NYSDOT Region 8 Complete Streets Gives Sloatsburg Opportunity To Participate In Re-imagining Route 17

Posted on 22 April 2017 by Editor

NYSDOT Region 8 will host Sloatsburg’s Complete Streets Public Workshop II – Concept Evaluation on Thursday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.

Whether from curiosity or to make a contribution, Sloatsburgers showed up en masse at the first Complete Streets Public Workshop. The meeting was hosted by a team from the New York Department of Transportation Region 8 and focused on an open conversation about community transportation issues along Route 17.

Where is the Village charm that adds civic value and enhances quality of life? Is it in the empty storefronts and traffic that speeds through Sloatsburg like a toll-free stretch of thruway?

On Thursday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m., the DOT team will host Public Workshop II – Concept Evaluation, that will focus on drafting corridor goals which can then be implemented in an overall project. A final meeting in June will complete the workshop phase when the DOT presents a Complete Streets concept to Sloatsburgers. Fall 2018 is scheduled for the construction phase, including a paving of Route 17 through the Village.

Sounds good, right? The heavy lifting has been done for Village residents, especially the largest obstacle to such a project — funding. Repeated advocacy about traffic calming on Route 17 through Sloatsburg has been done by a number of people and groups, including Senator David Carlucci’ office, SVdotcom, and the Sloatsburg Revitalization Committee. The result is a rare Complete Streets opportunity presented by the NYSDOT Region 8 office.

But to hear some residents’ views, the whole effort is an intrusive, disruptive bother that will just create more traffic through the Village. Apparently, these people are fine with empty Village center storefronts and deteriorating properties and the general downward spiral of the downtown area.  Traffic through the Route 17 corridor is increasingly disrespectful of local laws and life … community life appears to be a sort of impediment to moving fast through Sloatsburg.

The residents of Sloatsburg are being handed an amazing opportunity to re-imagine Route 17, build a Village Park, and contribute to revitalizing the Village center, and many respond with the same tired complaint about increased traffic. There’s a state highway called Route 17 or Orange Turnpike that already runs through Sloatsburg. And the Village has lost control of that road. Without action, the traffic behavior will not only get heavier but get worse, with more speeding and more trucks and less respect for the Village.

At some point in civic life, a person has to give to get back. Sloatsburg will not improve if no action is taken.


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25 Comments For This Post

  1. E Smith Says:

    Traffic moves too fast through the village (TRUE). There are currently 2 lanes in either direction (TRUE). Deleting a lane will cause all the cars that currently use 2 lanes in each direction to use 1 lane (or 1.5 lanes if a center turning lane is installed) in each direction (TRUE). The speed of traffic will slow (TRUE). Because there will be more cars per lane after the diet (TRUE). Congestion will not increase (unquestionably FALSE).

  2. Editor Says:

    Your skepticism is rooted in singular opinion (TRUE).

    Both national and state highway studies relative to road diets have shown that these particular traffic-calming measures do work. It’s part of changing road use behavior. The NYSDOT Region 8 has professionals at work on the Complete Streets project that take great pride in finding highway solutions for communities along their roads. It’s odd that you sound so gleeful at the prospect of “no material change” in Sloatsburg.

    Really, honey, what have you done lately to improve your community?

  3. E Smith Says:

    The end result will primarily be a paving job with no material change in lanes, traffic pattern, average speed, etc (almost certainly TRUE).
    A Village Park? Really, honey?

  4. Dave Veraja Says:

    While approaching this important issue I would expect decisions will be reality based. As I mentioned in the past through my observations and 40 years of driving experience in Rockland County have led me to the following. The problems we face are as follows 1,Cell phone/aggressive driver, 2, single lane state roads
    [Route 9w/202/sections 59/45 3, high volume traffic.4, Thruway tolls.
    First of all all the studies in the world, may not address Sloatsburgs unique
    situation. People want to avoid thruway tolls, we are in close proximity to the thruway exit. Like it or not we are the Gateway not only to the beautiful Harriman park, but also to Orange County [fastest growing county NY]. We can not come up with cute names [road diet] and ignore the facts. The comparisons of other single lane state roads in Rockland is relevant again like it or not. I ask please in the decision process to look at the back ups on the single lane roads, the traffic will not go away, some of these cell phone drivers look at it as an opportunity to talk longer on the cell phones. Turning lanes would be helpful and some patrol by the State police would also help. While the Ramapo Police do an excellent job, the additional enforcement would be helpful.

