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18 Council Members Call for Bolder Street Redesigns From de Blasio and DOT

A template for two-way street design with pedestrian medians, protected bike lanes, transit lanes, and other elements from the "Vision Zero Design Standard." Image: Transportation Alternatives

A template for two-way street design with pedestrian medians, protected bike lanes, transit lanes, and other elements from TA’s “Vision Zero Design Standard.” Image: Transportation Alternatives

The de Blasio administration is missing opportunities to make progress on its Vision Zero street safety goals, say advocates, and so far 18 City Council members have signed on to their campaign for a bolder approach from City Hall and DOT.

While the mayor recently committed an additional $317 million for street reconstruction projects over six years, that money won't go very far if it only results in minor design changes instead of major improvements for walking, biking, and transit. In December, Transportation Alternatives released the "Vision Zero Design Standard" to supply a template for more ambitious street overhauls.

Council Member Dan Garodnick meets with T.A. and Families for Safe Streets volunteers. Photo: David Meyer
Council Member Dan Garodnick (top left) meets with T.A. and Families for Safe Streets volunteers. Photo: David Meyer
Council Member Dan Garodnick meets with T.A. and Families for Safe Streets volunteers. Photo: David Meyer

In the last few weeks, TA and Families for Safe Streets have been asking council members to endorse the Vision Zero Design Standard. The sign-on letter has two requests: that top-to-bottom street reconstruction projects include as many design elements like protected bike lanes, pedestrian-priority crossings, and transit lanes as possible; and that routine street repaving projects incorporate fixes like curb extensions with low-cost materials like paint and flexible posts [PDF].

Two dozen volunteers yesterday met with nearly every council member and their staffs, asking them to sign on to the letter.

"To be honest, I thought it was already happening. It was slightly disconcerting to see that [the Vision Zero design standard] needed to have advocacy," said Upper East Side Council Member Ben Kallos after his meeting with volunteers. "It’s common sense that if they are going to rebuild a street, that it should be rebuilt with safety improvements."

"It’s very rare to have people who actually have a personal experience to come and talk about that experience, and obviously that always makes a significant difference," said Council Member David Greenfield, who represents Midwood and Borough Park. “New Yorkers will never know the good work that they do because they because they’re preventing the kinds of things that have, unfortunately, happened, in many cases to their relatives.”

The 16 other council members who have signed on so far are: Dan Garodnick, Helen Rosenthal, Donovan Richards, Antonio Reynoso, Stephen Levin, Ritchie Torres, James Vacca, Margaret Chin, Daniel Dromm, Brad Lander, Carlos Menchaca, Costa Constantinides, Peter Koo, Raphael Espinal, Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, and transportation committee chair Ydanis Rodriguez.

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