New York Legislature To Vote on Complete Streets Bills

A set of proposed laws would make streets safer for all road users in an effort to reduce traffic deaths.

2 minute read

February 24, 2022, 5:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Bike Infrastructure

Joe Benning / Shutterstock

Caitlin Dewey reports on efforts in the New York state legislature to pass a set of bills aimed at improving road safety for pedestrians and cyclists and bringing the state closer to Vision Zero.

"The package of seven bills, called the Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act, would grant municipalities greater control over speed limits, require prospective drivers to study additional safety topics and offer incentives to construct safe sidewalks and bike lanes, among other measures. Backers say the bills are needed to address the persistently high number of traffic-related injuries and deaths, particularly among pedestrians and cyclists."

State Sen. Tim Kennedy, who sponsored three of the seven bills, pointed to the rising numbers of people traveling by modes other than cars, saying "We’re really looking at how we can prioritize the safety of everyone who uses our streets."

The bills are meant to speed up the adoption of pedestrian-oriented policies such as Complete Streets by the state's Department of Transportation and other agencies that have been "slow to update their methods." But, according to the article, "A new advocacy push and a recent uptick in statewide traffic deaths might change those dynamics." In January, after New York activists launched a statewide coalition in support of the Crash Victim Act, "the federal Department of Transportation released a three-year road map for reducing the number of U.S. traffic deaths, including new emphasis on complete streets projects." This change in focus at the federal level could help push states in the same direction.

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