Letters: Rt. 9 sidewalk in Red Hook is needed

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The Red Hook Conservation Advisory Council strongly supports the town’s proposal to build a sidewalk and install benches along the east side of Route 9 from Town Hall to Hardscrabble Plaza.

Although this project did not receive grant funding this year, it will be a welcome project for many reasons whenever it goes forward.

It would create an eastside connection between the village and the businesses in Hardscrabble Plaza. It would greatly enhance quality of life for all residents of the town and provide significant health, environmental, safety and economic benefits, including improved pedestrian safety. It fits with the goals of the existing town master plan and promotes smart growth principles. It also fits with the 2011 Centers and Greenspaces zoning amendments, which aim to “create greater community cohesiveness by encouraging compact development.”

This project provides economic benefits to the businesses located along the east side of Route 9 as well. Sidewalks create more customer traffic for local businesses, which will result in increased business for business owners.

Other economic benefits include increased property values for neighborhoods adjacent to the sidewalk. A study by the Urban Land Institute shows home buyers are willing to pay more for homes in walkable neighborhoods, and sidewalks are an integral part of such neighborhoods. Additionally, a Real Estate Research Corp. analysis shows property values rise fastest in pedestrian-friendly areas.

This sidewalk also has positive social benefits for the community; it will improve quality of life and provide an enhanced sense of community by connecting people to neighbors and businesses.

Clearly, this will be a win-win for the town, its residents, its businesses and the environment.

Conservation Advisory Council
Red Hook

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