Friday, February 23, 2007

CITIZEN IDEA OF THE DAY FROM JOHN AOKI--GEO THERMMALLY HEATED SIDEWALKS

In recent weeks I have posted some comments about conditions on Ardsley Road. Many pedestrians walk on the narrow, hilly road when sidewalks are not cleared of snow/ice---creating dangerous conditions. I have tried (for a few years) to persuade the Town Board to have the town assume the responsibility of clearing sidewalks of snow/ice. No success!
John Aoki e mailed me today's citizen suggestion of the day: that the town should explore the possibilities of geo thermmally heated sidewalks. Some cities across the nation pipe hot water under roads and sidewalks to melt snow. District heating applications use networks of piped hot water to heat buildings in whole communities. I have a phot of snow melting on sidewalks in Klamath Fall, Or.
I think that the town should explore this idea, especially on Ardsley Road.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Um, it snowed ONCE this winter. Heated sidewalks would cost how much?

Anonymous said...

Mr Feiner,

is there anything,no matter how
far out,that you will not
find worthwhile for the town
to explore ?
Is there any way we can bring you
back to reality and have you
concern yourself with practical
everyday issues important to
Greenburgh residents?

Anonymous said...

I think that Supervisor Feiner deserves lots of credit for being open minded when it comes to creative solutions to problems. The current sidewalk policy on Ardsley Road is not working. When I walk to the train station I always see neighbors walking on the road. A serious injury or fatality due to an accident will cost the town many millions.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I'm glad our supervisor is putting the safety of my family first.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if we were in Minnesota, but it rarely snows here. This is an extremely cost-inefficient idea.

I am in full agreement with the 5:31 post from yesterday: "... concern yourself with practical everyday issues important to Greenburgh residents."

Anonymous said...

Isn't the safety of Edgemont commuters who walk on the road an important issue? If a pedestrian walks on the road and there is a tragic accident, won't you then blame the town?

Anonymous said...

Yes, the safety of Edgemont commuters is important. Therefore, the sidewalks need to be shoveled and salted. The cost of heated sidewalks is just not worth it.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong with thinking of creative, out of the box solutions to community problems - especially safety problems.

Anonymous said...

"Out of the box" can be great, especially when community safety is a concern, if a project is practical and cost-efficient. Heated sidewalks, however, are neither practical nor cost-efficient, thus resulting in this particular "out of the box" thinking seem rather foolish.

A few high school kids could be hired to shovel on the days it snows. I'd bet that there's a community service organization right there at Edgemont High that could handle this.

Paul Feiner said...

I appreciate the comments from everyone--anonymous and from those who are willing to have their names posted. I will contact Edgemont schools tomorrow and will ask the district if there are students or service clubs that would assume this responsibility. I think this is a great idea.

Feiner appallingly irresponsible said...

Having high school students assume the town's responsibility for removing ice and snow from sidewalks along Ardsley Road is appallingly irresponsible.

State Highway Law 140(18) makes the town responsible for maintaining sidewalks along county roads, such as Ardsley Road, expressly authorizes the town board to remove the snow from such sidewalks, and directs that the cost thereof be a town-wide charge.

As every Edgemont resident knows, Ardsley Road is an extremely dangerous, hilly and twisting road. Suggesting that the town put high school students in harm's way -- and pay them no less -- by having them assume responsiblity for removing the ice and snow from the dangerous sidewalk there is simply insane.

Can you imagine the enormous liability the town would have to assume?

No clear thinking elected official would ever propose anything so dangerous.

There are machines and professional laborers that do the kind of snow and ice removal required for the sidewalks on Ardsley Road.

The town should either find out what it costs, spend the money and get the job done right, or run the risk that one of these days someone along that road will be killed or injured.

Suggesting that we put children in harm's way like this -- in response to a very serious problem -- underscores the serious leadership deficit the town has right now.

Anonymous said...

Oops ... I'm the one who posted the initial idea about high school kids shoveling. Driving to work this morning, though, it struck me that the idea wasn't wise due to safety and liability issues. I'm sorry that my idea resulted in upsetting "Feiner appallingly irresponsible."

The bigger-picture point of my posting remains that heated sidewalks are neither practical nor cost-efficient. Someone just needs to get out there to shovel when it snows - plain and simple.

Clearly high school students are not appropriate, but someone (town, county, state, whoever) just needs to get out there with a snowblower or a shovel when it snows. This shouldn't be complicated.

Anonymous said...

The "complication" here is entirely of Feiner's making. In fact, he is part of the problem, not the solution.

In an effort to pander to Edgemont voters, Feiner routinely suggests that the town should shovel the snow and ice off the Ardsley Road sidewalk.

The response from the town council -- from Greenburgh residents and from Edgemont residents too -- is always the same.

