============================================================================== Taconic Parkway At-Grade Median Closing Quotes (5/5/00 to 7/13/08) ============================================================================== "The at-grade crossings are our biggest liability on that parkway." - Robert Dennison, Regional Director, NY State DOT, Poughkeepsie Journal, March 5, 2000 ______________________________________________________________________________ "I can't believe that people would actually put convenience over people's safety." - Sgt. Robert Hogan, Traffic Supervisor, New York State Police, Troop K "Clearly there is a higher potential for catastrophic accidents at at-grade crossings on high-speed highways." - Robert Dennison, Regional Director, NY State DOT "Highway to Horror", WNBC Newschannel4, December 15, 2000 [Regarding opposition to closing medians] ______________________________________________________________________________ "...by eliminating some of these at-grade crossings with medians, such as Carpenter Road and Hosner Mountain Road, you add forty minutes to any trip, either by a school bus, a delivery truck, or by any vehicle." - Peter Idema, East Fishkill Town Supervisor, NewsCenter6, March 13, 2001 ______________________________________________________________________________ The last time I checked, it takes 40 minutes for me to reach Danbury, Conn., the Roosevelt Mansion in Hyde Park or relatives in New Paltz from Carpenter Road. What Mr. Idema neglected to say is there are interchanges at Beekman Road (1.1 miles north of Carpenter) and state Route 52 (1.9 miles south of Carpenter), which are already constructed, safe and convenient. They would add perhaps four minutes to travel; certainly not 40. Lynn Robbins, Hopewell Junction - Poughkeepsie Journal, March 24, 2001 ______________________________________________________________________________ HOPEWELL JUNCTION -- The death of a Connecticut woman Tuesday [May 29] on the Taconic State Parkway has prompted state officials to immediately address persistent safety concerns about parkway intersections... Madhu Nigam, 51, a resident of Cheshire, Conn., was killed Tuesday evening when the car she was riding in -- headed west on Carpenter Road across the Taconic -- was hit by a sport utility vehicle heading south on the parkway... ...the fourth person to die -- at the Carpenter Road crossing since 1994. - Poughkeepsie Journal, May 31, 2001 ______________________________________________________________________________ "In our first letter of 2 1/2 years ago, we asked 17 officials, 'How many deaths will it take?' And, unfortunately, this week, we got our answer." - Fred Robbins "It's unfortunate that it took another death at the intersection for them finally to do the right thing. And unfortunately, too, no matter what they do at the Taconic intersection doesn't make this stretch of the road any safer for the residents here." - Lynn Robbins - NewsCenter6, June 1, 2001 regarding the May 29, 2001, fatal accident at Carpenter/TSP ______________________________________________________________________________ "We've discovered that the volumes of traffic at these locations are so high that the people crossing them, by left turns or by crossing the Parkway at these locations, are putting themselves at risk." - Robert Dennison, Regional Director, NY State DOT, WABC Eyewitness News, July 5, 2001 ______________________________________________________________________________ "In southern Dutchess now the volumes are getting very heavy, and you really have to act differently when the volumes are high and the speeds are high." - Robert Dennison, Regional Director, NY State DOT, with John Gambling, 77-WABC Radio - July 23, 2001 ______________________________________________________________________________ "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." - Nick Adam, NY State DOT, NewsCenter6, August 24, 2001 ______________________________________________________________________________ "...the Hosner Mountain area is the only area out of all the closings that really puts people out of their way." - Colleen McKenna, NY State DOT spokeswoman, Cablevision NewsCenter6, Friday, August 31, 2001 ______________________________________________________________________________ The Carpenter Road crossing at the Taconic Parkway was closed Friday, Aug. 24, the same day the bridge at the west end of Carpenter Road was reopened. Although it was one of the most hotly debated intersections, McKenna said the DOT has heard surprisingly few complaints so far. - Southern Dutchess News, September 5, 2001 ______________________________________________________________________________ "Mr. Barcia, who incidentally does not live on Carpenter Road, raises the point of the extended time to get into town. While this echoes Mr. Idema's criticism of the closing, it is directly refuted by the state Department of Transportation's study of alternate routes. Nick Adams and Colleen McKenna, both from the