By ASHLEY HELMS
If proposed changes are enacted, motorists in the Village of Mamaroneck may want to pay a little extra attention to street signs before they park or make a quick turn.
The Board of Trustees is considering changing street parking on Cortlandt Avenue to the left side of the street and prohibiting u-turns at the intersection of Mamaroneck Avenue and Knollwood and Soundview avenues heading southbound into the village.
According to Village Manager Richard Slingerland, the recommendations came from the village Traffic Committee, which said switching parking on Cortlandt Avenue would improve safety for both fire trucks and motorists. The potential for a collision will be less likely.
“If [fire trucks] are taking the turn and it’s clear on the right side of the street, it’s much less likely cars will be damaged by the fire truck entering the street,” Slingerland said.
Trustee Ilissa Miller, a Dem-ocrat, said the change is being considered for safety reasons. By changing parking to the opposite side of the street, it allows emergency vehicles better access to homes and apartments in an emergency.
On Mamaroneck Avenue, u-turns are illegal heading away from the village toward White Plains because a driver can’t see if a vehicle is heading down the hill as easily in that direction, Slingerland said. The hill crests very close to the intersection of Knollwood and Mamaroneck avenues.
On the other hand, u-turns are allowed when heading on Mamaroneck Avenue toward the village because a motorist would be able to see much more clearly without a hill obstructing their view. The hill slopes downwards toward the village.
If there was a major accident on Interstate 95, which has on and off ramps less than a mile from the intersection, or a flooding incident, Slingerland said emergency vehicles would be legally allowed to override a no u-turn law to respond to a such an event.
Despite some concern, cha-nging the u-turn regulations is not an urgent matter for emergency service personnel, the village manager said.
Some residents weren’t sure why u-turns were illegal going in one direction, but not the other, he said.
Because prohibiting u-turns may cause a build up of traffic on Knollwood and other nearby side streets, Miller said she is concerned for those who live there and how they will feel if there was extra traffic on their streets.
“You’d have to make a left or right turn onto those streets and turn around and come back. I don’t know how often the u-turns are done or if we have data on that,” she said.
Mayor Norman Rosenblum, a Republican, said any u-turns could be potentially dangerous, especially on a busy road.
“Why would you want to allow for u-turns? It’s a hazard,” he said.
Parking and driver-related issues are topics that resurface often in the village, with some residents saying parking is hard to come by and parking enforcement officers are merciless when writing tickets.
Trustee Leon Potok, a De-mocrat, said motorists will most likely continue to make u-turns on side streets or further down the road where they are allowed to if the prohibition is enacted. This could cause an increase in traffic on side streets nearby Knollwood and Mamaroneck avenues.
Calls to the village fire department were not returned as of press time.