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Orangetown Provides Details Plans for $1.9 Million Grant

The project will use a $1.9 million in federal grant money for safety improvements at and around the intersection of Middletown Road and Central Ave. in Pearl River.

Orangetown HIghway Superintendent Jim Dean said that the town has been trying to make the intersection of Middletown Road and East Central Ave. in Pearl River safer for vehicular and pedestrian traffic for years.

There have been 233 accidents there since 2001, including two pedestrian deaths. The area has a large number of businesses including the CVS and ShopRite on opposite sides of Middletown Road and it is a short walk from Pearl River High School.

The town received the funds to make major safety improvements in the form of a $1.9 million Transportation Enhancement Program grant, which is federal money that comes through the New York State government. Dean spoke about the importance of the upgrades and the implementation during the Orangetown Council workshop Thursday night.

"I am very excited bout receiving this grant that will allow the town to address serious safety concerns for pedestrians and motorists," Dean said. "This grant will enhance traffic flow as well as improve business along this busy corridor. The Highway Department has been working closely for years with Orangetown Police Chief Kevin Nulty and his department as well as Guy DiVincenzo, chairman, and all of the members of the Orangetown Traffic Advisory Board, trying to address residents' safety concerns along North Middletown Road and East Central Ave. in Pearl River.

"We've been trying to make little positive things happen there, but iwthout spending substantial amounts of money, it was just baind aids. Now we have the opportunity to get things done there. It's not going to happen overnight, but we got $1.9 million for pedestrian and motorist safety."

The town had been pursuing funding to address the area, including requesting a Community Development Block Grant last year, but those efforts had not been successful. Supervisor Andy Stewart asked the board to approve the use of consultant Sylvia Welch to write the proposal for the Transportation Enhancement Program grant, which the board approved in July

"It's a great plan," Diviny said of the project. "I don't want to forget that it wouldn't have happened if the town board didn't go along with Andy and bring in our grant writer. That's what was needed to bring the effort together. For years, we've talked about how we should get more grants."

"I commend our town Highway Superintendent Jim Dean and our town staff for teaming up with our grant writer, Sylvia Welch, to put this project together," Stewart said. "It's really exciting to see the return on investment in grant writing, and I thank the members of the town board for supporting the grant writing project. I also thank (Assemblywoman) Ellen Jaffee and (Senator) David Carlucci for supporting the grant, and of course Governor (Andrew) Cuomo and the state agencies involved."

Dean also complemented the work of the other department heads contributing information and that of Stephen Munno, the senior administrative assistant for the Orangetown Highway Department. He also cautioned the board and the public that the project will take time, in part because many parts of the work will need state approval.

"There are many guidelines we have to meet before the next step," Dean said. "I anticipate it will take close to a year to have the design engineering company (in place)."

The town received official notice of the grant award Thursday, so the next step is to meet with the Regional Eight Local Projects Unit. Dean projected that to happen some time in the next two weeks. He provided estimates for how long the various steps might take during 2014:
  • Project placed on Traffic Improvement Project and State Traffic Improvement Projects list, which (Feb. 1 to March 1)
  • Orangetown submits Preliminary Initial Project Proposal (IPP) and Project Management Plan (PMP) to Region Eight for review (March 1 to April 1)
  • Final IPP and PMP submitted (April 1 to June 1)
  • Project approved by the state. Orangetown Council must approve resolution to enter agreement with state for the grant project (June 1 to Aug. 1)
  • Orangetown submits signed agreements to the state (Aug. 1 to Oct. 1)
  • Orangetown receives fully executed agreement with the state (Oct. 1 to Dec. 1)
  • Once the town has the agreement in place with the state, it can begin looking for an outside consultant to prepare design reports, bid documents and construction inspection.
Dean also provided a list of the planned improvements and a projected timeline. The improvements are broken down into road surface and pedestrian safety improvements, traffic signals and installation of a pedestrian safety zone. They are as follows.

Road Surface and Pedestrian Safety Improvements
  • Removal of 6,00 square feet of old sidewalks
  • Install 3,000 linear feet of new curbs
  • Install 9,000 square feet of new sidewalks
  • Install 40 new ADA compliant sidewalk ramps
  • Drainage and other various utility improvements
  • Road surface improvements and pavement markings
Traffic Signals
  • Install four new and redesigned traffic signals at the intersections of North Middletown Road and Blauvelt Road; North Midletown Road, Braunsdorf Road and Holt Drive; North Middletown Road and Central Ave; and Central Ave. and Williams Street
  • The new traffic signals will include weather stations, video vehicle detection, audible pedestrian crossing signals, fire prevention equipment and decorative poles
Pedestrian Safety Zone
  • Install raised pedestrian traffic island
  • Install three ADA compliant sidewalk ramps
  • Audible pedestrian crossing signals
  • Pedestrian crossing pavement markings

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