state Department of Transportation, have indicated that those alternate routes have minimal impact on the area residents." - John Pisacano, Hopewell Junction, (letter to the editor) Poughkeepsie Journal, October 3, 2001 ______________________________________________________________________________ [TO BE TRANSCRIBED] - Peter Idema, East Fishkill Town Supervisor, and Town Councilmembers vs. CR 29 Residents, Town Board Meeting, June 26, 2001 ______________________________________________________________________________ "Just the fact that the [Hosner Mtn.] gas station is closed will reduce incidents in that area." - Colleen McKenna, NY State DOT spokeswoman, Poughkeepsie Journal, December 1, 2001 ______________________________________________________________________________ "The incident rates have vastly decreased. It is inconvenient for some people; we won't say that it's not. But I believe that, safety vs. inconvenience - safety's gonna win." - Colleen McKenna, NY State DOT spokeswoman, Cablevision NewsCenter6, Tuesday, December 11, 2001 ______________________________________________________________________________ "There have been no real accidents to speak of," state police Sgt. Robert Hogan, traffic supervisor for Troop K, said of the stretch of highway on which closures have been made." "I think for some people it's an inconvenience," said Susan Kotzur of Carmel. "But it's better they close them than to have more people killed." "People were forced to take chances in crossing at the median crossings," McKenna said of drivers who would have to cross lanes of traffic to get to the median and then combat more cars to continue across or turn left into oncoming traffic. "We have made the road safer." McKenna acknowledged the closures have changed traffic patterns in the area, but said: "Problems have been minimal." - Poughkeepsie Journal, December 11, 2001 ______________________________________________________________________________ "The conclusion is, all the temporary closures of the medians will be made into permanent closures. Some other work will be done. At Hosner Mtn. Road, right now we're in the process of designing a bridge in that area. So that will take care of Hosner Mtn. Road." - Colleen McKenna, NY State DOT spokeswoman, NewsCenter6, Thursday, December 20, 2001 ______________________________________________________________________________ State DOT spokeswoman Colleen McKenna said the ultimate guiding factor in the DOT's decision was safety. "The bottom line is safety," she said. "Our main goal was to make the Taconic a safer road to drive." She said the closures will ultimately save lives. "It already has," McKenna said, noting that there have been no serious accidents at the intersections since the closures took place this summer. "We're confident we are making the right decision for the community," McKenna said. - Poughkeepsie Journal, Friday, December 21, 2001 ______________________________________________________________________________ "The town is not divided as much by the median as they are by the town board and town supervisor that did not bring both sides together on equal footing." - Fred Robbins, NewsCenter6, December 21, 2001 ______________________________________________________________________________ "The bottom line is, for the safety of everyone, the medians will be closed." - William Fitzpatrick, Regional Traffic Engineer, NY State DOT, Poughkeepsie Journal, January 25, 2002 ______________________________________________________________________________ "The median closures should not be impeding their [emergency vehicles] response time at all. It really should not have anything to do with the response time because they should be able to clearly get across those Safe Lane delineators without a problem occurring." - Colleen McKenna, NY State DOT spokeswoman, NewsCenter6, February 21, 2002 ______________________________________________________________________________ "It is inconvenient," McKenna said. "But once again, it's a safety measure. What's a couple of minutes if it saves your life?" - Colleen McKenna, NY State DOT spokeswoman "This long-term corridor plan will significantly increase safety to all motorists, making the Taconic State Parkway a safer road to drive." - Robert Dennison, Regional Director, NY State DOT Poughkeepsie Journal, Tuesday, June 4, 2002 ______________________________________________________________________________ In recent years, there have been a number of serious accidents on the Taconic State Parkway (TSP). A disproportionate number of these occur at and within the influence area of the parkway's at-grade intersections. Those at-grade intersections result in conflicts between through and crossing traffic, significant speed differentials between vehicles exiting and entering the parkway, and they require that lane changes be made by vehicles trying to avoid one another. These are all inconsistent with a modem higher-speed, limited-access type highway. Modem highways