New York’s Journey to Safe and Complete Streets

DASHNY Active Communities, FEATURED ARTICLES 2 Comments

By Amanda Li, B.A., Junior Policy Associate

The bad news? Between 2005 and 2014, there were 3,007 pedestrian deaths in New York State. The good news? New York’s Pedestrian Death Index has decreased since 2014, meaning that it has become safer for pedestrians. This is despite the fact that, on average, states across the nation have actually become more dangerous for pedestrians since 2014. According to the Dangerous by Design 2016 Report, in 2016, New York State ranked as the 14th safest state for pedestrians. Great work New York State!

To celebrate the fact that New York has become a safer place for pedestrians, let’s take a look at some of the milestones we achieved over the past few years in terms of creating safe and complete streets for everyone to use, regardless of age or ability.

  • In August of 2011, the Complete Streets Act was signed by Governor Cuomo. It required agencies at the local, county, and state levels to take into account the safety, convenience, and mobility of everyone when they develop transportation projects using government funding.
  • In June of 2016, Governor Cuomo declared the very first New York State Pedestrian Safety Action Plan. The plan will span over five years, involve multiple-agencies, and provide $110 million for the improvement of pedestrian safety via three initiatives: improvements in infrastructure, public education, and enforcement. The New York State Department of Transportation is taking lead on the infrastructure improvements, the State Department of Health is working to implement awareness campaigns and public education programming on pedestrian safety, and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee is focusing on increasing law enforcement.
  • In 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City created the Vision Zero program, which aims to reduce traffic fatalities by 50% by 2025. The Vision Zero Action Plan outlines 121 initiatives on making our streets safer. Initiatives that have been successfully completed thus far include incorporating a Vision Zero curriculum for students in grades 4-6, standardizing signage regarding vehicle safety, increasing enforcement on impaired driving, providing focused training on safety awareness to bus operators, and expanding the use of technology around collision avoidance among many others.
  • As highlighted in this prior DASH-NY blog post, Ogdensbury, NY ranked number one in its policies on Complete Streets in 2014!

Complete Streets is an integral part of DASH-NY’s priority to create Active Communities. We are excited by the progress that has been made and proud of New York for becoming a safer place for pedestrians. As part of DASH-NY’s 2017 policy priorities, we hope to establish dedicated state funding for Complete Streets and continue the great work that’s been done.

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Comments 2

  1. I appreciate your coverage of complete streets as a healthy and life-saving trend in New York; but you give only scant mention to BICYCLING as a highly desirable form of transportation choice for all concerned. I’m 61 and have been cycling in NYC since moving here from SC in 1993, and I’m immeasurably happy neither to need nor desire a motor vehicle to get around on our heavily congested streets. As a member and activist with Transportation Alternatives–whose work with NYCDOT in this crucial area of urban quality of life merits high commendation–, I’ve joined in the great initiative for safer cycling and walking citywide. As the father of a bicycling high schooler I want to help make Mayor DeBlasio’s Vision Zero become a reality–throughout NYC’s five boroughs.
    So I hope future issues of your publication will promote the proliferation of PROTECTED BICYCLE LANES and the expansion of CityBike throughout our City, as well as encourage New Yorkers and visitors alike to hop on a bike and get around town using this highly salutary and enjoyable mode of transportation. Thank you.

    1. Post

      Hi David,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to our blog post! We really appreciate your feedback. We definitely agree that bicycling is a very important mode of transportation, and acknowledge the importance of protected bicycle lanes and Citi Bike. Given the statewide focus of DASH-NY, our goal was to have the blog post reflect more on the statewide accomplishments of Complete Streets. As such, we did not include many of the important city-wide initiatives that you mentioned. However, we will definitely keep the importance of bicycling in mind for any future blog posts around Complete Streets.

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