DELMAR – To the Editor:
I am writing regarding Prop. 6, which will be on the ballot in the general election on November 2, 2021. This referendum vote on whether the town should fund the complete streets engineering study and construction is one that has caused many controversies, and I will be voting NO.
This one road in Bethlehem (and no others) needs bicycle lanes? As it happens, these lanes will run from Elsmere Avenue and Delaware to the Normanskill bridge. On both ends of this stretch there are NO further bicycle lanes. This reminds me of a certain bridge in Alaska! Compounding this obvious error in judgment is the fact that just 100 yards from this stretch of Delaware Avenue is the Rail Trail, specifically constructed for bikes and pedestrians that continues well beyond the Normanskill bridge in that direction and well beyond Elsmere Avenue in the other. Is it necessary to duplicate that with 1.3 miles (only) of bike lanes?
As a grandmother, this road diet terrifies me. Safety is critical on all the roads in our town. Delaware Avenue may have an elevated rate of accidents, but they are almost exclusively car v. car incidents, and most of those are fender benders. I want my grandchildren to be safe when touring their community on their bicycles. I imagine many other families must be feeling the same way. That section of Delaware has numerous driveways (business, commercial, some residential) as well as irregularly spaced side streets. Every one of those is an opportunity for a driver to turn right, or even left from the opposite side. A bicycle in a drivers’ blind spot when a right turn happens could result in a far more serious and potentially deadly accident. This is a matter of safety, especially for the precious children of our community.
We need to keep our residents on bicycles safe! Extremely experienced cyclists have been warning us about this issue throughout this process. These concerned cyclists have not been heard by town officials. If the road proposition is implemented, town officials will need to accept responsibility for the first fatality after it.
I urge you to address the importance of this issue to vote against passing Prop. 6. That way, our community can be safe, and can remain a great place to raise a family.
Mary Howell Morrill, Glenmont
Editor’s note: This letter will appear online only. Our policy is we do not run political or voting issue letters in print the Wed. before election day.