Safer spaces for residents, visitors discussed during board meeting

Warwick. A new campaign for driver and pedestrian safety – including available grants to help – were detailed by the Village Board of Trustees.

| 26 Jun 2023 | 11:13

The Village Board is working on a “Safe Streets For All” campaign, which aims to raise awareness about driver and pedestrian safety. Of particular concern was the number of motor vehicle crashes at the gateways to the village.

Trustee Carly Foster shared data she found, noting more than 75% of crashes that have occurred in or around the village of Warwick since 2007 were caused by poor driver behavior, including driver inattention, unsafe passing, failure to yield and following too closely.

The trustees discussed how various grant monies available could be used toward improving safety in the area. Trustee Thomas McKnight, suggested that with the amount of data already collected, the Board of Trustees could go after grants that allow for actionable steps to be taken.

“It is our hope that we can use this [data] to go after more implementation funding instead of more planning and more design funding,” said McKnight, who noted that planning and design would remain a key part of the “Safe Streets” initiative.

Those actionable steps include accessibility upgrades to the sidewalks in the central business area, crosswalk improvement and artwork reminding people to slow down.

In addition to seeking grants for improving street safety, the trustees discussed how grants could be used for improving municipal bathrooms to bolster tourism in the area, maintenance related to water quality, and trail improvements.

During public comment, a few members raised concerns regarding what they perceived as the replacement of American flags with pride flags. Several trustees addressed the concerns by noting that ahead of the Village’s pride festivities, businesses were asked if they would like a pride flag to occupy a spot in one of their empty brackets. Trustee Foster clarified that the flags were provided by the Warwick Valley Community Center and that any trustee who offered them was acting on their own volition and not in their capacity as a member of the Board. She further noted that with Flag Day occurring soon after the pride celebration, many businesses which did not have American flags, or wanted extra, chose to accept them, which may have contributed to the confusion.

The flag discussion prompted the board to address issues around how to better display the American flags including improving brackets and finding ways to hang flags and banners simultaneously.

During the meeting, the board also approved changes to village water and sewer fees, and Mayor Michael Newhard shared that the Warwick Skate Park Initiative was rewarded a $600,000 grant.

Cutline info: (From left) Warwick Village Board Clerk, Raina Abramson. Trustee Thomas McKnight, Trustee Mary Collura, Mayor Michael Newhard, Trustee Carly Foster, Trustee Barry Cheney, and DPW Supervisor Michael Moser.