Yesterday, one day after advocates delivered panniers full of postcards to Governor Cuomo calling on him to address the inadequate funding of pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure in New York State, the Governor responded loudly and clearly: he announced grant awards totaling $67 million for 63 bicycle, pedestrian and multi-use path projects across the state.
These projects, selected through a competitive process, will receive federal dollars for 80 percent of the project costs, with a 20 percent local match, resulting in a total investment of $96.5 million. It had been anticipated that $30 million in federal dollars would be available; it is unclear what pot of money the additional $37 million came from, but the bonus dollars certainly put smiles on the faces of active transportation fans across the state. As Tri-State’s Executive Director Veronica Vanterpool stated in the Governor’s press release, “It’s a significant step forward in the spirit of the state’s Complete Streets law.”
After 50 years of building a transportation system that does not accommodate the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists, it will take more than one year of bumper-crop funding to rebuild a safer transportation network. Advocates are still looking for a clear policy of sustained and dedicated funding in the Governor’s Executive Budget, to be released on Tuesday, January 21.
A few projects that stand out:
- Sunrise Highway Streetscape Program in the Village of Freeport in Nassau
- Downtown Main Street sidewalk and roadway improvements in the Village of Port Jefferson in Suffolk
- A connectivity project in the City of Kingston
- Closing a gap in the Erie Canal trail system in Montgomery County
- Separate bicycle and pedestrian lanes on the Pulaski Bridge between Brooklyn and Queens
Funds are also earmarked for pedestrian improvements in Saranac Lake in the North Country, West Nyack and Peekskill in the Lower Hudson Valley, and in Amherst in western New York. Amherst saw 328 total pedestrian and bicycle collisions between 2009 and 2012, by far the most in Erie County outside of Buffalo.