The Complete Streets Legislation unanimously passed both the state Senate and the Assembly yesterday with Governor Andrew Cuomo expected to sign the new legislation into law. The law would create safer and more sustainable road design across the state by requiring planners to consider all users, not just cars. The measure comes into account in light of shocking traffic statistics: “in five of the largest upstate counties, a pedestrian is killed by a car every ten days; on Long Island, a pedestrian is killed once a week; and in New York City, once every two and a half days.”
“Everyone knew that something had to be done,” said AARP New York legislative director Bill Ferris, in a report by Streetsblog “…The political will was there.”
The Complete Streets Legislation requires planners to design roads by taking into account all users, including pedestrians, cyclists, and those who might have physical disabilities. The bill is directed at roads that are designed using state and federal funds. Not only will the law make our streets safer, but it will pave the way for a more sustainable transportation system. Bike and pedestrian paths wills no longer be after thoughts, but instead they will be at the forefront of street planning.
The bill had been in the works for sometime, but was finally able to pass the Assembly after some changes to the original bill. Despite the change from a Democrat controlled Senate to a Republican, the bill continued to receive overwhelming bipartisan support. The Governor also contributed to crafting the language of the bill and is expected to sign it shortly.
Should the bill be signed into law, the AARP will next look to insure that there is sufficient government funding for pedestrian and bike projects, as well as the State DOT’s Safe Seniors program.
While the bill may have been initiated because of safety concerns, we think it sends a pretty clear message about sustainability as well. It’s encouraging to know that our lawmakers believe that pedestrians and cyclists deserve the same consideration when it comes to mapping out our streets. Motor vehicles no longer rule the road.