Yet, New York State plans to spend fewer dollars on pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure; advocates call on the Governor to allocate more resources.
According to state data, there were 2,679 vehicle collisions with pedestrians or bicyclists in Monroe County over a four-year period from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2012. Using the New York State Department of Transportation’s Accident Data Files, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a non-profit transportation policy watchdog organization, found that pedestrians were involved in 1,479 of these collisions and 1,200 involved bicyclists.1 Thirty-three of these collisions were fatal (28 pedestrian collisions and 5 bicyclist collisions). The City of Rochester had the highest number of collisions (1,614) and the town of Greece the second highest (215)…
According to the Campaign’s analysis of NYSDOT’s “2013 Draft Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)”, the blueprint for how NYSDOT will spend its transportation dollars, New York will be spending 40 percent less of its overall transportation dollars on projects such as sidewalks, painted or new crosswalks, bicycle lanes or pedestrian islands, measures that make it safer and more inviting for people to walk and bike.
New York plans to spend only 0.98% of its transportation dollars on pedestrian and bicycling projects from FFY 2014-2017, a reduction of more than $100 million as compared to FFY 2011-2014.2
“New York State has the highest percentage of traffic fatalities for pedestrians and bicyclists in the nation: in 2012, 27% of all fatalities on New York’s roads were pedestrians and bicyclists,” said Veronica Vanterpool, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “New York should be topping the charts on investments to make its streets safe to walk and bike, not working to zero it out.”
Many of these safety measures are low-cost, such as re-striping vehicle lanes to accommodate bicycles or repainting crosswalks so they are more visible, so the reduction in funding amounts to significantly fewer projects that make roadways safer for all users of the road.
“These troubling findings are unfortunate and need to be addressed,” said Beth Finkel, AARP New York State Director. “Spending around a penny on the dollar to address street safety should be unacceptable to all New Yorkers. New York needs safe streets for our children and older persons alike, and Governor Cuomo needs to reverse this policy and invest more in safe passageways for pedestrians.”
In 2012, a Complete Streets bill was signed into law by Governor Cuomo sending a strong signal that streets should include safer road infrastructurefor everyone that uses New York’s roads—including drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users of all ages and abilities. Yet, the paltry investment recalls that message.
“Pass a Complete Streets Law and then spend fewer dollars on improving the safety of our roads? This is a bait and switch that shouldn’t be tolerated,” said Nadine Lemmon, Albany legislative advocate of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “Governor Cuomo must dedicate a fair share of state transportation dollars to Complete Streets to help make our communities safer.”