Statement of Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives, on the City Council Transportation Committee's preliminary budget hearing:
The number of traffic deaths continues to drop in New York City, thanks to Mayor de Blasio’s leadership in the Vision Zero effort to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries on our streets. The statistics aren’t falling fast enough to meet the Mayor’s 2024 goal, however, and the numbers could begin to creep up again, unless the city commits to additional investment.
In January, Mayor de Blasio announced $115 million in new capital funding to build on Vision Zero progress, but that money would be spread out over the next four years. In fact, New York City needs $240 million dollars annually -- $1 billion over four years -- to fix all of its most dangerous arterial streets within a decent period of time.
We recommend the city fund 98 operational projects to fix intersections and corridors the DOT highlighted in its Pedestrian Safety Action Plans. In order to increase staffing and budget for resurfacing, road marking, signaling, and outreach, the DOT will need an increase in the operating budget, not stagnation or a potential decrease.
To reach the Mayor’s goal of doubling cycling by 2020, the city must commit to a yearly standard of 15 miles of new protected bike lanes. This goal is definitely attainable, since the DOT is already on track to install 13.9 miles of protected lanes this year, up from 12.4 miles last year. The city must also make progress on large-scale bike projects on bridges and greenways, ensuring they are fully funded and on schedule.
Finally, the city must make an investment to help Citi Bike grow rapidly and equitably, so more New Yorkers can take advantage of this emerging transportation option. The administration can accomplish this by working with Citi Bike operator Motivate to form the kind of public-private partnership that has helped other bike share programs succeed around the world. The next step should be for the City Council, cycling advocates, and Motivate to meet to discuss the appropriate and necessary level of city funding, to be used for network expansion and membership subsidy.
Paul Steely White's Testimony is available here.