Complete Streets Passes Legislature Unanimously, Cuomo Expected To Sign

Whether in rural or urban contexts, complete streets make sure there is room for all users to have safe space on the street. Image: ##http://blog.tstc.org/2011/05/19/a-broad-bipartisan-push-for-ny-complete-streets/##TSTC##

Complete streets legislation passed both houses of the state legislature unanimously yesterday. With Governor Andrew Cuomo expected to sign the legislation, safer and more inclusive road design should be coming soon to streets across the state.

“Everyone knew that something had to be done,” said AARP New York legislative director Bill Ferris, “so the political will was there.” In the five largest upstate counties, a pedestrian is killed by a car every ten days. On Long Island, a pedestrian is killed once a week, and in New York City, once every two and a half days. Older pedestrians are disproportionately killed in traffic crashes.

Complete streets legislation would require planners to take account of all users, including those on foot, on a bicycle, or with limited mobility, when designing a road that receives state or federal funds.

After stalling out in the Assembly in the past, the complete streets bill passed this year due to some changes to the legislation’s language and support from the governor’s office, said Ferris. “The argument that it was an unfunded mandate was put to bed,” he explained, by including a provision clarifying that municipalities wouldn’t have to spend more on complete streets projects than what was already allocated from state and federal funding. Since the governor’s office participated in the crafting of that language, explained Ferris, “we believe that the governor will sign this into law.”

In addition to support from Cuomo’s office, the complete streets bill was able to continue forward in the Senate despite the change Democratic to Republican control, thanks to support from the new chair of the transportation committee, Charles Fuschillo. “Senator Fuschillo picked up the reins on this issue from last year and pushed it over the top,” said Ferris.

Assuming that the complete streets bill is signed into law, Ferris said that AARP will next be looking into ensuring that there is sufficient funding for pedestrian and bike projects and the state DOT’s Safe Seniors program.

  • dporpentine

    I assume this will be denounced by Seniors for Safety.

  • J

    Nope. They’ll have no comment at all, since all they care about is getting rid of a single bike lane.

  • Mark Walker

    Having disparaged Cuomo before this, I have to hand it to him. Job well done.

  • moocow

    But there is something there though, a connection, right? NBBL or SfS, would have to call a group advocating for their own safety like AARP “Aging Zealots” or “Infirmity Fanatics”. By NBBL’s own method of mislabeling cyclists, pedestrians and neighbors who advocate for their own safety it would seem like that would be their next press release.

  • Rob

    Credit goes to all the Streetbloggers in New York who made lots of calls to their state legislators and the governor!  Well done!

  • Anonymous

    “Aging Zealots” or “Infirmity Fanatics”  –haha, hilarious.  I hope to live a long time, so I guess count me as an Aging Zealot, but certainly not an Infirmity Fanatic. 😉

  • The change means nothing until those responsible for designing our roads buy into the idea.

    Look at this conversation at the very technical MUTCD government forum. This forum is frequented by local officials and traffic planners seeking advice in understanding the very complex MUTCD.

    http://knowledge.fhwa.dot.gov/cops/OpsPublic.nsf/discussionDisplay?Open&id=00F16B9474E5F6058525789B005912FD&Group=MUTCD%20General&tab=DISCUSSION#00F16B9474E5F6058525789B005912FD

    Look what user Steve says:
    “Nope. The way it will work in practice is bascially the way it does now. You

    briefly “consider” bikes and peds in order to be able to say you have met the

    standard, and then base your decision on the 85th and the accident history.”

    It’s frightening that people like Steve are the ones working in DOTs around the country.

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