(New York, NY) Assemblyman Edward Hennessey is calling on the New York State DOT to design and deliver streets that are safer, more usable and welcoming for everyone. New York State adopted a Complete Streets policy in 2011.
Completing the streets requires planners and engineers to design and operate roadways with all users in mind, including bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and riders, motorcyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.
“It is time to make our roadways more accommodating to the growing number of bicyclists, walkers and runners. It happens with smarter, safer complete streets that are tailored to communities’ usage and needs,” said Assemblyman Hennessey.
“Depending on the community, complete streets could mean sidewalks, bike lanes, special bus lanes, accessible public transportation stops, in short, designs that enable and encourage people to use cars less, walk and ride more, get out and about in their communities,” said Assemblyman Hennessey.
Assemblyman Hennessey is currently pushing for funding for roadway projects that include pilot programs for a Safe Route to Transit Program for traffic calming around transit systems; safety bike lanes along roadways; emergency evacuation routes in flood-prone areas; and intersection improvements. He is also calling for Suffolk County to dedicate half of any speed camera revenue to traffic calming hard construction projects at the proposed school zones.
Hennessey also noted the need for tougher legislation.
“We have a very big problem on Long Island with hit and run drivers, people who flee the scene leaving the pedestrian or bike rider to die on the side of the road. My bill A7315 seeks to increase penalties and de-incentivize drivers from fleeing the scene of an accident. I believe this will prove to be a very important step in enhancing safety for road users, but we must do more and that is where modernizing our roads comes in. Completing our streets to make them safer for everyone just makes sense,” Hennessey said.
The NYS Department of Motor Vehicles reports that in 2012 in Suffolk County, 312 pedestrians and 45 bicyclists were killed by vehicles; another 559 pedestrians and 338 bicyclists were injured that same year. Tri-State Transportation Campaign reports that the rate of pedestrian and bike fatalities make up 27% of all traffic fatalities in the state. However the NYS DOT thus far allocates only 2% of its funding for transportation improvement projects to make the roads safer and more complete for non-vehicle users.
“Just take a look around and see who is using the roadways besides motorists: everyday walkers, moms pushing strollers, children and kids going to school or the corner store, people riding their bikes to work, retired couples taking the air and staying fit; bicyclists and runners in droves. In fact, Long Island has become a haven for large groups of cyclists and runners. We are no longer simply a car culture. It is time for our roadways to reflect that.”