Town of Hempstead Passes Complete Streets Policy

Hempstead, the largest township in the country, has passed a complete streets policy that builds upon several recent victories for Long Island pedestrians and cyclists.

New York State has promised to improve the deadly Hempstead Turnpike, pictured above, and now the Town of Hempstead has committed to making its streets safer for all users | Photo: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

The Town Board of Hempstead’s policy ensures that roads constructed in the municipality “shall whenever possible be designed and executed in a balanced, responsible and equitable way to accommodate and encourage travel by bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and their passengers, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.”

At the hearing, citizen advocate Sandi Vega spoke out in favor of this step towards safer streets, as did Vision Long Island Executive Director Eric Alexander and Tri-State Policy Director Ryan Lynch.

Hempstead’s resolution helps close a loophole left in New York State’s complete streets law, which only applies to roads built with state and federal funding. The policy is particularly significant because of Hempstead’s size: the town has approximately 770,000 residents.

The resolution takes effect immediately, and it embraces a progressive transportation philosophy. From now on, “the Town shall view all transportation developments as opportunities to improve safety, access, and mobility for all travelers in the Town and recognizes bicycle, pedestrian and transit modes as integral elements of the transportation system.”

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