    One last thought, while recent private investments in our commercial strip is a wonderful thing, at the end of the day when we examine the entire situation these investments may not really benefit the average Sloatsburg home owner. It seems to me this entire agenda is for the benefit of a few [commercial investors] at the expense of the majority [home owners]. Nothing is free folks , as state taxpayers We are paying for all route 17 improvements, and we may well pay in our time sitting in traffic entering single lane route 17 Sloatsburg again to benefit the few commercial investors No Thankyou!

  5. Editor Says:

    Per the main street effort, it’s imperative that Sloatsburg attempt to define the kind of main street it would like without trying to accommodate commuters. That’s the NYSDOT’s job. Sloatsburgers attention should be on improving community quality of life. The NYSDOT Region 8 staff works and studies their roads on a daily basis. They have projections of traffic and growth patterns into the future. Let them worry about the flow. Let Sloatsburg focus on where it’d like to go with its main street experience.

    I respectfully differ with you on the benefits of the current commercial investment currently happening in Sloatsburg. An attractive village center that draws customers, businesses and prospective residents to Sloatsburg benefits the average Sloatsburg home owner. The village needs the expanded tax base that businesses provide. Local home prices/values a few years ago were continuing to slide … even today some people are having a hard time selling at the price they want.

    The agenda as you call the effort is not at the expense of homeowners. People who purchase homes in this area want value, services, access to an elementary school, proximity to transit hubs, and a belief that their investment in the area will be rewarded. The current effort expands the village’s business/tax base with hospitality entertainment/adventure goods and services that are precisely what the area needs to attract people, whether they’re just visiting or looking for a reason to move here.

    Without the current comprehensive and thematically inter-related effort going on, Sloatsburg would still look very much like the depressed, declining highway bedroom community it had lapsed into.

    In terms of costs, well, there’s cost and value and investment and return on investment that creates value. Sloatsburg and the surrounding corridor communities must provide incentive and materially articulate the character of the community to grow and prosper. Otherwise, decline and despair, which was creeping into the corridor, would continue.

    Thanks much for the thoughts and comments.

  6. E Smith Says:

    One might argue that a couple bars, hillbilly gun shops and a post office bifurcated by a diesel train line and two major State highways is not really “a community.” In the traditional sense – ya know? They might even say it seems more like a dumping ground for carcinogenic waste.

    It’s not rocket science, deleting a lane from Rt. 17 will cause increase congestion. Rather then deny the obvious, and lose credibility with the other side, your argument should be that although congestion will increase, the corresponding benefits of slower traffic are worth the cost of increased congestion. That’s a more interesting debate.

    It’s a beautiful day. Go enjoy the park – just, ummm, stay out of the parking lot!

  7. Editor Says:

    It’s a good thing that someone out there knows everything. One might wonder why such an elevated entity would choose the Western Ramapo Mountains to live as such a one could very well survey the surroundings and see fault and hapless human illusion … unless perhaps that purpose be to impart wisdom and enlightenment to those lesser hill people.

    Often through acerbic witticism in the comments section of the local blog.

  8. E Smith Says:

    LOL – well done!!!

  9. Editor Says:

    Appreciate the sense of humor.

  10. Dave Veraja Says:

    A Dose Of Reality! The route 17 project will be funded by federal and state tax dollars, Therefore is it only fair that the project takes into consideration the needs of the region along with the needs of Sloatsburg anything short of this would just be selfish.. Homeowner investment in Sloatsburg is an investment in family, community and a way of life. Sloatsburg has not been known as a top financial investment. Real estate values in Sloatsburg have historically been behind the rest of the county and region. To sell this idea to homeowners by suggesting that increased commercial development will significantly aid our tax base is nothing but a fraud. In our current tax situation with elected officials in the town of Ramapo and Suffern Schools spending money as fast as it is printed. Property taxes will never decrease, the best we can hope for is an enforced tax cap. AS for real estate sales in the Burg this is always controlled by supply and demand much like any where else. People unable to sell their homes for the price they want are most likely asking too much for their homes.

  11. Editor Says:

    Apologies … but can’t really follow your logic and advocacy.

