Last week, Long Island was the recipient of $4.3 million in aid from the federal Safe Routes to School program, a program to improve infrastructure to enable and encourage children to walk and bike to school in a safe environment. The grant was part of a $27 million disbursement spread throughout New York State.
While targeted to areas in and around school zones, this funding will improve pedestrian and cycling infrastructure for all of Long Island’s citizens. The allocation, administered by the New York State Department of Transportation’s Region 10, is the first of its kind for Long Island.
According to Region 10′s press release, some of the Long Island school districts and municipalities awarded funding include:
- Uniondale Union Free School District, Nassau County–$550,000 for pedestrian safety improvements.
- Village of Hempstead, Nassau County–$509,905 for pedestrian improvements at Fulton Elementary School.
- Port Washington Union Free School District, Nassau County–$521,850 for bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements.
- Village of Southampton, Suffolk County–$421,000 for pedestrian safety improvements.
- Town of Riverhead, Suffolk County – $475,019 for a sidewalk enhancement and traffic calming project on North Griffing Avenue.
While this is fantastic news for many communities in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, the fact that the grants are so badly needed is an indictment of the auto-centric planning that has dominated Long Island since the end of World War II, and which Region 10 still subscribes to today. Unless this funding allocation spurs a more pedestrian and cycling-friendly mentality at Region 10, Long Island will continue to take two steps backward for every step it takes towards livable streets.
Image: Google Maps satellite image.