On June 10, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $75.6 million in federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funding for road safety projects across New York State, including significant bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements. The attention shown to non-motorists clearly demonstrates that the Governor and the NYS Department of Transportation are concerned with the safety of all road users, and are willing to address safety issues that plague New York’s roadway system.
Parks & Trails New York, and the other coordinating members of the New Yorkers for Active Transportation (NY4AT) coalition, issued a statement applauding the steps taken by the Governor and the State’s transportation agency to protect vulnerable cyclists and pedestrians. They noted that improvements such as wider crosswalks, new pedestrian refuges, traffic-calming curb extensions, wider shoulders and protected bike lanes will pay big dividends for pedestrians and bicyclists by allowing safer access to worksites, schools, community destinations, parks and trails and by stimulating economic activity and quality of life on small-town Main Streets and in urban downtowns.
Earlier this year, NY4AT urged the Governor and NYSDOT to dedicate a greater portion of HSIP funds to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure than in past years, due to persistently high numbers of bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities. The coalition also pushed the legislature to establish dedicated state funding for active transportation infrastructure, and fully implement the 2011 New York Complete Streets law, which commits the State to consideration of all roadway users when designing and building the roadway network.
New York currently lags behind neighboring states in the funding sources it directs to active transportation projects, and the lack of dedicated funding sources prevents local communities from effectively planning and building local improvements. That makes actions like this announcement all the more important. By making walking and bicycling and the safety of all roadway users a priority, the Governor has taken a significant step towards creating a safer New York for residents and visitors alike. After a cursory review of the projects announced, we’ve determined that bicycle and/or pedestrian improvements are mentioned in more than 60% of the project descriptions. Moreover, all of the projects in Long Island and the New York City area mention bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Long Island cyclists and pedestrians will get much needed relief from projects such as wider crosswalks and new pedestrian refuges on State Route 110 in the Village of Amityville (Suffolk County), and traffic-calming curb extension on Austin Boulevard in Island Park (Nassau County).
NY4AT is a coalition dedicated to achieving equitable funding for non‐motorized transportation, including complete streets, community multi‐use trails, and safer and increased levels of bicycling and walking in New York’s cities, villages, and towns. The coalition is coordinated by Parks & Trails New York, the New York Bicycling Coalition, and Tri State Transportation Campaign.