are designed to minimize or eliminate the human cost of driver errors and misjudgements, costs that not only involve the drivers, but also their passengers and other motorists. Major improvements to the parkway have been made in Westchester County and at isolated other locations. The mid-Hudson area north of Westchester is growing, speeds have increased, traffic volumes on the TSP are increasing and this results in a growing concern for safety at these at-grade crossings. These factors underline the need to modernize the parkway and to eliminate as many sources of vehicular conflict as possible. Modernizing the parkway now will prevent today's problems from worsening and avoid similar problems in the future in areas that will be developed. Land use development occurs at parkway access points and as it occurs, traffic increases, and people become dependent upon those access points. This both adversely affects safety and will increase disruptions, inconveniences and hardships when those access points need to be closed. It is preferable from every public interest Viewpoint to take actions today to guide development that is consistent with the future geometric configuration of the parkway. It is the objective of the Department of Transportation to ultimately eliminate all at-grade median crossings of the parkway and to minimize side road access points to the greatest degree possible. This will occur over time with some actions being undertaken soon and others requiring planning and coordination with local governmental and public agency officials. - TACONIC STATE PARKWAY TASK FORCE REPORT, June 2002 (excerpt) ______________________________________________________________________________ "We're not going to negotiate on this point. The medians are being closed." - William Fitzpatrick, Regional Traffic Engineer, NY State DOT, Poughkeepsie Journal, July 27, 2002 ______________________________________________________________________________ "The department has done everything consistent with state rules, regulations and laws," McKenna said. "We feel strongly about our position, and as I have said in the past, it's a safety issue." - Colleen McKenna, NY State DOT spokeswoman, Poughkeepsie Journal, August 13, 2002 ______________________________________________________________________________ "These are safety improvements as part of the task force's long-term goals." - Colleen McKenna, NY State DOT spokeswoman, Poughkeepsie Journal, August 29, 2002 ______________________________________________________________________________ "...we feel it's safer for the school buses to be travelling local roads than being exposed to very high speed traffic on the TSP." - William Fitzpatrick, Regional Traffic Engineer, NY State DOT, NewsCenter6, September 4, 2002 ______________________________________________________________________________ "We're still going forward with our plans," said McKenna. "We are talking about a safety issue here, and the department is moving forward." DOT officials said that they are closing the medians because of a history of high auto accident rates caused by limited sight distance and a lack of turn lanes at the crossings. William D. Fitzpatrick, a Regional Traffic Engineer for the state DOT, said in July that the closure of the medians on the Taconic is not negotiable. - Gazette Advertiser, September 5, 2002 ______________________________________________________________________________ "The department stands firm on their decisions," DOT Spokeswoman Colleen McKenna said. "They're safety measures." - Colleen McKenna, NY State DOT spokeswoman, Poughkeepsie Journal, September 10, 2002 ______________________________________________________________________________ "It's in the interest of safety. We feel it's the right thing to do." - Colleen McKenna, NY State DOT spokeswoman, Poughkeepsie Journal, September 11, 2002 ______________________________________________________________________________ "You have to understand [how] the department is looking at the TSP, and the task force is looking at the TSP - It's a high-speed, limited-access roadway. Any accident that occurs at a crossing is going to be a severe injury or a fatality... Although there's heavy queuing on 52, that overall accident rate - because of the signals and because of what we've done at Hosner - for the whole area has gone down. So, to us, that shows that we were doing the right thing." - William Fitzpatrick, Regional Traffic Engineer, NY State DOT, East Fishkill Town Board Meeting, September 12, 2002 ______________________________________________________________________________ "What the department is doing is a minor inconvenience for a safer highway system." - Colleen McKenna, NY State DOT spokeswoman, Poughkeepsie Journal, September 18, 2002 ______________________________________________________________________________ "The standing joke used to be, 'How many accidents have to happen before they put in a traffic signal?'," DOT spokeswoman Colleen McKenna