Legislatively, it was a surprisingly good year in Albany for sustainable transportation and smart growth issues. Six good bills successfully navigated the Legislature’s gauntlet, one bad bill was killed, and now, real success for the season lies in the Governor’s pen.
The key to sustainable transportation is a well-funded, interconnected system that provides people with a variety of options so that they can get where they want to go, when they want to get there. This year, four bills passed that will help to foster and develop such a system, by requiring Complete Streets road design, creating a “transit lockbox,” expanding taxi service in NYC, and giving communities the ability to “land bank.”
Complete Streets: New York has spent decades designing roads primarily for the efficient movement of cars, but the Complete Streets bill has the potential to encourage a major shift in thinking. The bill requires that, for all road projects receiving state and federal funds, the agency in charge of the project consider the needs of everyone who uses the roads, using complete streets features such as sidewalks, curb cuts, road diets, and bike lanes.
Complete Streets will assure that as new roads are built, and old roads are redesigned, they will accommodate the needs of all users, regardless of age and ability, and regardless of whether they choose to walk, bike, drive, or take public transit. The bill will make roads safer for everyone to navigate and help encourage New Yorkers to leave the car at home.