New Yorkers for Active Transportation (NY4AT) delivered a united message to Governor Cuomo on January 14: more than 1,300 postcards from New Yorkers across the state want the Governor to dedicate funding to improve New York’s pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure. The postcard delivery repeated the request sent in December 2013, from more than 50 organizations across the state representing environmental, health, aging, equity, and transportation groups.
The postcards and letter call for the Governor to include $20 million in the 2014‐15 state budget specifically dedicated to funding pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure projects, with a minimum additional commitment of $20 million annually over the next five years. Advocates emphasized the impact better infrastructure can have on a community’s quality of life, its ability to create safe walking and biking environments and a healthier population, increase local real estate values, provide more equitable and affordable transportation options, and reduce air pollution.
Senator Tim Kennedy, who supports targeted funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure as a means to boost quality of life and community development in Buffalo and across the state, introduced new legislation to expand the state’s Complete Streets law following the delivery of the 1300 postcards. Senator Kennedy’s legislation would help to create a transportation system in which New Yorkers feel safe enough to get out of their cars, walk to local stores, and ride their bicycles to work.
In 2012, New York State had the worst pedestrian and cycling safety record in the nation, with 27 percent of road fatalities involving a bicyclist or pedestrian. In 2011, a Complete Streets law was signed by Governor Cuomo, a law intended to improve the safety of roads for all users. Unfortunately, a recent Tri‐State Transportation Campaign analysis showed New York State will be investing less money on pedestrian and bicycling safety over the next four years than before passage of the law.