Gantt Reversal Revives Strong Complete Streets Bill in Assembly

S._Geddes_and_Seymour.pngThe 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."
  • We have updated our complete streets e-alert, for anyone who wants to message Ways and Means Chair Denny Farrell and their assemblymember, at http://www.tstc.org/completestreets/ (it was targeting Gantt until this turn of events).

    As far as why this happened, we’re in the same boat with Bill Ferris. But I know that AARP and NYS Bicycle Coalition members have been sending in calls and e-mails. More public pressure can’t hurt.

  • Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    Well, let’s give Gantt a round of applause. He changed his mind. That doesn’t happen very often in politics.

  • Zufechten

    Just a thought about the AARP report. I bet lots of other intersections are just as bad or worse, but have better safety histories simply because people avoid walking there.

  • DonH

    I agree that Assemblyman Gantt deserves credit for restoring the effectiveness of the Compolete Streets bill. New York State desperately needs to revise its attitude towards building and repairing roadways. In most case the only thought is given to cars. I hope this passes both houses of the NYS leg. and is signed by the Govenor.

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