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Comments on the East Fishkill Master Plan
for Public Hearing May 23, 2002 - by Bill Behr

There seems to be a basic inconsistency between the new master plan with its call for an overpass at Carpenter and the Taconic and the need to maintain and improve the safety along the Taconic and its access roads. The median strip was rightly closed -- belatedly closed-- to save lives at the worst intersection on the Taconic. It has worked. But if CR29 is reopened as a contiguous road as proposed in the plan, with a new overpass or underpass, the result will be to shift the danger zone to the little country road that will go over or under that pass. the accidents won't be on the overpass or the Taconic anymore -- they will be in people's front yards as the road becomes an ever-more-dangerous truck route. This is not explained in the plan because it's the secret plan. This little road -- known as Carpenter, or Clove Branch as it moves from 52 to 376 -- is not designed to handle the traffic that would speed over it.

For those of you who do not know, route 29 is a windy hilly rural road. We who live along it, have complained for years of the speeding cars and trucks that drive by --- even the police have said they cannot control this traffic. Why? Because the road is too narrow and there is no place to safely position a police car with out causing a road hazard. I have seen it shift from a bucolic country lane with two small bridges to a major interstate trucking route and back to the country road it was intended to be. The current status is now only a temporary measure. We need to make it permanent. During the time though, when truckers used CR29 as a connector to I-84 it provided a useful through which to see the future, if permanent changes are not enacted now. Trash was strewn everywhere. Hundreds of trees have died near the Taconic as a result of increased exhaust from diesel engines. This is destined to get even worse given the master plan. The two small bridges have been rebuilt in the last few years to withstand the weight of very very big 40 ton trucks (That's because the planners or misplanners involved expect those big trucks to take this little road as a shortcut north from route 84).

Who cares if another part of the wetlands is destroyed ? Who cares if a few more kids get nearly killed -- or worse-- when they walk down this road to their school bus stop early in the morning or back later in the day? Who cares if people can't enjoy sitting on the front side of their homes to enjoy the evening air because a truck might tumble off the narrow road onto their lawns?

Who cares about any of this if it saves the developers and the truckers a few minutes and a few bucks en route to their bottom lines. This is an environmentally sensitive wetlands area which is critical for the filtration of water which we all rely upon to drink.

There is an irony about the whole issue. The town of East Fishkill, our town, has on the home page of its official website a beautiful picture of the Fishkill Creek with a cascading waterfall surrounded by verdant foliage and colorful flowers. If the town's recommendations are enacted, this scene and the natural beauty of our community will no longer be visible. The trucks will be going so fast and thick on route 29, no one will be able to take in the scenery. More trees will die and major health problems will result from drinking polluted water which has been inadequately filtered by our wetlands. Not a pretty sight.

Shame on you for putting the financial interests of the trucking industry before the health and peace of mind of our community.

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