Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick), Chairman of the Senate’s Transportation Committee, today announced that the Committee has approved his "complete streets" legislation to help make roadways safer for all who use them.
"Complete streets design principles help reduce fatalities and injuries, which is why we should take them into consideration on future projects. The Committee’s approval of this legislation is a positive step in the right direction towards making our roadways safer for everyone," said Senator Fuschillo.
Under the legislation (S5411), all state, county, and local transportation agencies would have to consider complete streets design principles on all projects which receive both federal and state funding.
Complete streets design principles are roadway design features that accommodate and facilitate safe travel by all users, including current and projected users, including motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and individuals of all ages and abilities. These features include sidewalks, paved shoulders suitable for use by bicyclists, lane stripping, bicycle lanes, share the road signage, crosswalks, pedestrian control signalization, bus pull outs, curb cuts, raised crosswalks, ramps and traffic calming measures designed to allow pedestrian and motor traffic to easily coexist.
A Federal Highway Administration safety review found that streets designed with these features improve safety for all users, enabling pedestrians to cross busy roads in two stages, improving bicycle safety and reducing left-turning motorist crashes to zero.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,092 pedestrians were killed by motorists in the U.S. in 2009 - an average of one death every two hours. 19 percent of these fatalities were people ages 65 and older. In addition, the NHTSA stated that over 59,000 pedestrians were injured by motorists in 2009, an average of one injury every 9 minutes in 2009. In New York State, pedestrian fatalities accounted for over 26 percent of all traffic-related fatalities in 2009, more than double the national average.
The legislation is supported by a number of organizations, including AARP, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, the New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways, the New York State County Highway Superintendents Association, and the Business and Labor Coalition of New York.
AARP, in a memo supporting the legislation, stated that "safe and accessible roadways and sidewalks are a critical link in our transportation system and vitally important to access community services" and that the legislation would "bring more of a balance to our roads and make them safe for all users."
The legislation now goes to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration.