What We’re Thankful For in 2013

Photo: Staten Island Advance/Anthony DePrimo

Photo: Staten Island Advance/Anthony DePrimo

Although it seems like we’ve been hearing Christmas music since Halloween, we should not forget that there’s another major American holiday coming up. So before we hop on Metro-North, LIRR, NJ Transit and the Fung Wah bus to join our families for some Thanksgiving fun, we thought we’d take a moment to list a few of the things we’re most thankful for:

Citi Bike’s success — Citi Bike has proven to be the nation’s – and one of the world’s – most successful bike share program by multiple metrics, and those who predicted total carnage in the streets have been proven wrong.

CTfastrak spurring development in the busway corridor — Central Connecticut’s under-construction bus rapid transit system CTfastrak won’t start running until 2015, but millions of dollars of new development are already popping up along the Hartford to New Britain busway corridor.

NYSDOT is making progress on some of Long Island’s most dangerous thoroughfares — Hempstead Turnpike, one of the region’s most dangerous roads, is getting much-needed safety upgrades, and years of advocacy are paying off on Route 347, which is being transformed into a true multi-modal corridor.

New Jersey Assemblypersons Singleton, Conaway and Spencer — Troy Singleton, Herb Conaway and Grace Spencer introduced legislation that would bring improved engineering, enforcement and education solutions to protect vulnerable road users and to improve pedestrian safety on New Jersey’s most dangerous roadways.

Sunday bus service adopted in Suffolk County — County Executive Steve Bellone and County Legislators found a way to add more service to Sundays beginning in 2014, and in a surprise to no one, the existing service on two East End routes is becoming even more popular with riders.

Sustainable transportation is becoming a prominent issue in local Connecticut politics — Candidates for mayor in Stamford and New Haven spent more energy than ever before addressing the issues that impact pedestrians and cyclists.

Continued Complete Streets progress in NJ — The Garden State may have a top-ranked Complete Streets policy, but they won’t rest there.  Thirteen New Jersey municipalities — including Camden and Cranford – passed Complete Streets policies since last Thanksgiving.

Nassau and Westchester adopt Complete Streets — County Executive Ed Mangano led the charge, and Nassau County legislators voted unanimously to adopt a county-wide Complete Streets policy, becoming the tenth local government to adopt a Complete Streets program on Long Island. Westchester County legislators were also unanimous in their support for Complete Streets.

Advocates upstate and down are speaking out more on transit — Once upon a time, downstate advocates and transit agencies were the only ones making noise for better transit funding in New York State. Now, upstate advocates and transit agencies — including many of the 200-plus groups who signed on to a letter in support of the (recently-vetoed) transit lockbox bill — are joining the chorus.

More funding for NJ trails projects — Trail projects in South Jersey received over $1 million in Regional Trails Program funding in 2013 from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and the William Penn Foundation.

New York City finally has speed cameras — Not so long ago, speed camera enforcement in New York City seemed like a pipe dream. Thanks to the efforts of advocates and champions in the City Council and in the New York State Legislature, NYC now has 20 speed cameras.

Connecticut passed lockbox legislation — The Connecticut General Assembly inserted language into the omnibus transportation bill (SB975) that restricts the use of the state’s Special Transportation Fund for transportation purposes.

The Gateway tunnel project’s groundbreaking — While it won’t have the capacity of the cancelled Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) tunnel, ground has been broken on the future path of the trans-Hudson “Gateway” rail tunnel.

Not having to focus on reforming NYC DOT — Because Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan (and colleagues) have prioritized making streets safer and more accommodating for pedestriansbicyclists and transit riders, TSTC hasn’t had to spend much time advocating for change at the New York City Department of Transportation during the last six years.

20 years and still kickin’ — TSTC celebrated 20 years of advocacy this year, and with plenty more work to be done, we’re looking forward to the next 20 years!

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