    Call me selfish.

    The NYSDOT Region 8 funds are allocated for specific transportation issues in the Sloatsburg corridor along a state highway that will help the local economy and enhance quality of life. It also happens to be part of the NY Gov’s agenda — helping to improve local economies when/where possible along state roads while modifying transportation to suit the needs of the communities.

    It’s important to prioritize improvements to Sloatsburg’s common properties + Route 17 to attract residents and businesses to the community. When your Village center no longer looks derelict and depressed, hope springs to life and good things can happen.

    Don’t really know what your complaint is … or what you’re advocating for. Proper commercial growth in the Village has a place. The Tuxedo Hudson plan fits with the idea of Sloatsburg as a park destination and gateway to the parks corridor. It’s light and low impact industry (hospitality and tourism) and quite attractive in terms of taking current properties and revitalizing them. Seems quite authentic ….

    Remember, SloatsburgVillage.com is not part of the Village government. Fyi.

  12. Dave Veraja Says:

    I have no complaints at all. I am merely making comment on my observations as it relates to life in Sloatsburg. I would never describe our village as depressed or derelict. And of course commercial growth and investment is a positive addition to our community. This could all be accomplished without government intervention. I would also caution folks not to blindly fall in line behind some [ community organizer ] promising anything such as tax reduction or significant growth to the tax base. Again my thoughts and comments are reality based. As there appears to be a wave of paranoia in the region let me clarify in my previous submission I referred to The Town Of Ramapo and Suffern Schools officials, there was no mention of the Village of Sloatsburg officials at all. In closing I would further comment that the Quality of life should be measured in Family, friends and community and not financial interests.

  13. Editor Says:

    Thanks for clearing that up.

    No one has promised tax reductions or a significant growth to the tax base … there was advocacy to expand the tax base by encouraging the kind of business growth that fits with the character and culture of the Sloatsburg community.

    Don’t know what community organizer you’re referring to … though many Sloatsburgers absolutely prefer improvements to the Village common properties and new kinds of businesses that bring people to the Village — such as the now thriving Characters, Rhodes Tavern and Seven Lakes Station experiences. Hospitality and tourism kinds of businesses fit well with local services, and cultivate the kinds of visitors Sloatsburg has always thrived on … park adventurers.

    Our Village center is/was depressed and derelict, complete with empty, deteriorating properties, broken roads, common properties in disrepair, lack of economic investment in the area.

    Quality of life can be a relative state, measured by all sorts of things. What you might call financial interests another might call community investment.

    Appreciate the comments … though it’s still not clear what you’re beef is. Government intervention, as you call it, is at its root, we the people pooling our resources through taxes and other measures, to benefit the greater good. The funds being used for Complete Streets are federal/state highway funds available to make improvements in communities that have highways that run through them. Because having a highway run through you community can be a kind of cultural and economic drag.

    What you’re referring to is as government intervention and financial interest is actually an on-going process that was initially started by corridor residents having conversations about what kind of improvements could be made to the community. Bear in mind that many people involved in the Tuxedo Hudson effort are locals and live in the community, whether it’s Tuxedo or Sloatsburg.

  14. Sissy Says:

    Love the back and forth.Wish all this could be solved, but after living in this little Village for almost 50 years I for one seem to feel I will not live to see all these bright and great plans come to fruition. There is a good majority of our population that see this as a stopping off place and not a permanent residence and so I wonder about allour beautification plans. Wish it could be better, but don’t feel it will be.

  15. Editor Says:

    Thanks so much for tuning in and taking part in the news and happenings in these parts. That’s what SVdotcom is about … an attempt to explore some of the things going and get word out. There could be some real improvements to Village quality of life. It’s important to try to make the community a little better whenever possible.

  16. Sissy Says:

    Speaking of the road situation. Perhaps if our speed limit was strictly enforced…Can we use cameras and speeders will get automatic tickets or points? Let it be known that this corridor is not just a speedway, but an actual Village and one can stop for coffee, dinner, entertainment, etc.

  17. Editor Says:

    Although cameras are an interesting idea, I highly disprove of that kind of enforcement tactic. I highly opposee automatic ticketing … it smacks of the panopticon and quickly escalates into a ruthless revenue generating scheme that sees no shades of gray. Local enforcement is more human … perhaps, say, a Sloatburg Constable who has authority to patrol Route 17 and issue traffic citation. The revenue goes directly to Sloatsburg and a Constable would provide the Village with a local face of law enforcement.

