Town Board hears two proposals for underground and “streetscape” improvements to hamlet

Designs for Chappaqua hamlet in 2014; work to begin 2015
Rendering of Starbucks intersection by WSP, viewed from Sotheby’s corner; Starbucks’ is at bottom of photo, the Greeley House at top center
November 8, 2013
by Christine Yeres

On Wednesday, Town Board members heard presentations by two soup-to-nuts engineering firms capable of replacing the Chappaqua hamlet’s ancient water and sewer lines as well as making long-discussed, more visible improvements to sidewalks, crosswalks and landscaping. The town has set aside $6.5 million in its capital budget for the project, the design of which would take place during 2014, with construction phased over a five-year period starting in 2015.

In planning the project, the engineering firm should be prepared to limit the areas of disturbance and phase construction with a view to impacting the life of the hamlet as little as possible.  The town has mapped out six discrete zones within the targeted area which runs along South Greeley from Washington Avenue (town hall and library) to King Street, crossing over to North Greeley as far as Bischoff, and along lower King to Allen Place and upper King to the condos at 150 King Street.

Two firms responded: WSP, whose representatives are located in Briarcliff Manor; and VHB of White Plains.

Surface improvements in landscape, lighting, sidewalks, curbing and crosswalks—many of which were identified in previous studies commissioned by the town by Vollmer, Project for Public Spaces and Pouder Associates—had been put on hold until the underground work could be accomplished.  No sense, the thinking went, in making over sidewalks only to tear them up for upgrading of underground waterworks.

In their responses to the RFP, both firms operated under the assumptions—provided by the town—that

1. there were to be no traffic lights in the hamlet, and

2. the Y intersection leading to the Quaker Road bridge is not changeable. 

Both firms showed Town Board members animations of traffic flow between the Starbucks intersection and Pizza Station.  One recommended a stop sign for southbound traffic coming down King Street, pointing out that with no stop required the constant flow of traffic down King Street onto South Greeley at peak traffic times allowed for no gaps that would permit cars coming from the train to make a left onto and across the bridge.  Each firm assured Board members that they were familiar with the inner workings of NYS DOT, whose permission would be required for any alteration to King Street/Rte. 120, a State road.

• It occurred to each of the firms to regularize the Starbucks intersection by eliminating the right-hand slip lane on its southeast (Petticoat Lane) corner.

• It may be possible to add to sidewalks too narrow by stealing from a more generous sidewalk across the street.

• The wide-open intersection of King and Senter streets at the Horace Greeley House would benefit from a “diet”—slimming down the width of the road by bumping out the sidewalk at the King Street Restaurant & Bar.

• One firm showed a fountain in the center of the triangle with seating around it, the other showed a fountain on the Petticoat Lane corner, filling in the right-hand slip lane now there.

The RFP states that while the town is price-conscious, it “does not make professional selections based solely on fee.”  Expertise and experience of the firm itself and of the personnel assigned to the project are factors as well.  In responding to the RFP, both firms had access to the town’s existing plans of the streets and infrastructure. There was no discussion of cost during either presentation.

Rendering of Starbucks intersection by WSP

Rendering of a fountain in the triangle, by WSP

Rendering of Starbucks intersection by VHB

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All interesting stuff, but why would this proceed ahead of the master plan update ?

By wait for the master plan on 11/08/2013 at 11:26 am

Can someone point out where Starbucks is on the drawings? I can’t figure them out.

Editor’s Note:  Starbucks is in lower right corner in the VHB front page drawing (and at bottom, bigger, in “Read more…”.  On the WSP drawing in “Read more…” Starbucks is at bottom, about in the middle.

By map challenged on 11/08/2013 at 11:34 am

Is this yet another project the current TB will push through before the newly elected board is seated and before any work is done on a new master plan?

