On Monday, June 17, representatives from the Dutchess County Transportation Council (DCTC) made a presentation to the Village Board, outlining their final recommendations for the Pawling Pedestrian Plan. Over the past year, the initiative has been devoted to improving pedestrian access to key destinations, safety, and enhancing the pedestrian experience in the Village of Pawling.
On hand for the evening’s presentation were Senior Planner for the Dutchess County Planning Department Emily Dozier, Junior Planner Dylan Tuttle, and Transportation Program Administrator Mark Debald. “The idea here is to improve pedestrian access to destinations in the village, to improve safety for people walking, and to make the experience of walking around Pawling more pleasant,” explained Dozier. “It’s already very nice, but we’re looking to improve it.”
Over the past several years, the DCTC has been responsible for a number of successful pedestrian plans throughout the county. Notably, the council has helped to improve pedestrian access in the Village of Rhinebeck, the Village of Millerton, and the Town Centers in Hyde Park, Pine Plains, and Arlington.
To move toward the goal of improving the walking experience in Pawling, the DCTC worked with the Village Board to create a Pedestrian Task Force last year, which included several Village Trustees, the Village Clerk, members of the Highway Department, and resident volunteers from both the Town and Village of Pawling. Officials reviewed the Village’s Comprehensive Plan, Village Code, and County Plans, and conducted a sidewalk inventory to identify problem areas. Members of the Task Force traversed village walkways and made use of special GPS devices to create an accurate map. To gather resident feedback, DCTC representatives were also present at last year’s Arts & Crafts Fair, conducted a resident survey, and held an Open House in November.
While compiling the sidewalk inventory, officials considered a range of factors to rate village sidewalks. Taken into consideration were the overall condition of each sidewalk, as well as the placement and effectiveness of curbs, crosswalks, parking, signage, and street furniture such as trash cans, benches, and bus stop shelters.
Overall, DCTC members found Pawling’s pedestrian experience to be positive, but they identified several key areas that could be improved. These include the Main Street corridor spanning East Main Street to West Main Street, which presents issues of pedestrian visibility and inconsistent signage. The final plan recommends a number of curb extensions throughout the area, as well as the installation of consistent crosswalk signage and the possibility of adding a stop sign westbound on East Main Street at Memorial Avenue.
DCTC representatives presented a number of proposed modifications throughout the village and the surrounding area, including the addition of a stop sign on East Main Street at the Coulter Avenue intersection to create an all-way stop, adding a crossing guard for the crosswalk beside CVS during church hours, and an extension of the sidewalk at the end of Charles Colman Boulevard parallel to the train station.
Further out in the village, officials presented a number of ideas to improve the intersection of Route 22 and East Main Street, often considered the gateway into the Village of Pawling. They suggested the addition of full crosswalks and pedestrian signals for safer crossing, as well as the extension of sidewalks and improvements to landscaping and signage.
DCTC representatives proposed a boardwalk that would span the parcel of land owned by the Oblong Land Conservancy, connecting Dutcher Avenue and South Street. The boardwalk would provide better pedestrian access to the Pawling Fire Station and allow visitors a scenic walk through the surrounding wetlands. “This would provide better access to the Great Swamp,” said Junior Planner Dylan Tuttle. “Environmentally, it is challenging, but the potential benefit for this project is great.”
Village officials said they plan to seek support from Dutchess County, New York State, and other sources of grant funding to implement of some of the ideas outlined in the Pawling Pedestrian Plan for improvements to Pawling’s walkways.
For more information on the Pawling Pedestrian Plan, visit DutchessNY.gov/PawlingPedestrianPlan online.