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7-Eleven to Move to BodyFit Location at 858 Scarsdale Avenue

7-ElevenDespite objections from residents and the potential for a perennial traffic jam on Scarsdale Avenue, the Scarsdale Planning Board has approved the opening of a 24-hour 7-Eleven store in the former site of BodyFit at 858 Scarsdale Avenue. 7-Eleven will move from their current site on Garth Road site to Scarsdale Avenue.

Neighbors who live above the location on Overhill Road are worried about noise and commotion from a 24-hour location which could bring the sound of horns, slamming car doors and commotion to the area, throughout the night. Deliveries from large trucks also pose a potential problem at the already busy intersection.

At an April 19 meeting of the Planning Board, Richard Pinto, Vice President of the Overhill Neighborhood Association voiced these concerns and also cited fear of the potential for an increase in crime. He said, "There is a legitimate fear for the potential for increased incidences of crime in our neighborhood. It is important to note that the residences along this stretch of Overhill Road and Circle Lane are 100% occupied by families with either elementary school-aged children or senior residents. While we laud the Scarsdale Police for their recent excellent work, we understand that they will be operating in a reactive mode. We are not concerned whether the Police will respond to any and all complaints – we trust 100% that they will; however, the nature of these complaints will be such that by the time officers arrive on the scene, the issue will have gone away – but the residents will have been disturbed already. Again – we are talking about a dozen elementary school-aged children along Overhill Rd and Circle Rd, as well as senior homeowners – these are demographics that do not typically keep late hours and will be most affected immediately."bodyfit

The intersection of Scarsdale Avenue and Popham Road is often congested as it is a major traffic hub and is one prong of a 4-way intersection that takes drivers across the Popham Road Bridge, into Scarsdale Village and east onto Popham Road. It is lined with parking spaces on both sides of the street and is often backed up, especially at peak pick-up and drop-off times for the train.

The Planning Board considered the 7-Eleven application at their meeting on April 19, 2017 and again on June 28, 2017. Following the June meeting, the application was approved and parking waiver was granted to allow for fewer parking spots than required by Village code.

Here is a statement from Brice Kirkendall-Rodriguez that was read at the June 28, 2017 meeting:

briceGood evening, I am Brice Kirkendall-Rodriguez of 19 Fox Meadow Road and I am speaking tonight as President of the Old Scarsdale Neighborhood Association which includes the village center.

According to a 7-Eleven press release from last fall, the average location generates about $5,000 per day in sales. They are one of the largest retailers of lottery tickets and beverages in the United States and rank 15th in the U.S. for foot traffic. In short, it is a high traffic, low margin business. It probably takes several hundred to 1,000 customers per day to generate $5,000 in sales.

At present, 7-Eleven enjoys a huge flow of morning pedestrians from Garth Road on their way to the train station and many return the same way in the evening. It's a great location for 7-Eleven and the majority of their customers probably arrive on foot. I lived on Garth Road for 13 years and I was an occasional customer particularly if I needed a quick quart of milk on a late night return home. I just can't imagine why 7-Eleven would consider leaving Garth Road even if they feel they must leave their ideal corner location because of an uncertain future with their landlord.

We all know that brick and mortar retail is experiencing major upheaval at present and I don't wish to see the demise of our local 7-Eleven. However, I really question the wisdom of their desire to move to Scarsdale Avenue in the old Body Fit location. While I think the new location would fall significantly short of their current volume, let's imagine what success would look like. Instead of several hundred pedestrian visitors each day, the new location would have to see this volume in vehicular traffic.

Old Scarsdale Neighborhood is bordered to the south by Popham Road and to the west by East Parkway. This is already the most congested area for motor vehicle traffic in all of Scarsdale and the intersection of these roads presents some of the most challenging conditions for pedestrians.

Last Year, TRC Engineers, Inc. released a traffic study commissioned by the Village of Scarsdale and found that southbound drivers from East Parkway and northbound drivers from Scarsdale Avenue could expect to encounter a Level of Service rating for the intersection with Popham Road graded as a "D" on a national scale. In fact, northbound traffic out of Scarsdale Avenue is already considered to be near capacity during peak hours in the morning and afternoon.

According to TRC's measurements, 210 vehicles entered and 234 departed Scarsdale Avenue in the morning through this intersection during the peak 8am hour and slightly fewer vehicles traveled during the afternoon peak hour of 5pm. A 7-Eleven shopper would use this intersection twice for each visit if arriving from north of the store and I would argue that more customers would arrive from the Scarsdale end of Scarsdale Avenue than from the Eastchester end. Thus, it is not unreasonable to assume that perhaps we would see 1,000 additional vehicles per day either coming or going through that intersection with spikes in volume that would coincide with existing traffic patterns. Even if we generously allowed for an even distribution of these trips across 20 hours, it would still mean an additional 50 vehicles or a minimum of an 11% increase of traffic during our already strained peak hours.

The only way for this not to be the case is if 7-Eleven fails. We don't need to see another empty storefront in this area and I am sure 7-Eleven is not proposing to move to this new location in the hopes that they will fail. Therefore, either way Scarsdale can expect to be hurt by 7-Eleven's move to Scarsdale Ave. Success would bring increased traffic or failure would result in further erosion of our retail base. I urge the Planning Board to reject this proposal in the hope that the operators of 7-Eleven will remain committed to staying on Garth Road where their well-established customer base will arrive on foot and not strain our over-trafficked intersections.

Thank you for your time, attention and service.

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