Among New Rochelle residents, especially residents of the North End, Quaker Ridge Road is well-known as a highway to no where. Its absurdly excessive traffic capacity practically compels drivers to speed, while its measly and poorly engineered sidewalks give short shrift to pedestrians. And cyclists? Don’t even ask. About the only time Quaker Ridge Road feels like a friendly neighborhood street is when it’s closed once a year for the annual soap box derby.
A better design would calm traffic, improve safety, and permit residents to walk or bike to schools, shops, and houses of worship. That’s been the City’s goal for many years – and, in fact, Quaker Ridge Road is part of the Complete Streets initiative encompassed in our newly-adopted capital budget. But the hefty price tag of reworking such a large roadway (repaving alone will run into the millions) has perpetually pushed the project off into the middle-distance.
Well, the time for Quaker Ridge Road has finally come. Last week, New Rochelle received news of a $3,518,638 State grant to help pay for improvements. Combined with local funds, this should be sufficient to jump-start the project. There is much more in this press release.
To be clear, there’s still lots of design work that needs to be completed, and the City will seek ample public input prior to implementing changes. After all, this is a heavily-used roadway, and we’ve only got this one chance to get it right.
So it’s not going to happen tomorrow. But, for the first time, I can say confidently, that it is going to happen. And that’s great news for our community.