says. "We're not going to wait for accidents to happen." A lot of them aren't happy with the closings, says Peter Idema, town supervisor of East Fishkill, one of the most affected communities. Still, he added, they're growing accustomed to the situation. Yes, today many residents have to drive farther to reach their destinations. But state Department of Transportation officials have to look at more than just today -- and, in this view, they did the right thing to close dangerous exits and crossings. What about students who spend much more time on their school buses, since routes had to be reworked around closed Taconic crossings? That's an inconvenience, but safety has to be put first. It's hard enough for a car to get across this busy highway, even harder for a school bus. Are emergency vehicles going to lose precious time by taking long detours? These vehicles are still allowed to cross the medians, including volunteers in cars, as long as they have blue lights on top. Farm equipment also may cross over, as long as the farmer applies for and receives a special permit. Where exits have been closed, emergency-only access points have been added nearby. - Poughkeepsie Journal Editorial (excerpts), September 29, 2002 ______________________________________________________________________________ You have to understand [how] the department is looking at the TSP, and the task force is looking at the TSP - It's a high-speed, limited-access roadway. Any accident that occurs at a crossing is going to be a severe injury or a fatality...We gave you sightlines there [Hosner] of 525 feet at 55. Anybody here know anybody that does 55 on that section of roadway? And the police try to reduce the speed. There's no place to pull people over...So, we try to do agressive driving campaigns; but the bottom line is - we're going to have to deal with that speed limit. And, therefore, we can not leave, ultimately, Hosner Mtn. Road open. ... We recognize that what we're doing now will solve the problem from the east to the west and the west to the east. It does not solve the problem at Route 52. ... We are going to try to improve the interchange at 52...Although there's heavy queuing on 52, that overall accident rate - because of the signals and because of what we've done at Hosner - for the whole area has gone down. So, to us, that shows that we were doing the right thing. - Bill Fitzpatrick, NY State DOT Traffic Engineer, East Fishkill Town Board Meeting, September 12, 2002 ______________________________________________________________________________ "There is no blanket right answer," Kelly said of the parkway's future. "Every single situation is different." - Paula Kelly, NY State DOT spokeswoman, Poughkeepsie Journal, December 1, 2002 ______________________________________________________________________________ HOPEWELL JUNCTION -- Residents near Carpenter Road on the Taconic State Parkway are concerned that trucks and cars have been illegally crossing the median since barriers were removed late last year. ... "We're really worried," said Fred Robbins, who lives off Carpenter and has seen drivers crossing the closed medians. "It's not safe. ... There's not much to prevent another death." ... State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Colleen McKenna said the number of illegal crossings since the Carpenter barriers were removed have been minimal. She said there are no plans at this time to reinstall them. ... McKenna said it is impossible to stop all the illegal crossings. "People will sneak through no matter what road it is," McKenna said. "Anything to save a minute." Town of East Fishkill Supervisor Peter Idema said he favors leaving the Carpenter median crossing open to allow emergency vehicles better access. ... "The issue is one of public safety," Idema said. He said the illegal crossings are limited to "a few isolated cars." Idema said town police also are aware of the problem. "We put cars up there to monitor it," Idema said. East Fishkill police Lt. Douglas Lucy said patrols have been monitoring the situation, but no violators have been spotted. He said drivers are unlikely to make the illegal turn or crossing if police are nearby. "It's kind of tough to hide there," Lucy said, adding the police will continue to be a presence in the area when possible. - Poughkeepsie Journal, April 5, 2003 ______________________________________________________________________________ The reason medians were closed on the Taconic State Parkway was to improve safety and potentially save lives. But lives could again be at risk at one especially dangerous crossing, now that the state has taken out the barriers that enforce the law. These barriers should be quickly put back at the Carpenter Road interchange in Hopewell Junction -- or else something equally effective put in their place. Without these barriers, there's nothing to stop drivers from slipping across the median except "Do not enter" signs. And some motorists can't resist doing so to shave a