(Blauvelt, NY) – Today a new bike-pedestrian bypass intended to keep cyclists and walkers safer opened at the intersection of Route 303 and Greenbush Road in Blauvelt.
Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) secured the $125,000 in state funding necessary for the project to be completed. He was joined at a ceremonial ribbon cutting by Orangetown Supervisor Chris Day, Councilman Paul Valentine, Orangetown Highway Department Superintendent James Dean, and members of the Rockland Bicycling Club.
The quarter-mile bypass will allow cyclists to avoid a busy stretch of Route 303, which hosts four lanes of traffic with no shoulder, and cars traveling at 45 miles per hour. There have been, on average, 2-3 accidents a year at this spot, involving cyclist or runners getting hit or run off the road by cars and trucks. The worst incident resulted in a fatality in 2003, when 72-year-old Robert Carl Pinckert was struck by a tractor-trailer.
“Route 303 is a busy stretch with lots of traffic, and we have seen an accident here end fatally for a bike rider,” said Senator David Carlucci. “We have also seen multiple near misses because this intersection was a danger-zone. Now with this new bike bypass cyclists and pedestrians will be much safer. Thank you to everyone who worked on completing this project and to Councilman Valentine who came to me about this problem initially.”
“Now cyclists and walkers can avoid this dangerous section of Route 303,” said Orangetown Supervisor Chris Day. “This a great example of what can be done when many different levels of government do work together for the benefit of the people. Thank you to Senator Carlucci who was instrumental in getting funding for this project and coordinating it.”
“It was a pleasure taking part in the ribbon cutting ceremony for Orangetown's new bypass, allowing cyclists, runners, and pedestrians to avoid having to navigate a dangerous portion of Route 303,” said Orangetown Councilman Paul Valentine. “This will save lives and allow for safer recreation in our Town. I am proud to have come up with the concept for this idea, and I'd like to sincerely thank everyone who helped make it a reality.”
During the summer and fall months, cycling is extremely popular in Rockland County and the well-traveled route towards Nyack crosses over Greenbush Road at Route 303. Lawmakers added that the Tappan Zee High School Cross Country Team runs by the intersection regularly and the bypass with also keep young student-athletes safer.
“I'm very excited that we have been able to open this bike by-pass that will provide real safety for our biking and walking community,” said Jim Dean, Orangetown Superintendent of Highways. “This is an excellent example of State and Local Government working together to provide safety for our residents. Thanks Senator Carlucci, Jim Hall, Director of the Palisades Interstate Parks Commission, Orangetown Town Board led by Supervisor Chris Day and Councilman Paul Valentine (primary sponsor) for making this happen.”
“The Rockland Bicycling Club believes the Greenbush/ Route 303 bypass is a game changer for cyclists, adding a new, safe, north-south route for cyclists in Orangetown,” said Mike Hays, President of Rockland Bicycling Club. "The addition of a Greenbush alternative for cyclists will take some of the stress off the only two corridor roads: crowded River Road in Grandview and the unsafe section of 9W from Sparkill to Nyack. Such options will become more important as the Shared User Path opens on the Mario Cuomo Bridge. The Bypass makes possible a scenic tour of Orangetown along the Colonial route of the Kings Highway, passing historic sites and state and town parks. The Rockland Bicycling Club appreciates the efforts of many who brought this project to fruition, especially to Senator Carlucci for securing funding to promote safe cycling in Rockland County.”
"This new path will now afford a safe connection for cyclists and walkers to bypass traveling on Route 303,” said Jim Hall, Executive Director of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. “The Palisades Interstate Park Commission was pleased to partner with Orangetown on the project, and we thank Senator Carlucci for assisting in securing funding for the bypass.”
In 2018, there were 40 crashes in Rockland County involving a car and a cyclist, according to the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research.