August 19, 2010

Contact : Veronica Vanterpool, (212) 268-7474
Peter Fleischer, (917) 443-4248

NYSTEA calls on Speaker Silver and the NYS Assembly:

Act Now to Pass Complete Streets Law—It is Time to Prevent Needless Deaths on Our Roads

The New York State Transportation Equity Alliance (NYSTEA), comprised of over 70 groups and representing thousands of New Yorkers across the state, is calling on Speaker Silver and the NYS Assembly to come back to Albany and pass the Complete Streets bill, A.8587-B. This bill will cover roads that are eligible for state and federal funding and will help to prevent needless deaths by requiring engineers to consider the safety of all users when redesigning our roads.

New Yorkers can’t wait another year for this important legislation. The NYSTEA coalition is focused on reforming transportation policy so that it addresses the needs of all New Yorkers, not just those who can afford, or are able, to drive a car. Designing our roads in a way that assures the health and safety of all users of the road—cyclists, pedestrians and drivers alike—is a crucial step to assure transportation equity across the state.

New York ranks 3rd in the nation for pedestrian fatality rates for people age 60 and over. Of the total traffic deaths in New York State, 22.5% are pedestrians—almost double the national average.* These numbers can be improved by changing the way we design our roads. “Simple design changes in our roads—such as crosswalks, lane stripping, curb cuts, sidewalks and timed crossing signals—can make a vast improvement in the ability to safely navigate the street. This is about saving lives and assuring that everyone has safe access in our communities. Complete Streets not only makes streets safer, but it will help revitalize New York's many Main Streets and town centers, ” explained Peter Fleischer, Executive Director of Empire State Future.

For many aging New Yorkers, giving up their car also means giving up mobility because many of our communities don’t have safe pedestrian access to the services they need. Kate Slevin, Executive Director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign, said: “Communities across the state have taken the important step of passing Complete Streets policies that can help older New Yorkers who want to stay mobile. Recently, policies have been passed in rural communities like Gowanda and suburban communities like Babylon. It is time for New York State to follow their lead.”

"Opponents of the law are claiming it is an unfunded mandate. This is not true––the law requires that Complete Streets be considered in the design phase; if accommodations are determined to be too costly, the law provides an exemption," explained Nadine Lemmon, Albany Advocate for Tri-State Transportation Campaign .

Enacting a comprehensive complete streets policy in New York State would not only improve the quality of life for millions of New Yorkers across the state, it would provide much needed support to make our communities more livable now and into the future.

*Dangerous by Design, 2000, Transportation for America and Surface Transportation Policy Partnership.