few minutes off their commute. However, every time a vehicle does this, it creates a dangerous situation. ... Unfortunately, the state recently saw fit to remove the barriers at Carpenter Road again, because some emergency vehicles have had trouble getting over them. They were designed to accommodate emergency vehicles, which usually ride higher off the road. But one fire truck was damaged last year while driving across the barriers at Carpenter Road. ... State officials acknowledge that some drivers are once again illegally using the median, though they contend the numbers are small. The DOT is planning to do a traffic study soon to determine just how often this happens. A group of local residents argue that the problem is much more frequent -- and they've even taken pictures to prove it. It's pointless to argue about how many cars are sneaking across at Carpenter Road. The central point is that, anytime it happens, a serious accident could result. In years to come, the state might consider putting in a bridge at Carpenter Road, DOT spokeswoman Colleen McKenna said. But in the short term, she added, they have no plans to put the barriers back, though she acknowledges they may have to. ... With safety jeopardized by scofflaws at the Carpenter Road crossing, the state should not waste any more time effectively shutting it down once again. - Poughkeepsie Journal Editorial (excerpts) April 13, 2003 ______________________________________________________________________________ It's been almost two years since state officials began closing more than a dozen median crossings along the Taconic State Parkway. While the highway itself seems safer, some residents and officials are concerned traffic has spilled onto local streets. Getting around has also become more difficult. "We still have the problems," East Fishkill Supervisor Peter Idema said of extra traffic on local streets like Beekman Road and Route 376. "What we're seeing is significant traffic increases." ... State DOT spokeswoman Colleen McKenna acknowledges the closings have been an inconvenience to some. But she said the Taconic is now safer. "It's worked out extremely well," she said, noting there have been no fatalities at the crossings since the closures. "People are getting used to it. ... Most people understand this is purely for the safety of motorists." ... The increase in traffic comes as Dutchess, especially its southern areas, has grown. Population in the county increased by 8 percent between 1990 and 2000 with southern Dutchess towns like East Fishkill growing by double-digit percentages. - Poughkeepsie Journal, May 4, 2003 ______________________________________________________________________________ We're bisected by the Taconic State Parkway, north and south; Route 84 going east and west; and we have Route 52, 82, 216, and 301 also in the town. So we have a good transportation network and you're about 55 to an hour and 15 minutes away from lower Westchester or the upper reaches of the city. So it's a good place to relocate and, 'course 4 or 5 years ago traffic was a little lighter than it is today. ... Yeah, the Taconic has, the closures of the medians on the Taconic has caused the towns that are impacted by this, two issues that they have to face - one is you have a much heavier load of passenger vehicle traffic at the evening rush hour than you do at any other time of the day because you can still go to the Taconic and turn right. The problem is coming northbound you can't turn left anymore. ... So what you do is you force that traffic off at far fewer intersections. ... Now, New York State DOT is working with us...and they do have a plan to add exit ramps and grade-separated interchanges to the Taconic to help relieve that traffic pressure. ... So what you have is all the traffic trying to get to southern Poughkeepsie, western, or the Town of Wappingers, or LaGrange, traversing through the Town of East Fishkill. The roads, state roads and town roads, just weren't built to handle the volumes. ... The other side of that is the commercial vehicle traffic now has no way to access anything. They can't go to the Taconic, go down and get off. What they need to do is go around. So we have much more traffic across Route 376 now through the Hopewell Hamlet over to Route 52... because the ability to cross the Taconic is limited. ... Well, it's going to go on till however long it's takes the state to get the money together and do it...The Hosner Mountain Road interchange... That's a grade-separated interchange. ... We need some new grade-separated interchanges; we need some new interchanges; and we're probably going to need a new road or some significant road improvements to move the traffic. - Peter Idema, East Fishkill Town Supervisor, Cablevision Ch. 78, "Meet the Leaders", May 5, 2003 ______________________________________________________________________________ Schumer said trucks have increasingly become a "weapon of choice" for terrorists. ... Citing state Department