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Sleepy Hollow Pushes For Route 9 Improvements After Bicyclist's Death

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – Sleepy Hollow officials and residents have renewed discussions of the dangers of Route 9 in the wake of 28-year-old Sleepy Hollow resident Luis Zhizhpon's death late Monday night.

Zhizhpon was biking home from work at the Guadalajara restaurant along the road when he was struck by a car near Millard Avenue and the Philipse Manor neighborhood.

“That whole stretch, as we've seen today, is a death trap,” Sleepy Hollow Mayor Ken Wray said during Tuesday's board of trustees meeting.

Village officials and residents have been working for several years to make improvements to the road from Beekman Avenue to the entrance to Phelps Memorial Hospital Center. Wray noted several intersections are particularly dangerous, including a five-way intersection of Beekman, Route 9, Route 448, Webber Park and Hudson Terrace.

“It's crazy,” Wray said about the entire stretch of road. “There are real accidents that happen there all the time.”

The Philipse Manor Improvement Association and Sleepy Hollow Manor Association have both lobbied for changes to Route 9, including adding left-turn lanes on the northbound side. There are currently no left turns permitted in the northbound lane and no shoulders on either side. There is no dedicated bike lane.

Village officials said their hands are tied because Route 9 is controlled by the state. Wray and Trustee Bruce Campbell both said the village needs to continue its lobbying efforts.

“We need to redouble our efforts with state representatives,” Wray said.

Residents agreed that Route 9 was a dangerous road for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists alike.

“I don't allow my children to ride their bikes on that stretch,” Sleepy Hollow resident Alberta Jarane said on Facebook . “Having lived here for 13 years, I've (witnessed) one major accident and had to be diverted because of other accidents along this stretch so many times I can't count.”

Amy White Poret said she's seen accidents and near-misses on the road, especially at the intersection of Route 9, Pierson, Bellwood and Dell, because pedestrians sometimes don't use the crosswalk. Penelope Herbert said she thought it was dangerous to ride a bike along the road, especially in the dark. However she said she didn't think it was dangerous otherwise.

Jarane said the location of Monday's accident was especially dangerous because of uneven driving conditions. She added it was sad that the state “still does not believe the driving conditions along this stretch of Route 9 are sufficiently dangerous enough to warrant a turn lane or some other speed reduction tactic to increase our safety as drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.”

Wray said Zhizhpon's death was “a tragic accident.”

“Our thoughts go out to his family and friends on this terrible day for all of them,” he said.

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