With less than a month left in Albany’s legislative session, advocates continue to fight for complete streets legislation (S5411) to ensure that roads throughout the state are designed for everyone who uses them. On TSTC’s website, New Yorkers can now e-mail Governor Cuomo and members of the State Assembly in support of a complete streets bill.
Sandi Vega, a Long Island resident who has worked toward complete streets since her daughter Brittany was killed last fall, also released an open letter to Governor Cuomo, which is reprinted below:
Dear Governor Cuomo,
I need your help. New York State needs a Complete Streets law, now, and I am requesting your support and advocacy to make sure this bill is passed before the legislature goes home.
New York has some of the most dangerous roads in the nation, and it is time to stop the carnage. In the fall of 2010, my daughter, Brittany Vega, a 14-year-old walking to school on Long Island, was struck and killed by a car while crossing the road. This particular road, Sunrise Highway, is a 6-lane, arterial road that bisects the central business and residential areas of our hometown in Wantagh. With no count-down clock, there was no way Brittany could tell how long she had to get across. With no pedestrian island in the roadway, she had no safe refuge. She made a guess, and it cost her life.
Complete Streets design principles assure that when roads are built or redesigned, they take into account the needs of all users of the roads, not just cars. Simple changes in road design—such as count-down clocks, better crosswalks, protected bike lanes, and traffic calming devices—can dramatically reduce the number of fatalities on our roads. Complete Streets are safe streets: streets that encourage economic development and assure our seniors can stay in their homes and walk to services, and that our children can make it safely to school. Complete Streets are also environmental streets—providing people with transportation choices that can help to cut down on the congestion and smog that are impacting our health and climate.
Following your lead, in March, advocates for the bill met with those who were concerned that it was an “unfunded mandate.” Both sides were able to come to an agreement and shake hands over new language that everyone was comfortable with. That new bill has been introduced in the Senate, with bi-partisan support, and is moving. However, it is my understanding that the Assembly is waiting for comments from your office before moving the bill in the Assembly.
I urge you to support and find a way to help pass the State Complete Streets bill (S5411) so that our future roads take into account the needs of all users—including users like my daughter.
The complete streets bill continues to move through the State Senate. It passed the Senate’s Transportation Committee last week, and will be on the Finance Committee’s agenda on Thursday. But no equivalent bill has been introduced in the Assembly. Leadership from the governor and individual assemblymembers can move this bill and prevent needless deaths and injuries. To take action for a New York complete streets law, click here or visit www.tstc.org/completestreets/.