Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) today announced that his "complete streets" legislation, which would help make roadways safer for all who use them, has been approved by the Senate Finance Committee.
"Complete streets design principles help reduce fatalities and injuries, making our roadways safer for everyone. Taking them into consideration on future projects will help improve safety for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. I’m pleased that this legislation is moving forward and am hopeful that it will soon be approved by the full Senate," said Senator Fuschillo, Chairman of the Senate’s Transportation Committee.
The legislation (S5411) would require all state, county, and local transportation agencies 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), over 300 pedestrians were killed on New York’s roadways in 2009, more than 45 other states. 26 percent of all traffic fatalities in New York State in 2009 involved pedestrians, more than double the national average. Between 2000 and 2009, over 3,200 pedestrians were killed in New York State, according to Transportation for America, a coalition of organizations seeking to improve roadway safety.
Wantagh resident Sandi Vega, whose 14 year old daughter Brittany was killed while walking across Sunrise Highway last September, has been a strong advocate for the complete streets legislation. Mrs. Vega said, "Pedestrians and bicyclists share the same roads with drivers; these roads must be made safer and less dangerous for everyone who uses them. Passing a 'Complete Streets Law' would help save lives, prevent tragedies, and greatly improve safety for all users of the roads. If we spare even one family the pain and lifelong suffering of losing a loved one like I have, it will be well worth it. I wholeheartedly thank Senator Fuschillo and the other members of the Finance Committee for moving this bill forward."
The legislation is also 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, the Business and Labor Coalition of New York, and the New York Academy of Medicine.
The legislation has now completed the committee process in the Senate and will soon be eligible to be brought before the full Senate for a vote.