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The Disaster at the Intersection of Routes 9A and 129 in Croton

June 26, 2007

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When will the village of Croton do something about the abominable traffic and disastrous parking conditions at the strip mall at Maple Street and South Riverside Avenue?

The strip mall as a mini-shopping center came into being all across America in the period following World War II. Typically, a group of stores was built as a continuous row with parking in front. Easy parking for motorists, of course, meant limited access for pedestrian traffic or bicyclists. Croton’s first and only strip mall was no exception. Historically, it is interesting in that it was one of the first pieces of postwar retail construction to be built in our village, now left in the dust by the larger and more ambitious Van Wyck shopping center and Croton Commons.

Like most strip malls—self-contained with few pedestrian connections to surrounding neighborhoods—the strip mall in question, built by Croton resident George W. Underwood, was service oriented, and contained his liquor store at one end and a laundromat at the other. Paralleling the front of the stores at the curb line is Croton strip mall’s lone concession to design esthetics: a small strip of turf, arguably now the sorriest-looking and least-tended spot of greenery in all of Croton. Mr. Underwood’s mall also provided parking spaces behind its strip of stores, a fact seemingly unknown to many residents today.

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The strip mall’s success and ubiquitousness everywhere in America soon made “strip mall” a pejorative term. Parking spaces, adequate in the days when whole families shared one car, became insufficient and unable to accommodate the increased volume of quick in-and-out traffic. The net result at Croton’s strip mall is that when parking spaces are scarce it’s everyone for himself. Thanks to curb cuts later added for the disabled, motorists now brazenly park—often with the motor running—on the sidewalk and on what little grass is left.

Despite the glaring obviousness of the parking infractions occurring daily at Croton’s strip mall, code enforcement is nonexistent. Yet Croton traffic control officers at village expense zealously police time limits set on parking by the owner of the nearby Van Wyck shopping center and enforce the threat of being towed. Meanwhile, it’s anything goes for motorists at the strip mall, where pedestrians and bicyclists pass at their own risk.

Why the discriminatory treatment between traffic enforcement at the mini and maxi shopping areas, Mr. Mayor? Why are taxpayer monies enforcing the owner’s traffic rules at one site and not the village’s traffic rules at the other? Just askin’.

On June 26, 2007 4:07 PM, KWilly said:

The expression that the world never sleeps could not be more true than it is now. Due to being sick today i was resting all day until now when i finally woke up. First thing i do is load up CrotonBlog. On this wonderful “chatroom” i see that for the whole day people have been commenting and discussing ignored issues. The best point was made by Former Trustee Georgianna Grant who was apart of the old Elliot Administration which actually followed up when they said “We’ll look into this”. My dad pointed out that i have amassed a collection of “We’ll Look into it”s and i think i should list some of them:

1) I was told that they would look into having more of Croton’s young people on Village Committees

2) I was told by the mayor that he would like to develop a Drug Education Program with me after i came to the board twice and requested that we do away with DARE (Which is ineffective at its stated goal of reducing drug use) and replace it with something more effective.

I was talking to a mayor of a nearby village about this and he said that when he says he would look into a problem, the next thing he would do is invite that citizen to a work session to talk about it. This has not been done with me and the only place you can find what i stated would be on meeting minutes or video. I truly believe that everyone wants these things to be done, but i believe that they do not want to do the work that is necessary to get them done. Im so sick of talk and i want action and i can’t take 21 more months of this.

  • Kevin Davis

On June 26, 2007 3:14 PM, Seth Davis said:

Thanks! The Davises were loyal Underwoods’ customers for years!

Meanwhile, Georgianna’s comments are extremely well-taken. Every board has its agenda. This crowd’s agenda seems to be to congratulate themselves over a perceived victory in the struggle over 1A Croton Point—which is probably a lull in the storm prior to another set of costly battles. We used to hear talk about a community center—now the only time it’s brought up is here. We hear about the restrictions on business by gateway area zoning, yet here, in a specifically denominated gateway area, we’ve got a commercial piece of property that looks worse than 1A Croton Point ever did.

Meanwhile, my son has personally amassed a collection of “We’ll look into it”s from our Mayor that could keep the Village staff busy for months.

Seth

On June 26, 2007 2:15 PM, TeaDrinker said:

Seth,

Thank you for bringing the ill-matched George W. Bush link in this story to our attention.

We apologize that it caused a distraction to our readers.

The link was automatically generated by Amazon.com because Crotonblog had signed up for their beta “Context Links” program.

We agree with your assertion about removing the link from the story and have done so. And in fact, Crotonblog has since opted out of this advertising program altogether. Therefore, Crotonblog readers should not expect to see Amazon.com “Context Links” any longer.

Thank you for your helpful feedback.

On June 26, 2007 12:54 PM, weewill said:

Would that more of us began to ask questions just like the above. Our current village board is so obsessed with protecting their “image” for the very few same old, same old supporters that they get little accomplished. These same few waste valuable time congratulating their “do nothing” officials for accomplishments that none of us can see. They are buried under and consumed with litigation directed and urged by these few supporter who for years have done grave disservice to the sane and responsible residents of Croton.

There is so much to be done that’s not been addressed for the past few years. The Mayor’s stock response seems to be “thanks for bringing it to our attention and we will “look into it”. Then we don’t hear about it again.

The horrific appearance and safety at the above mentioned strip mall and the total disregard for enforcement of the law.

The skatepark turned disaster that hasn’t been fully explained or addressed.

The growth of that site into a storage area for DPW and for the messy and unkept piles of God only knows what else is stored there.

The unsightly deposits of leaves and yard waste and tree stumps that is surely decomposing and destined to smell like hell this summer.

The illegal storage by contractors hired to do the sidewalk project. Where is Trustee Brennan now that he’s on the board? Before he was elected he screamed and yelled and banged the podium with outrage because that same asphalt and concrete was dumped there by the same offenders. He went so far as to say he watched from his house window in sheer horror as the contractor dumped his loads and I believe he even called the police as an outraged taxpayer directing them to stop the illegal act. Now that he’s on the board he doesn’t seem to mind so much!

Check out the on-going, continued mess of debris in the alley behind Zetinia’s. No enforcement.

I could go on and on but I think the above are good to start with.

On June 26, 2007 11:52 AM, Seth Davis said:

George Underwood, may he rest in peace, would surely resent being linked to the current George W.

I hope you can edit out that link.



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