Beast of Burton: One Resident’s Frustration with Traffic
Burton Road is located in the Town of Mamaroneck, directly off of Palmer Avenue. It is one block from Richbell Road, a main connection between Palmer and Boston Post Road.
Burton Road is also a shortcut for many that wish to avoid the lights on Richbell Road to quickly get to Trader Joe’s or Boston Post Road.
Alhough Burton is a dead end road, traffic can pass through a steep “private driveway”, owned and maintained by Larchmont Acres Apartments. This leads into a private parking lot owned by Larchmont Acres . Traffic can further drive into Trader Joe’s parking lot or alternatively all the way out to Boston Post Road. The overwhelming majority of traffic entering Burton Road are doing so to drop off their children at a gated opening to the Central School , to shop at Trader Joe’s & to just avoid 2 lights if they were to take Richbell Road to Boston Post Road.
The volume of this traffic has only increased in the 10 years I have been a homeowner on this street. This is leading to more and more safety issues for our residents, and more importantly, for our children who either go to school at Central or want to play in their front yards. All day and night there are cars speeding down the road to get to Trader Joe’s and Boston Post Road. The privately owned driveway at the end of the road can only accommodate one vehicle at a time going up or down the hill. This driveway has no curbs, no barrier & no sidewalk. Although the parking lot at the bottom of the driveway is also privately owned, it is used by hundreds of vehicles per day to either drop off or pickup children from the Central School. There have been quite a few incidents/accidents on this unsafe driveway, and one parent even had her baby stroller hit by a passing vehicle. (Thankfully, the child was no longer in the carriage at the time.) Other homeowners and many residents of the area also have similar stories of past incidents and concerns with this issue.
I have had many communications with Stephen Altieri and Valerie O’Keefe about this issue, the Town Administrator and Town Supervisor. We have also attended several Traffic Committee meetings to address our concerns. We were told on multiple occasions that they could not compel the owners of the private property to do anything about the situation. We proposed they either close the private driveway with a barrier, or place a key carded gate for the private property and make it only accessible to residents of the Larchmont Acres. I was told they would speak to the Town Attorney once again and see if they could do anything about closing this dangerous driveway but have never heard back.
Last year, the Central School sent out a memo to all parents of children attending the school that they were closing the rear gate to the school. This alleviated some of the volume for awhile but the gate has since been re-opened sporadically. This does nothing to alleviate the volume of traffic and safety issues with children being all over the place in this parking lot as cars come from all different directions.
Through our efforts with the Township, the only change we are aware of is the plan to place a secondary “dead end” sign at the top of Burton Road. Unfortunately, this problem has existed for so long that it’s doubtful that this will force a change. Even members of the Traffic Committee have admitted to utilizing Burton Road as a cut through to Trader Joe’s and/or Boston Post Road.
I write blog updates on the situation at www.burtonroad.info
You are so right. This is an issue that some residents at the Acres addressed with the Traffic Committee 20+ years ago. If I recall correctly, The Journal News even did a piece on it. Another Acres resident and I recommended they put speed bumps on both sides of the hill. Obviously no one took us up on our suggestion. Non-residents who are dropping their children off at Central use the “private” parking spaces which have been an issue especially during the afternoon pick-up. At times, I will walk in the middle of the street to stop vehicles from barreling down Burton at excessive speeds. It is nice to see someone else taking up the cause once again. Good Luck to you. Are you listening TOM!
I have lived in the Acres for close to 40 years-and had to walk my children to Central-even when they thought they were old enough to go with friends- to insure that they made it there safely because of this ongoing problem. Burton Rd. is also used by TOM maintenance vehicles as well as the PD vehicles; not to mention, large delivery trucks-even Armored Trucks! I would love to see Burton Rd. with a carded gate-hey it also might cut down on the vandalism which takes place in the parking lot!
We have the same issues on Edgewood/Hillcrest/Preston where people drive fast and reckless with impunity – to get to the train 10 seconds faster or just because it isn’t their own neighborhood. We have made similar attempts to have town management help address them… there is very little follow up and plenty of ‘we really can’t do anything about it.’ Rather amazing that one of the major public safety and quality of life issues won’t be tackled with our own tax dollars. Kids are out playing on sidewalks and streets again, and it is going to be really tragic one of these days. Three people flipped me off yesterday when I motioned to them to slow it down.
[quote][i]Section 1225. Avoiding intersection or traffic control device.
No person shall drive across or upon a sidewalk, driveway, parking lot or private property, or otherwise drive off a roadway, in order to avoid an intersection or traffic control device.[/i][/quote]
I am the writer of the above article and wanted to thank those who have commented.
@ Oreo – I’ve been aware of the code you have quoted, but it doesn’t appear to matter. The Township considers the drivers that utilize Burton Road to cut through private property and out to Boston Post Road to be fully complying with the law. They have stated that Larchmont Acres owns the private property and are within the law in allowing any and all traffic they choose to utilize their property. And good luck anyway trying to get the police to issue such citations. As it is, if someone illegally parks on our road it is extremely rare if they are issued a citation – the Township has told us we should call each and every time someone does so. If we have so much trouble getting them to issue citations to parked vehicles, I don’t think expecting them to issues citations to moving vehicles is a viable solution!
@ Buttonupburton – I’ve investigated this issue thoroughly and have found the same, that this issue has been complained about for decades – with very little results. The worst part is that many have told me they faced the same frustrations as I have – that they complain and are told the issue would be looked into and they would get back in touch with them (Town Supervisor), only to never hear from them again.
@ Pam Moran – I agree with you 100%. Town Vehicles and Police Cruisers are cutting through the private parking lot all the time. Why would a resident avoid doing so when they see the Township doing it! The “dead end” has become just another road running parallel to Richbell, only this road has no lights. I also agree that a carded gate system would solve this entire issue, but the Town has stated that it would need to be Larchmont Acres responsibility to install it at their own expense and that they could not compel them to do so – and it would appear thus far that the Acres doesn’t care about the traffic utilizing their private party.
At any rate, the Township, Larchmont Acres & the School District have been put on notice about the various safety hazards. God forbid someone gets hurt badly down the road, the liability issues and the fact that they were notified about the issues will leave the results squarely on their shoulders.
[quote][i]Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced.[/i]
– Albert Einstein[/quote]
You’re welcome Mr. Lutz.
Perhaps with all due respect to Mr. Einstein, a corollary to the above is that equally destructive of respect for government, is when government does not respect the people to whom it is pledged to serve or when it enforces laws whimsically and unfairly.
Other observations unfortunately supports the perceptions cited in the column that the TOM is not appropriately responsive to all its constituents. But it appears that state law is overriding TOM’s and it does not contain the exceptions you’ve been told. Perhaps you are due further explanation.