By Rebecca Abraham
It’s time to fund the Complete Streets law!
In the recently-released New York State Assembly and Senate one-house budgets, the Assembly included $20 million in dedicated funding to ensure the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists. However, the Governor and the Senate failed to include similar provisions in their budgets. In 2011, Governor Cuomo signed the Complete Streets law. Since then, implementation has been hampered across the state, since no state dollars have been dedicated to support projects, and federal dollars have been slashed. New Yorkers need you to tell your legislators and our Governor to fund their law and keep New Yorkers safe and active!
New Yorkers walk and bike a lot. We were rated as the second highest state in percentage of commuters who walk or bike to work – but 29th in spending on bike and pedestrian projects! Our government is putting NY commuters’ lives in jeopardy, and making New York the worst in the nation for pedestrian and bicycling safety: 27 percent of all traffic fatalities in New York are pedestrians and bicyclists.
The decision will be made in the next two weeks, the time to act is NOW!
What can you do?
- Let them know why bike and pedestrian infrastructure is important to you.
- Ask them to speak up to leadership, and include $20 million in the final budget.
Other ways you can help build state-wide public support for Complete Streets Funding:
- Visit your legislator’s local office
- Tell your family, friends, parents’ organizations, and coworkers, and ask them to contact state legislators.
- Write a Letter to the Editor of your local newspapers.
- Spread the word on social media; use the hashtag #WalkRideRollNY
Together we can keep New Yorkers biking, walking, and moving safely.
Additional Action Alerts:
More Support Needed for the Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund:
The Senate supported funding for the Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund in its budget resolution. The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and DASH-NY organizations asked for $15 million for the fund to help bring healthy food retail projects like grocery stores and farmers markets to underserved, lower-income communities. The Assembly, which has long been a champion of healthy food access, remained silent with no budget allocation for either program. This decision came despite the support of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus.
The next two weeks provide a crucial opportunity for us to secure funding for this initiative. The American Heart Association has an action alert and other groups are planning activities. For more information and to get involved, contact Kristin Salvi at Kristin.Salvi@heart.org.
Assembly Includes $545 Million for non-MTA Transit:
Over the next few weeks, the Legislature and Governor will finalize the 2016-17 state budget. The Assembly has listened to transit advocates and included $545 million for the non-MTA transit capital program. Please contact your state legislators as soon as possible and tell them about the importance of transit service to your community and the need for parity in transit funding.