By bob on 11/08/2013 at 12:05 pm

If you go back 15 years just in pulling up past articles of reporting, you will quickly add up that The Municipality of New Castle has spent well over $633,000 in study after study, with study after study, discussing the same very issues. I ask that the new Administration coming in look at and condense all the studies that the taxpayer has already paid for, and if their is a project of interest to pursue, that we go forth with the study that has already been conducted and paid for by the taxpayer. The best thing that the incoming Administration can do is to assemble a Super Panel of resident Architects and Engineers that have never sat in a Town seat and use this “Think and Planning Tank” to incorporate and get value out of all the studies paid for and conducted over the past 15 years. Lastly, I think it would be a great idea to turn the former Millwood Firehouse into “Greenstein Hall,” where the Community is always invited to hold a function, have movies in Millwood during cold or bad weather, or use it free of charge as a gathering place to discuss business, politics, or hold community meetings, and even for the rest of us just to be able and pop in sit down and eat our own lunch or food that we bring in ourselves. It would serve as a nice stopping place that is already built for all those that use the bicycle path. It would also be great for this soon to be vacated building to house a Volunteer Ambulance Vehicle that is on the ready to respond, and also serve as a Micro Police Station along with the above stated uses. While the community is protecting the interest of downtown Chappaqua, this is how Town Hall can show the West End some love and attention! How nice! Build the replica Train Station at the intersection of Rt.100 and Shingle House Rd in that triangle piece of property; not the site of the former Granite House, across from that site. It would serve as a shelter for the Bus Stop BEE LINE - Go ask them for a donation to get this done.

By Take Rt.120 to Rt.133 Turn left! on 11/08/2013 at 12:25 pm

Does anyone know if this meeting was taped and will be available on the website?

By bob on 11/08/2013 at 12:39 pm


I attended this work session and I do not believe that it was taped.

By roberta galant on 11/08/2013 at 1:32 pm

After all the rancor and veiled hostilities shown during the last few weeks, I now find it totally unnecessary to not own up to your own words, by hiding behind some sneaky alias.  If you truly believe in what you say, then stand behind those feelings and express them. If you are ashamed of them, you shouldn’t be announcing them in a public discourse. We should all be here to help New Castle become a better place.  This is not the place to be vindictive and small minded!

By Monica E. de Janosi on 11/08/2013 at 2:07 pm

I cannot wait for this work to be done. It has been so confusing to try to keep track of all these studies as a “casual follower.” There have been renderings and postings and studies, and even a bunch of exhibits at Town Hall. Vollmer, PPS, etc., etc., but apparently still no plan. Not griping, just confused.

The VSB renderings show above ground telephone/electric, the WSP renderings do not. Any talk about burying power lines? I know this is very expensive.

Finally, while the VSB renderings are visually more appealing, I like aspects of both plans. For me, the smaller fountain at the corner of King/Greeley is lovely. The large fountain in the triangle is a bit tacky.

Editor’s Note: Burying those lines was mentioned, but so was the astronomical cost of doing so.

By chappaquadian on 11/08/2013 at 2:40 pm

Thanks Roberta.

By bob on 11/08/2013 at 3:10 pm

I believe the Town does not own the Millwood Firehouse. It is owned by the fire district and will be sold to help off-set the cost if the new firehouse.

By By the way on 11/08/2013 at 3:48 pm

“It occurred to each of the firms to regularize the Starbucks intersection by eliminating the right-hand slip lane on its southeast (Petticoat Lane) corner”
It did not occur to them that it will create a giant bottleneck for the 120 traffic. Currently 120 traffic flows unhindered.

By I travel this road on 11/08/2013 at 5:19 pm

@By the way - I think the MFD should put a big red ribbon on the building and give it to Town Hall. Even if the site was able to be sold for $1.0m, the benefits that the Town of New Castle (West End) could enjoy as an entire community over the next 30 years would far outweigh whatever plans that may already be in play by the BOFC. Greenstein / Brodsky should stop for the moment any plans that the BOFC / MFD are considering and look into this topic. I hope they will not prove themselves to be another Administration that will be consumed with CC, Conifer, AFH, and only downtown Chappaqua. If this happens, I am going to feel like I live on misfits Island with the abominable snowman waiting for Santa Clause to come. I think we should somehow take the decision away from the MFD / BOFC as to what the future holds for this parcel of property. I suggest getting Brodsky on it! Mr. Greenstein should step into this matter by directing Mr. Brodsky to handle this situation with the full power and faith of Town Hall. This will demonstrate to the WEST END side of Town that Town Hall cares. Millwood Task Force please take up this issue and tell us what your advice would be to the incoming Administration. Otherwise I will be Voting next time for Cornelius! If we get snow next week I am going to dye it Green in celebration of your WIN! Good luck!