of Transportation figures, Schumer said more than 292,000 of the 4.2 million trucks passing through Dutchess County each year carry toxic chemicals or explosive fuel. - Poughkeepsie Journal, June 7, 2003 ______________________________________________________________________________ Taconic's side roads may be surveyed Median closings alter traffic flow… Marc Molinaro, R-Red Hook, said the proposal is a response to the concerns of residents around the county. "We need to understand the implications of this decision and how it affects the roads we all travel on," said Molinaro, a sponsor of the resolution. "We don't want fatal accidents on the county roads either." - Poughkeepsie Journal, July 15, 2003 ______________________________________________________________________________ "Traffic is the biggest problem," Idema said. "As towns around us grow, we become a raceway to the Taconic and I-84." - Peter Idema, East Fishkill Town Supervisor, Poughkeepsie Journal, July 20, 2003 ______________________________________________________________________________ Neighbors report that at about 1 AM on Wed, August 6, an East Fishkill Police car lost control and rolled over a guard rail into a ditch/creek. This was in the vicinity of 64 Carpenter Road, approximately 1/4 mile west of the Taconic Parkway...Neighbors believe the car was traveling west from the Taconic. Apparently the officer was OK. [Pictures of the accident site taken 8/9/03 are available.] - Email from Neighbors for a Safe Community, August 9, 2003 ______________________________________________________________________________ Carol LaTempa, who lives east of the parkway on Carpenter Road, said it now takes her longer to reach Hopewell Junction from her home. But closing it was necessary because of the deadly crashes, she said. "It's an inconvenience for me, but I guess the inconvenience is worth it," LaTempa said. "The side roads aren't as dangerous as crossing over the parkway." … Supporters say the closings make the highway safer. Opponents say the closures have led to increased traffic on local roads and to increased inconvenience for drivers. Robert Dennison, regional DOT director, said he's pleased the county's transportation council is conducting the review. "I think we'll get an impartial view on it," Dennison said. "It's always a good process to close the loop on stuff you've done and measure the impact." … Legislator Marc Molinaro, R-Red Hook, said the Legislature's intent is to gauge the effect of the closings and give everyone a fair say on how that's measured. "This is not rehashing the closures, it is understanding the impact of the closures so we can make educated decisions," Molinaro said. "It should involve the county agencies and the municipalities most affected by these closures." - Poughkeepsie Journal, September 21, 2003 ______________________________________________________________________________ HOPEWELL JUNCTION -- Citizens groups are popping up in the Town of East Fishkill like mushrooms after a rain. Development -- past, present and future -- has spawned activism and perhaps a dozen groups. Fred Robbins is just one activist. He made a home video which shows a truck going by on a rural road. And another. One after another, unceasing trucks. The camera's viewpoint is in Robbins' neighborhood along Carpenter Road, or Dutchess County Route 29. He taped for nearly 11 hours one day in June 2001, and -- after editing out the cars, panel trucks, pickups and school buses -- counted 101 trucks, averaging 9.4 per hour. At the time, the median was open on the Taconic State Parkway at Carpenter Road, so truckers used the road as a bypass. It's officially closed now, but lack of a barrier lets truckers cheat. Some do, Robbins says. People in the immediate area have organized as Neighbors for a Safe Community to advocate keeping the road quiet and safe. … As for the Carpenter Road issue, town Supervisor Peter Idema advocates "bridges, not barriers," a plan to push the state to build more interchanges at Taconic crossings. That's just the wrong thing, argues the Neighbors group, which wants authorities to find ways to keep the trucks on the major highways built for them. "There are people that want to keep Carpenter Road as a cul-de-sac," Idema said. "We have a difference of opinion." - Poughkeepsie Journal, May 25, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________ ...there are no restrictions to commercial trucks on state or county roads, [Deputy] Twaddell said. - Poughkeepsie Journal, July 7, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________ Southern Dutchess News, July 7, 2004 After the conclusion of the hearing, councilwoman Ethel Walker expressed her concerns about the closing of the Taconic Parkway crossings. "I care very deeply about East Fishkill residents," Walker said, fearing that the changes were occurring too quickly to allow area residents to have a fair role in determining the fate of the crossings. She suggested that a moratorium