffic into account. Close the Entrance/Exit to CVS off Middletown Road
Hugh January 30, 2013 at 03:00 PM
a light at washington and main makes sense too unless the OPD actually would like to enforce speed limits
C January 30, 2013 at 04:41 PM
Hugh - that's a 3 way intersection with a stop sign. A traffic light 200 yards South at Middletown and Main, no need for a light there
freebirdsteff January 30, 2013 at 05:23 PM
Funny to read this today as I parked at CVS and when they didn't have the item I needed I went to cross over to Shoprite..Seeing all the cars coming from all directions I turned back ,got in my car and drove over,,,
Ryan Buncher (Editor) January 30, 2013 at 05:28 PM
A reader brought this up on the Pearl River Patch Facebook page. Another concern is students from the high school cross Middletown Road near that intersection quite a bit.
Sydney Smith January 30, 2013 at 07:21 PM
Good thinking Chris.
MA January 30, 2013 at 07:27 PM
So much for the Traffic Studies done before CVS was built. The Planning Board/Town Engineers should have seen this flaw and mitigated it before approval. They have the authority to put restrictions or recommendations in place for a better outcome for the entire community not just for the applicant. There has always been foot traffic in that corridor in addition to the close proximity of the High School. Better eyes going forward, please.
Anonymous January 30, 2013 at 10:32 PM
I agree with some of the readers here... it's impossible if you need to cross from CVS/Washington over to Shoprite/Zimis.. personally, I agree with closing off that entrance/exit from CVS onto middletown, no left into shoprite off middletown, and I don't think this involves the town as much as the owner of the space, but can we connect the parking lots between Zimis, the Liquor store and shoprite? It be much easier moving in and out and the traffic in the morning there would be much easier.
Mike January 31, 2013 at 02:33 AM
Add the fact that the PRSD eliminated bussing for basically all HS students and the need for safety at that intersection is increased even more.
Andy Stewart, Orangetown Supervisor January 31, 2013 at 04:21 AM
Wow - these are great comments and observations of the traffic situation at this key intersection. I will forward these ideas to our planning board and highway department. Meanwhile, let's keep our fingers crossed that the Town succeeds in our pursuit of the grant to fund the overhaul of the intersection to make it more pedestrian friendly.
Andy Stewart, Orangetown Supervisor February 11, 2013 at 09:55 PM
Good question! In addition to the Orangetown effort, we need to get Rockland County Highway Dept involved because it is a County Rd....
John Seymour February 12, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Thank you Mr. Stewart.

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