You can't treat solutions to important public safety issues like political favors to be doled out every election season.

Here, state law requires the town to maintain sidewalks along county roads, authorizes town boards to remove the ice and snow, and directs that such costs be town-wide charges.

So, when Feiner proposes clearing the snow and ice from the sidewalk along a county road like Ardsley Road, common sense and fairness requires that he examine all other sidewalks along county roads in the town to see whether the ice and snow should be removed there too.

Feiner refuses to do so.

This is not to say that the town MUST remove the ice and snow from all such sidewalks. There may be some sidewalks where the conditions are not as dangerous as they are on Ardsley Road where that might not be necessary.

But despite being told what to do year after year, Feiner pretends not to understand why the town council won't go along with his ideas.

The town has to strike a balance between the need to protect public safety and the costs to taxpayers.

Striking that balance in Greenburgh is even more challenging because these public safety costs are supposed to be town-wide charges -- and certain village residents in Greenburgh get upset at even the mention of anything being a "town-wide charge."

So, getting the job done here requires doing a lot more than just issuing press releases every year, which is all Feiner has done.

Working with Feiner on this issue is clearly a waste of time. That is why Edgemont residents who are concerned about public safety on Ardsley Road need to direct their attention to the town council.

Greenburgh will get a responsible sidewalk policy only when residents insist that the town council take the bull by the horns and come up with one.

Anonymous said...

It baffles me that the villages choose to still be associated with Greenburgh. To form their own township of incorporated villages actually wouldn't be too complicated.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with previous comment. Why would any village want to bear the cost of shoveling sidewalks on Ardsley Road in Edgemont anymore than Edgemont would want to bear the cost of shoveling County Rd. sidewalks on Rte. 9 in Tarrytown or Hastings. Just because some think the Town can charge people who live 15 miles away and never use the sidewalk, and who never pay for Tarrytown or Hasting's sidewalk shoveling on County roads, doesn't mean the Town Board should charge them anyway.

I think you really want to get the Villages so mad at unjust taxes that they will find a way to "get out of Town". That way Edgemont rules.

Anonymous said...

If the New York State Legislature did not wish for village residents within towns to be burdened with having to pay for removing the ice and snow from sidewalks along county roads in a town's unincorporated area, it could have said so.

However, Highway Law 140(18) does not exempt taxpayers who live within villages from such costs. To the contrary, the legislature expressly made such costs, should the town board elect to incur them, a town-wide charge.

If the town elects to ignore the danger and opts not to remove ice and snow from such sidewalks, it runs the risk of liability should there be an injury. That liability would, by law, be a town-wide liability.

Even if the cost of removing the ice and snow is small, some village residents might think that unfair. However, the state tries to strike a balance by giving village residents certain tax benefits that unincorporated area residents of towns don't get.

For example, villages get to "doubledip" on the annual mortage recording tax collected for the town. Villages get an allocation each year based on the amount of their ratables, and the town gets an allocation based on both village and unincorporated area ratables combined. By law, the amount the town gets must be credited to the town-wide fund, which means village taxpayers get to benefit twice.

Because in Greenburgh so much of the mortgage recording tax is collected from unincorporated areas like Edgemont where property values are quite high relative to other parts of the town, the unincorporated areas of Greenburgh are effectively subsidizing the villages.

Experts put the cost of this subsidy for the villages at around $1 million a year.

Before village residents complain about having to pay for removing ice and snow from a few sidewalks in the unincorporated areas, they should consider the bigger picture here.

Anonymous said...

"If the New York State Legislature did not wish for ..."

Haha ... Do you know how old those laws are?! Anything regarding the village-township laws can be challenged and revised without much hassle at all. The whole purpose for the township-village structure does not even exist anymore (in terms of Westchester, at least).

Anonymous said...

Highway Law 140(18), which is the law that says the town is responsible for maintaining sidewalks along county roads, authorizes the town board to remove the snow and ice from those sidewalks, and makes the cost a town-wide charge, was adopted by the New York State Legislature and enacted into law in 1937, and amended in 1941.

The six villages in Greenburgh were created more than fifty years before, in the late 1800s.

Thus, if the New York State Legislature had wanted to exempt villages within towns from the burden of having to pay their share of the costs of removing the ice and snow from these sidewalks, it clearly could have done so, but did not.

When villages within towns have challenged laws such as these as being unfair, they have always lost.

Anonymous said...

"When villages within towns have challenged laws such as these as being unfair, they have always lost."

Yes, and that's one of many reasons the villages should sucede from Greenburgh altogether to form their own township consisting solely of fully incorporated villages.

Anonymous said...

The concept and reality of villages and townships in the 1941 bears little resemblance to 2007.