By Rudolph the red nose on 11/08/2013 at 9:26 pm

In keeping with the Team New Castle motto of “Transparency”, when the Millwood Board of Fire Commissioners presented its’ capital plan for the new firehouse it included the sale of both the current firehouse and 108 Millwood Road.  If the Fire District (which owns the property) gave away this asset it would have to make up for the shortfall in higher taxes.  The Town of New Castle has no rights to the property and unless they want to include a nice big check with that red ribbon, I believe the best plan is to sell it, with the proceeds going as planned to offset the cost of the new firehouse.

By Alan Schapiro , Millwood Board of Fire Commissione on 11/09/2013 at 8:56 am

@Alan Schapiro, Millwood Board of Fire Commissioner - Team New Castle is a different kind of Administration. They are the overall controlling authority of what can, and cannot take place in the Municipality of New Castle. I believe your comments and the spirit of your comments speak for themselves for all to read as to how you thought best to respond by pushing the interest of the community off to the side. I would think that after getting such a hugely not needed firehouse approved by those who do not pay property taxes in the MFD,  that you would advocate for exploring such a great idea. Perhaps Mr. Brodsky will explore the possibility of this idea along with the help and assisatnce of Katz and Greenstein!

By Weight watchers on 11/09/2013 at 10:30 am

I am not pushing the interest of the Community off to the side.  I was elected to represent those in the Millwood Fire District not the Town of New Castle.  NOBODY outside of those who live in the District are paying for (or approved) this MUCH NEEDED firehouse.  73% of those who voted agreed with this project.  I will repeat, the Town of New Castle has no rights over this property but if they would like to make a bid for it we would be happy to entertain it.  We have always had a great relationship with the Town Board and am sure this will continue under Mr. Greenstein

By Alan Schapiro, Millwood Board of Fire Commissioner on 11/09/2013 at 12:55 pm

@Weight Watchers,
Are you kidding?  The new Town Board has no more authority than the last one. They cannot exert control wherever they want.  If they have no rights over this property than they shouldn’t get involved any more than if you were selling yours

By Wow! on 11/09/2013 at 1:24 pm

Rt 120 is a STATE Rd.  It has right of way. Both companies need to revisit doing away with the right hand slip lane.  We do not need total grid lock due to poor planning!!!

By NJH on 11/09/2013 at 3:03 pm

Eliminating the right turn lane at the “Starbucks” intersection will undoubtedly create more traffic gridlock unless other changes in the traffic pattern are implemented.  This idea needs to be reconsidered, asap.

By Chris Wolff on 11/09/2013 at 6:42 pm

I like the idea about seeing the town work with the BOFC as to whether or not Town Hall can take over the soon to be vacating firehouse. Fantastic idea!

By Julie on 11/11/2013 at 5:20 pm

The Millwood Firehouse should go on the tax rolls, or become part of a public/private deal of some kind.

By tax relief on 11/12/2013 at 7:29 am

Ugh.  Beautification projects are a waste of time and money until the other problems are fixed, especially traffic and parking. The requirement to not have any traffic lights is ridiculous, and eliminating the right turn lane will only make things worse. There’s a reason I hate going to downtown Chappaqua, and it’s not the width of the sidewalks.  I hope the new town board will stop this nonsense and start making real changes.

By Another million dollar waste of our money on 11/12/2013 at 1:44 pm

Isn’t major underground work needed near Pizza Station intersection?  Did the pipes heal themselves? 

Editor’s Note:  The zones along S Greeley extend from Washington Ave to the Starbucks intersection and beyond—to Lower King and to parts of North Greeley and upper King.

By What about S Greeley project? on 11/13/2013 at 7:31 pm

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