Comments on the East Fishkill Master Plan
for Public Hearing May 23, 2002 - by Fred Robbins
I have some concerns and some recommendations. The first three items are related.
First, scheduling a hearing as critical as this to the future of the Town of East Fishkill, just prior to a national holiday weekend, and on the first day of the Sons of Italy fair is totally irresponsible.
Second, the communication about scheduling and agendas of all town meetings has been wholly inadequate - including the Master Plan workshops as well as recent regular town board meetings introducing the new Master Plan and the New Laws and Amendments.
Third, the board has presented over 400 pages of new information - that has only been made available, effectively only on the website, and only for the last 12 days. If the Town Code is included, although it has been online since last year, the total is over 700 pages. Considering that only one or two printed copies of these documents are available to the residents, the time to review and understand these documents is inadequate.
I commend you for beginning to make effective use of the town website - that can potentially reach thousands of East Fishkill residents. But the use has been limited.
- All meeting agendas should be finalized and published a minimum of 1 week prior
to any meeting.
- A single legal notice in the Poughkeepsie Journal may satisfy minimal legal
requirements, but is wholly inadequate for informing the majority.
- All documents should be made available a minimum of two months prior to public
- Set up an email news subscription system for automatic resident updates.
As you probably know, our website, dutchess29.org, has provided a single page that links to all the related documents, some on the town website, some on our website.
- Give us more time and informational sessions on the Master Plan. Present the Master Plan and related documents in as much detail as was the "Hopewell Hamlet Pedestrian Plan" - multiple sessions with computer-projected maps, photographs, diagrams, detailed explanations and question-and-answer periods.
- I oppose the building of an interchange at the Taconic and Carpenter Road.
An interchange will affect all those on and near Dutchess County 29, which is
made up of all of Carpenter Road, all of Clove Branch Road, and part of Hillside
Lake Road. This is for the sake of safety, the environment, and community
character - our quality of life.
The Master Plan and the Traffic Circulation Plan do not adequately address this
issue. The Traffic Circulation Plan, as referenced in the Master Plan, is dated March
2001 - prior to the closings of any Taconic Parkway medians.
Building a grade-separated diamond interchange - similar to the one at Miller Hill
Road - will:
- Endanger the lives of motorists as well as the residents when interstate trucks are
re-introduced to the winding, country road.
- Destroy State and Federal wetlands on and adjacent to the Taconic median.
- Sacrifice the character of our neighborhoods.
- Among the 22 at-grade intersections being closed, or being considered for closure,
by the New York State Department of Transportation, Dutchess County 29 is unique
in that it is the only one that is a direct, short-cut connection to and from
- The Town, County, and State have officially stated that trucks cannot be restricted
on Carpenter Road.
- There has been no visible - or effective - traffic enforcement on Carpenter Road in
at least a decade. In the Poughkeepsie Journal on November 22, 2001, the Town of
East Fishkill Police Chief said, "Officers...don't have time for some of the more
routine duties such as traffic enforcement."
- Nick Adam, New York State DOT, stated, "We had people come out and actually
drive the various routes; and most of the routes were less than five minutes. Most of
these closings involve less than a 5-minute alternate route to reach a destination."
- The New York State Police told us that there is no safe place to pull over a vehicle
on Carpenter Road.
- Do not define interstate freight trucks as "local delivery trucks."
- Our issue is only one symptom of the uncontrolled growth and piece-by-piece plans
to make-over our community.
- Keep commercial vehicles in commercial districts and on State roads.
- Provide new non-residential roads without sacrificing existing neighborhoods
by re-zoning. Listen to already-proposed alternatives.
- In support of all fire, police, and other emergency vehicles, provide alternate
median barriers approved by the State:
- More flexible barrier strips
- Retractable barriers
- Bury existing 4-inch barrier base, as Mr. Idema has requested of the DOT
- Remote controlled gates - operated by hand remote control or possibly
by the 911 dispatcher
- Emergency Vehicle U-turn already provided by NY State
[Please see the attached web page printout. (dutchess29.org/solutions.html)]
These alternatives are much less expensive than an interchange and could be
implemented in a much shorter time.
- Fix the existing multi-million-dollar interchanges:
- traffic (stop) lights
- improved on/off ramps
- Update the Traffic Circulation Plan to reflect current traffic conditions.
- We need more time and detailed information sessions on the Master Plan and related documents.
- We need better communication from the Town using internet technology.
- I oppose the creation of a truck route on Dutchess County 29 that will result from the construction of a grade-separated diamond interchange - or any form of public
crossing - at the Taconic Parkway.