Albany 2012: Lawmakers Strike Out on Safe Streets and Transit

Albany lawmakers had several opportunities during the 2012 session to come through for transit riders, pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. They came up short on every count.

Hayley and Diego's Law, ##http://www.streetsblog.org/2010/10/14/district-attorneys-can-start-enforcing-hayley-and-diegos-law-today/##adopted in 2010## to hold New York drivers somewhat accountable for careless driving, will go virtually unenforced by NYPD for at least another year.

A bill targeted at NYPD’s self-imposed ban on citing motorists for careless driving passed the State Senate transportation committee but did not come to a vote in the full Senate, while the Assembly version never made it out of committee.

Introduced by Brooklyn Democrat Dan Squadron, the bill would have amended Hayley and Diego’s Law by explicitly stating that officers may issue tickets to drivers who harm pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable street users whether or not they directly observe an infraction. Currently, NYPD protocol prohibits precinct officers from issuing tickets under VTL 1146, the state statute that includes Hayley and Diego’s Law as well as Elle’s Law.

“It’s a top priority for us and we’ll continue to push to get it done as soon as possible,” said Squadron spokesperson Amy Spitalnick.

Legislation that would permit New York City to install cameras to ticket and fine speeding motorists, without attaching points to their licenses, was again kept from the governor’s desk. Though Staten Island Republican Andrew Lanza introduced the bill in the Senate for the first time, Assembly members failed to overcome opposition from upstate obstructionist David Gantt, chair of the Assembly transportation committee.

Brooklyn Republican Marty Golden’s bill to stiffen penalties for leaving the scene of a crash passed the Senate but died in the Assembly transportation committee, according to Golden’s office.

Charlotte’s Law, which would permanently take away the licenses of drivers convicted of three or more serious traffic offenses in 25 years, failed to clear committee in either house. A spokesperson for Schenectady Republican James Tedisco, who introduced the “three strikes” bill in the Assembly, told Streetsblog that efforts remain active to prod Governor Cuomo to take administrative action to implement facets of the bill.

On the transit front, legislation to protect dedicated transit funds from being stolen by state lawmakers stalled in committee.

One measure that passed both houses and appears headed toward becoming law: legislation to regulate increasingly popular curbside bus service provided by companies including BoltBus and Megabus. Cap’n Transit writes that the new requirements are overly burdensome and would strangle one of the region’s few sources of growing transit ridership.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Careless Driving Amendment Passes Senate, Awaits Action by Assembly

|
A bill targeted at NYPD’s self-imposed ban on penalizing motorists for careless driving has cleared the State Senate, but awaits passage in the Assembly. The bill would amend Hayley and Diego’s Law by explicitly stating that officers may ticket or arrest drivers who harm pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable street users whether or not they […]

No More Excuses: Albany Bill Tells NYPD How to Enforce Careless Driving

|
At the February City Council hearing on NYPD traffic enforcement, council members and the public learned that a driver who injures a pedestrian or cyclist in New York City is not normally cited under the state vulnerable user laws unless an officer witnesses the violation. NYPD officials said department protocol prohibits precinct officers from issuing tickets […]

De Blasio Wants Albany to Make Careless Driving a Crime [Updated]

|
As part of his Vision Zero agenda, Mayor Bill de Blasio wants Albany to elevate careless driving to a criminal offense, increasing penalties while making it easier for police to hold reckless motorists accountable. Enacted in 2010, Hayley and Diego’s Law was intended as a default infraction for crashes that injure pedestrians and cyclists. But under Ray […]

Assembly Kneecaps Complete Streets; Senate Passes Hayley & Diego’s Law

|
Just when you thought the State Assembly was safe for forward-thinking transportation legislation, Rochester rep David Gantt, the Transportation Committee chair formerly of bus cam-killing fame, has thrown a wrench into attempts to pass a complete streets bill. The complete streets bill would require almost all new and reconstructed roads in the state to accommodate […]