Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick), Chairman of the Senate’s Transportation Committee, today announced that he has introduced legislation to utilize "complete streets" design principles to make roadways safer for all who use them.
"Drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists all share the roads; we need to do everything we can to protect their safety. Taking complete streets design principles into consideration on future road projects will help prevent deaths and injuries on our roads and make them safer for everyone," 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 features 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.
Complete streets design principles have been proven to make roads safer. 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 AARP, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, the New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways, and the New York State County Highway Superintendents Association.
"AARP commends Senator Fuschillo for his leadership in proposing legislation that will make our roadways safer for all users," said Lois Wagh Aronstein, AARP New York State Director. "By utilizing complete street policies in designing our roads, New York will be building livable communities that will allow people to walk more safely in their own neighborhoods."
"We've repeatedly found that what makes a road dangerous is poor design -- exactly what a state Complete Streets law will fix," said Kate Slevin, executive director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign, which has analyzed pedestrian fatalities across the state. "We thank Senator Fuschillo for his tremendous leadership on this issue and are proud to stand with him in support of safer streets."