Gantt Reversal Revives Strong Complete Streets Bill in Assembly
The corner of Syracuse’s S. Geddes St. and Seymour St. is the most dangerous intersection in Albany, Broome, Erie, Monroe, or Onondaga County. Image: Google Street View.
A strong complete streets bill is back on track in Albany. Two weeks ago, Assembly Transportation Committee chair David Gantt amended the bill so that it only covered a tiny subset of roads, effectively eviscerating it. Yesterday, however, Gantt revised the bill again, this time to match the stronger Senate version. That creates the opportunity for this important bill to pass the legislature before the end of the session.
If passed, the legislation would require most new and reconstructed roads to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists, and people with limited mobility. The Senate’s version includes all roads built with state or federal funding; Gantt tried to limit that to only those streets directly run by the state DOT. If Gantt had gotten his way, only three of the 49 most dangerous roads in five large upstate counties would have been covered by the bill.
"The good news is that Gantt amended his bill," said Bill Ferris, the legislative director for AARP, a lead advocate for the legislation, "but now we need the Assembly to pass it." The bill is currently in front of the Ways and Means Committee; it has already passed the full State Senate.
What changed Gantt’s mind? "We don’t know," said Ferris. "We’re just happy that he did."