  18. Sissy Says:

    I can see some of the scheme like resemblance you mention, but we can use the replay button. Who will pay for the extra patrol? We originally got rid of our force because of the expense incurred and the TOWN is too embroiled in other matters to focus on speeders in Sloatsburg. Wish it were that easy to help us, but HOPE springs eternal. Thank you for your response…always welcome an exchange of ideas in a civil forum… Kudos.

  19. Editor Says:

    Certainly a cost analysis would have to be done. Liability and cost are two reasons why that option has never been implemented. A local constable is different from a police department, which involves a much wider cost of constantly upgrading equipment paired with the continuing cost of personnel. The cost of a constable might be paid for in the course of a year by tickets written and improved quality of life. It’s not a full-time position, and, of course, and would rotate over time so it doesn’t favor one or two ex-police officers.

    The other push-back against local enforcement would come from the Ramapo Police Department.

  20. Dave Veraja Says:

    From my observations the Ramapo Police Dept. is doing a fine job enforcing the traffic regulations. The reality of the situation is that enforcement of the traffic regulations on route 17 is an endless job due to the high volume of traffic. Since route 17 is a state highway I believe we should request State police patrols. The state maintains route 17 so they should assist patrolling the traffic as well. We also have the County Sheriff police division which we may request more traffic patrols from. The idea of a constable is not needed when we have these other resources that we haven’t tapped. A red light camera would also work well on route 17. It operates 24 hours a day seven days a week and would aid a great deal in the enforcement effort on route 17. Of course signs would be posted informing people of the cameras operation, this is how its done else where in New York.

  21. Michael Says:

    Many mornings on my way to work I see Ramapo PD pull over someone for running a red light or speeding in Sloatsburg. But alas the traffic volume is so high that it is hard to deter speeding.
    New City also has a a road diet; Two lanes plus a turning lane. New City has a population 10 times of Sloatsburg. There are dozens more stores, businesses and residences. It works well for that hamlet.

  22. Dave Veraja Says:

    Main Street New City does not compare to Orange Turnpike [route 17] Sloatsburg. In New City main street ends at a Golf course north of town. In Sloatsburg as the name explains [Orange Turnpike] we are the gate way to Orange County and the Harriman State Park. We have high volume traffic to deal with from New Jersey routes 287 and 17. And of course the NY state thruway with an exit at our southern doormat. New City just deals with local traffic.Also NY state route 304 is their by-pass road which is toll free, our by-pass road [thruway] has toll charges.

  23. Greg Bagalio Says:

    Not spoken about in this ongoing dialog is a solution that would funnel traffic onto – and off of – I-87 below the Harriman tolls but north of the village; an on-ramp at Route 17A. That would provide commuters and truckers a Sloatsburg bypass. Keeping this new entrance toll free would encourage the majority of commuters from Warwick, Greenwood Lake, Monroe, Woodbury and many other communities to bypass Sloatsburg. Those making Sloatsburg a destination would have access from the North. Southern access would remain at Exit 15a.
    This solution would take the pressure off of Route 17 through the village and allow the road diet to be put in place with an alternative for those drivers wishing to avoid the area. Luckily, there has not been any development at the I-87/17A crossover to deny us the opportunity to reclaim our Main Street. The time is now for Route 17A access to I-87.

  24. Linda Says:

    I remember rumors of an additional entrance ramp be added to the Thruway located somewhere on Route 17? Shouldn’t that be the fight worth fighting for? It would greatly decrease traffic, as long as, it is not designed to be a toll ramp. How do you convince the state or whatever authority is responsible, to make that happen? Another thing all residents can do is stop whining and start doing something to make improvements happen. If you like where you live, you’ll give something back. This town has potential to be quite charming.

  25. Editor Says:

    The long discussed exit ramp in Tuxedo is something under the NYS Thruway purview and would be a complex thing to get done, especially since a vital parcel of property necessary for the possible Exit 15B at County Road 106 is owned by the Palisades Interstate Parks Commission (PIPC). Additionally, the exit/toll road intersection would have to be worked out. I don’t believe that an Exit 15B is something under consideration at this time.

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