As he announced yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the complete streets bill into law this afternoon. The law will require all major transportation projects — either those undertaken by the state DOT or funded and overseen by them — to consider all users, whether they are driving, cycling or walking. Depending on the context, that could mean anything from including a shoulder on the side of the road to building sidewalks and crosswalks to installing traffic calming devices and bike lanes.
Complete streets wouldn’t be state policy (it becomes official 180 days from now, in mid-February) if it weren’t for committed safety advocates. AARP, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Transportation Alternatives, the New York League of Conservation Voters and an environmental movement which named complete streets one of five “Super Bills” all did the hard work to take a policy that died in the Assembly last year successfully through Albany this time around. Inside government, officials from the state DOT and Cuomo’s office helped hammer out the details of the bill while Assembly Member David Gantt and Senator Charles Fuschillo served as lead sponsors in their chambers.
And a profound measure of credit goes to Sandi Vega. Vega’s daughter Brittany was killed last year walking across Long Island’s SunriseHighway, one of the region’s very deadliest roads. Vega honored her daughter’s memory by becoming a passionate fighter for complete streets.