By Rick Pezzullo
Irvington, Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown officials have joined forces with four neighboring villages in a coordinated effort to promote traffic and pedestrian safety.
The “Slow Down, Rivertowns” initiative was officially launched during a press conference May 12 at Dobbs Ferry Village Hall. The main thrust is to raise community awareness and encourage safe driving behavior through education and enforcement.
“Working together we have a chance to really make a difference,” said Tarrytown Mayor Drew Fixell. “With this effort everywhere you go you will be reminded. If residents are setting an example, it will have an impact.”
The joint campaign, which also includes Dobbs Ferry, Ardsley, Elmsford and Hastings-on-Hudson, expands on what Irvington started last September after a middle school student was hit by a car on Broadway. Trustee Mark Gilliland spearheaded what was dubbed “Slow Down, Irvington,” a slogan that appeared on bumper stickers.
“We knew this was bigger than Irvington. It’s a problem that affects probably every community in the nation,” said Irvington Mayor Brian Smith. “I think this is a great next step, a monumental next step. Most of the people who are blowing through stop signs left home five minutes late.”
Tarrytown Police Chief Scott Brown noted Tarrytown was the second largest village, next to Croton-on-Hudson, with train commuters, a distinction that brings many motorists in a hurry traveling through village roadways.
“People never give themselves enough time to get anywhere,” Brown said. “It’s been happening for years. It’s nothing new.” Newly appointed Sleepy Hollow Police Chief Anthony Bueti said it’s important for residents to realize the dangers of speeding. “There’s a major difference hitting someone at 25 miles per hour and at 35 miles per hour,” Bueti said.
Dobbs Ferry Police Chief Betsy Gelardi stressed officials were hopeful getting the word out would be as effective as issuing tickets.
“Police action can’t solve everything. It starts with drivers,” Gelardi said. Tarrytown Trustee Becky McGovern has been the driving force to get Tarrytown residents to obey traffic laws.
“Our focus is more on public awareness. We’re not going to give 1,000 tickets,” she said.
A Slow Down Tarrytown Information night is scheduled to be held Monday, June 13 at 7 p.m. at the Tarrytown Senior Center.