Yonkers shopping hub plan sparks 'nightmare' traffic worries in Greenburgh

Cars travel along Stew Leonard Drive in Yonkers.

Cars travel along Stew Leonard Drive in Yonkers. (March 12, 2013) Photo Credit: Rory Glaeseman

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Plans to bring more stores to a busy Yonkers shopping hub that already includes Stew Leonard's, Costco and the Home Depot as well as to widen roads nearby in order to build hundreds of new apartments have town of Greenburgh officials worried that traffic conditions will worsen.

Dealing with traffic in the area is "already quite a nightmare," Greenburgh Town Council member Diana Juettner, a Democrat, told the developer's team during a Tuesday morning Town Board meeting. Already, she said, getting to Home Depot on a busy day "is not easy."

The proposal, which is taking shape now in a series of Yonkers Planning Board meetings, calls for adding a one-story, 130,000-square-foot Target retail store up the road past Stew Leonard's and a two-story, 80,000-square-foot store behind Costco. At the other side of the 75-acre, undeveloped site right next to the Greenburgh property line near Hastings-on-Hudson, the developer, Morris Industrial Builders, wants to construct up to 400 garden apartments in three- and four-story buildings.

The Rutherford, N.J.-based company is also in talks with the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency to acquire an additional 3.6 acres that could be used for parking lots.

When and if it's built, the development will be nearly the same size as the 81-acre Ridge Hill mixed-use development located just over the State Thruway overpass. Both complexes use the intersection of Sprain Road and Stew Leonard Drive as a primary access point, which leads to traffic tie-ups on busy weekends.

During the Morris Industrial presentation on traffic issues before the Greenburgh Town Board, a company consultant explained that the developer planned to widen Sprain Road, which leads to the shopping hub, and add more lanes to Stew Leonard Drive. A separate, private road would be built for the housing development.

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Tied to the development proposal, Greenburgh officials also worry about the stress on Jackson Avenue, which leads to Sprain Road and is suffering from tremendous wear and tear. The town is "spending a fortune" to maintain it, and it is the site of 60-70 accidents a year, Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said.

The developer's team said that although the company had no plans to make any improvements to Jackson Avenue or to address storm drainage or other issues, it would look into such remedies as it continues planning work that includes traffic simulations.

On Wednesday night, the project will go before the Yonkers City Planning Board during a public meeting on environmental concerns. At the meeting, Morris Industrial will ask Yonkers officials to rezone the entire property to give the company more "flexibility" in designing its plans, said Al Del Bello, the lawyer for the developer.

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