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Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo Will Sign Complete Streets Bill Into Law

3:35 PM EDT on August 15, 2011

Whether in rural or urban contexts, complete streets make sure there is room for all users to have safe space on the street. Image: TSTC.

Governor Andrew Cuomo will sign complete streets legislation into law, his office announced in a press release today. Once signed, the law will require all major transportation projects in the state to consider all users, including pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

"New York's roadways should safely accommodate all pedestrians, motorists and cyclists, and this legislation will help communities across the state achieve this objective," Governor Cuomo said in a press release. "Complete Streets designs recognize measures that will make streets safer for New Yorkers of all ages and abilities."

The law will cover all state Department of Transportation projects in addition to local projects which are overseen by the state DOT and which receive federal and state funding. The governor's press release lists sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, pedestrian walk lights, bus pull outs, curb cuts, raised crosswalks, ramps, and traffic calming measures as possible design features that might be part of a complete street, depending on the location and context.

Cuomo was expected to sign the complete streets bill after it passed the state legislature unanimously. The bill died in the Assembly in 2010 but after some revisions and a renewed advocacy push finally made it through Albany this June.

"We believe this new law is a key ingredient to build livable communities across New York State where people can age and live independently as long as possible," said AARP New York legislative director Bill Ferris. Ferris said he was confident that the law would be implemented quickly and effectively, as both the state DOT and the governor's office were involved in the crafting of the latest version of the bill.

"We're very excited that Governor Cuomo is moving forward with this," said Nadine Lemmon, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s Albany legislative advocate. "It's definitely important for smart growth, for bringing back our downtowns. It's going to be huge for safety." Because the state policy only affects large projects, Lemmon said she hoped to see local communities pass their own complete streets policies to complement it. No town in Westchester County has yet passed its own policy, she said, though a number of Long Island towns have.

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