be placed on the closings. The issue, which will potentially affect every driver in the area and a number of residents, will be addressed in later town board meetings and is poised to become a major community concern. - Southern Dutchess News, July 7, 2004, ...in an article on an E. Fishkill sewer rate hike ______________________________________________________________________________ Inconvenient for local drivers? It certainly can be. But, more importantly, the closure of several dangerous medians has made the Taconic State Parkway much safer. "We're not pulling people off the parkway in body bags," said State Police Sgt. Robert Hogan, traffic supervisor for Troop K, which covers the Taconic. "So that is definitely an improvement." The Taconic State Parkway was built as a leisurely, scenic drive from the New York City area into the rural Hudson Valley. Over the years, it has become a high-speed commuting corridor to Westchester County. In that light, closing dangerous medians has clearly proven to be the right decision. - Poughkeepsie Journal, August 6, 2004 excerpts from Editorial: Taconic closures were right choice ______________________________________________________________________________ East Fishkill ruined by overdevelopment East Fishkill is losing the development battle. Watching the devastation on Phillips Road shows how the town has given up trying to control excess growth. Every tree is gone; the ground is turned over and mauled. Defoliation is complete. Traffic in that area is forever changed. What was once a quaint country road will soon be an overcrowded, dangerous thoroughfare. Beekman Road is another example of placing too many houses in a once rural area. And what about placing an A&P supermarket right in the middle of the congested, overcrowded hamlet of Hopewell Junction? Even now, crossing Route 82 in the hamlet is frustrating and time-consuming. Was that the proper place to put that supermarket? Didn't anyone care about the local merchants or the conservation of the natural beauty of the hamlet? Perhaps it's too late for the complacent residents of East Fishkill. But other residents in other towns should use this as an example: Wake up and say no to big developments that are ruining our Hudson Valley. Randy Ross, Wappingers Falls - Poughkeepsie Journal, February 27, 2005 Letters to the editor ______________________________________________________________________________ When asked about the perception that East Fishkill is so developed... "I think it has to do more with the traffic than with anything else. And I firmly believe that if NY State had built the bridges or the overpasses or the tunnels with the Taconic, you wouldn't see all the traffic crowded onto a few roads." Taconic intersection closings... "We had a lot of roads closed. And the problem in East Fishkill is that these roads were major corridors to move traffic back and forth to the Taconic State Parkway. And, while the closing - you can make an argument that passenger cars would have to drive a few miles out of the way to get around the closings, it wasn't the same for commercial vehicles or trucks or school busses. You know, we have school children that spend an extra 45 minutes on the school bus every day because of the Taconic closings. The state - we worked out a plan. The big one was the Hosner Mountain Road interchange, and now that's left open during non-rush hours. The school busses don't cross...There's a grade-separated interchange to be put there. There's a study still progressing on the Miller Hill - Oh, I'm sorry, not the Miller Hill Road - the Carpenter Road grade separation. But I don't expect anything to even come out there till like 2010." - Peter Idema, East Fishkill Town Supervisor, Cablevision Ch. 18, "Meet the Leaders", July 11, 2005 ______________________________________________________________________________ ... Around the country, old parkways designed mainly with aesthetics in mind are bumping up against modern realities, turning scenic roads into hotbeds of commuter frustration and treacherous driving. Classic parkways are ill-suited for heavy traffic because they often contain sharp curves and steep hills and lack features like merge lanes. The challenge for the agencies overseeing them is to balance their historic and scenic value with the need for safe and free-flowing arteries. ... Those roads have grown to become key commuter arteries. On the southern portion of the Taconic State Parkway, for example, average daily traffic has increased from 44,000 in 1981 to 106,000 in 2003. ... in some cases, practical concerns have won out over ambiance. The Taconic, for example, remains largely unchanged on the lightly traveled northern portions approaching Albany, but is a much different road on the portions near New York City, where it has been expanded from two lanes in each direction to three or four. - SARAH KARUSH, Associated Press Writer "Nation's scenic parkways strained as traffic grows", Yahoo News, July 13, 2008