Senators seek funds for walking, biking

800px-NewYorkAssemblyChamber (800x468)20 New York Senators have signed a letter pressing Governor Cuomo and Senate leadership for $20 million in dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian project in this year’s budget. Thanks for supporting active transportation, Senators!

At the urging of PTNY and partners in the New Yorkers for Active Transportation (NY4AT) coalition, a group of 20 Senators have requested $20 million in dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian safety and infrastructure to be included in the state budget. The Senators have signed on to a letter circulated by Senator Martin Malavé Dilan (D-Bushwick) which asks for Senate leadership to include the funding in the chamber’s one-house budget bill. Senator Dilan’s letter recognizes that access to active transportation is essential for all New Yorkers, and dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure represents an investment in safety, quality of life, community health, and business vitality for downtown business districts. A similar letter is currently circulating in the Assembly.

Commuting Participation and Safety Infographic_final (1024x741)The push for dedicated bicycle and pedestrian funding comes as a response to reductions in federal and state funding for active transportation projects, as well as high levels of roadway fatalities among non-motorized users. The current federal transportation law, MAP-21, cut New York’s dedicated federal dollars for bicycle and pedestrian projects by about $12 million a year. While advocates were pleased with NYSDOT’s February announcement of $50 million in new Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funding, it represents 30% fewer dollars than the state had available for bicycle, pedestrian, and safe routes to school programs in the past.

A recent analysis of the State Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) also showed that NYSDOT plans to spend less money on bike/ped projects than it spent before passage of the Complete Streets Law – at least $20 million less annually. Moreover, safety issues and accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists continue to plague communities around the state. In 2012, New York State ranked worst in the nation for pedestrian and bicycling safety – 27% of the fatalities on New York roads were pedestrians and bicyclists.

“We thank Senator Dilan and his colleagues in the Senate and Assembly for their leadership in addressing this funding gap in this year’s state budget. Local leaders are eager to build trails, bike lanes, and sidewalks because that is what their constituents tell them they want. We must ensure that all communities have access to sufficient resources to fund these projects so persons of all ages and abilities can safely walk and bike in New York State,” said Parks & Trails New York Director of Programs and Policy Fran Gotcsik.

A big thanks to the Senators who signed onto the letter supporting dedicated bicycle and pedestrian funding!

Signers:

Senator Martin Malavé Dilan, Senator Timothy M. Kennedy, Senator Adriano Espaillat, Senator Brad Hoylman, Senator Kevin S. Parker, Senator Jose M. Serrano, Senator George S. Latimer, Senator Bill Perkins, Senator Gustavo Rivera, Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk, Senator Neil Breslin, Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Senator Toby A. Stavisky, Senator Daniel L. Squadron, Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Senator Terry Gipson, Senator James Sanders, Jr., Senator Ted O’Brien, Senator Michael Gianaris, Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

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