A Huge Win for T.A.!
After three long years of organizing and lobbying, on September 28, 1999 T.A. won passage of a new state law that allows New York City to design streets for traffic speeds as low as 15 mph and opens the way for the widespread traffic calming of city streets. The win is exciting for many reasons. This legislative session, only one half of one percent of the bills introduced were passed into law. Our bill was one of them because of the high level of popular interest in traffic calming to reduce traffic and improve conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians on our streets.
Passage of the law points to T.A.'s growing clout and sophistication and our ability to mobilize broad coalitions. It also sends an unequivocal message to the City's Department of Transportation and its recalcitrant traffic engineers that the public and its elected leaders want streets designed for the needs of neighborhoods, pedestrians and bicyclists, not just motor vehicles. It speaks volumes that the traffic calming legislation gained the support of both conservative Republican and liberal Democratic legislators, as well as the mayor and all of his bitterest political foes within the city.
In fact, the symbolic and political value of the new law may equal its
practical importance. In a city where it is tough to get politicians to agree
that the sun sets in the west, this has created a broad consensus of people
and politicians. However exciting as it is, the new law is only a tool a means
to an end. Next, it is T.A.'s job to help communities use this tool. Together
we can transform city streets into safer places to walk and bicycle, while
creating quieter and more pleasant places to live.
P.S. The "Volunteer of the Month" interview in the Summer issue of T.A. Magazine contained remarks about Parks Commissioner Henry Stern that some readers felt were offensive to seniors and personally offensive to the well-known commissioner. Our apologies to the commissioner and any others who were offended. T.A. makes every effort to focus only on the public record of governmental leaders.