Summer 1999, p.12

Metropolitan

L.I. to Launch Ped Programs
It's just a start, but it's promising. The New York State Department of Transportation has created a $3 million fund devoted to pedestrian safety on Long Island. At the prodding of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, the new Local Safe Streets and Traffic Calming Demonstration Program wants to inspire L.I. communities to create their own solutions for traffic and safety woes. Appropriately, the traffic calming cash will come from Federal "Hazard Elimination" funds.

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Snailways
Bus bunching the feast-or-famine phenomenon where two or more buses travel together, leaving major gaps in service between convoys worsened on 24 of 49 key routes this year and improved on only 10. While 60% of MTA buses are reaching their scheduled stops on time, the remainder are snarled up in bunches. The MTA's response? Lower the goalposts. Future statistics (if not customer satisfaction) promise to be brighter, thanks to such bogus innovations as lengthening travel times to increase on-time rates. MTA officials fail to see that one solution to sluggish service is more frequent service.

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NJ Bike/Ped Still Underfunded
Though the Tri-State Transportation Campaign and other groups successfully convinced the NJ Department of Transportation to restore local bicycle and pedestrian funds, the amount remains seriously deficient. After threats to slash it by one-third, next year's bike/ped budget will remain at $12 million, a meager 0.6 percent of Jersey's proposed $2.09 billion capital spending for transportation. Despite NJDOT's apparent ambivalence toward bikes and pedestrians, there is no lack of enthusiasm or ideas outside the agency. Last year, community groups and local governments applied for twice as much bicycle money as the state eventually spent, while pedestrian proposals requested more than 20 times the allotted funds.

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