NYBC Press Release Objects to NYS DOT draft Capital Plan

Media Release:

NYS Dept. of Transportation’s Draft Capital Plan misses 1/4 of traffic       deaths/injuries

Complete Streets Law mandates also ignored in draft Plan 

Upon careful review of the recently released New York State Department of Transportation’s (NYSDOT) Two-year Capital Plan, the New York Bicycling Coalition (NYBC) is dismayed to report that this critical planning document entirely excludes walkers and bicyclists. In fact, while all other transportation modes (automobile, transit, plane, etc.) are accounted for throughout the draft Plan, bicycling and walking are never mentioned. The Capital Plan is available at http://esd.ny.gov/PublicMeetings_Notices/NYWorks/10092012_DOT_TwoYearCapitalPlan.pdf 

NYBC Board President Paul Winkeller stated, “To say we are puzzled thatNew York’s Transportation Department could develop a capital program omitting bicycling and walking, two critical and increasingly popular modes of travel would be a huge understatement. Bicycling and walking are primary transportation modes for many state residents – including the young, the elderly, people with disabilities, and low-income populations. Official statistics show that citizens biking and walking are involved in a quarter or more of traffic related injuries and fatalities. These accidents are tragic and collectively represent a tremendous, ongoing societal expense in terms of health care and legal costs.”

The NY Bicycling Coalition web page briefly describes the very high return-on-investment of providing equal safety and access to bicyclists and pedestrians. These infrastructure enhancements are critical for the health of New York’s citizens and in creating a 21st century work and lifestyle environment that are key to fostering economic development throughout the state. http://www.nybc.net/a-few-quantitative-reasons-why-bike-ped-infrastructure-has-high-roi 

Brian Kehoe, NYBC Executive Director, added, “NYSDOT’s Draft Capital Plan is frightening in its complete neglect of critical transportation modes and NYBC has expressed these concerns to the Governor’s Office. Many citizens, including children and the elderly, rely solely upon walking and bicycling. People around the state consistently cite safety concerns as the biggest reason they don’t walk and bicycle more often. NYSDOT has a responsibility to at least attempt to address the serious safety concerns these citizens face every day. DOT should amend the draft Plan to explicitly address walking and bicycling safety concerns.” 

The purpose of the New York Bicycling Coalition (NYBC) is to serve the State of New York and its residents by promoting the safe use of the bicycle and walking as modes of transportation, sport, recreation, health, environmental protection, energy conservation, tourism and economic development. For twenty years, NYBC has advocated for the rights of all bicyclists and pedestrians throughout New York State by supporting safety, education, and access for road and trail users.

For additional information contact: Brian Kehoe, NYBC Executive Director   518-436-0889  brian@nybc.net

89 Comments On “NYBC Press Release Objects to NYS DOT draft Capital Plan”

  1. Thank you NYBC for calling the NYSDOT out on their Capital Plan’s gross omission of bicycle and pedestrian transportation concerns. As a bicycle commuter and member of a family that walks and bikes frequently throughout all seasons, I find it very troubling that the plan does not prominently feature these two vital transportation modes, especially in an age where they are becoming increasingly important and popular… But to completely omit mention of walking and bicycling from the plan is shameful, and will have serious and damaging consequences for all New Yorkers. Please amend the draft plan to adequately address pedestrian and bicycling as the important modes of transportation–they are sustainable, accessible, healthy, and cost effective for our society, and require serious mention across all aspects of the plan!

  2. We want safe places for biking and walking! The shoulder of the road is NOT a safe place to be, especially on busy streets. Biking and walking are important to transportation, heath/fitness, recreation, and tourism.

  3. Both are very viable and important forms of transportation that continually need to be addressed. We need safe places to walk and ride. I have no problems with using the shoulder of the road, but please made it a safe and wide shoulder.

  4. Lisa Schmidtfrerick

    Does NYSDOT realize that almost 30% of households in New York State do not have a vehicle and therefore rely on biking, walking, and transit? And that even if transit is an option, you need to walk or bike to access it? How can they ignore all the people who do not drive: the young, the old, people with disabilities, people of limited means, people who simply choose not to drive? And how can the State have a Complete Streets law which demands that the needs of all users be considered in transportation projects, and then fail to even mention these two important transportation modes in the capital plan?

  5. As health concerns continue to grow in American, emphasis on promotion an active life style has grown as well. However, it doesn’t stop at just promoting an active life style. There are other steps that need to be taken. In other words, it is easy to encourage a behavior, but now it is important to maintain that behavior, and safety is a big requirement that needs attention in order to maintain active individuals.

  6. If Governor Cuomo’s vision of creating an entreprenurial business culture all over a newly reconstituted Empire State is going to have a chance, it would behoove NYS Departments, like Transportation, to demonstrate a planning mindset closer to the 21st century than the 19th. PLEASE consider redoing the transportation plan to include cyclists and pedestrians. And, Lord forbid, maybe even motorcyclists. The future of this State depends on those of us still here getting AHEAD of the wave.

  7. Thanks so much for your advocacy and information. As a regular walker and biker on New York streets and roadways, I am often dismayed by how badly I am treated by my fellow users of the thoroughfares–bikers on sidewalks, cars cutting me off. The fact that the state DOT plan omits any mention of either pedestrians or cyclists will put these vulnerable populations at even more risk. Comprehensive transit programs are essential.

  8. For the NYSDOT to completely ignore the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists is irresponsible and ignorant. Kids and adults alike need safe places to walk, run, and ride their bikes. As an educator, I see fewer and fewer kids walking to school, walking to visit friends, or riding their bikes just for fun. How can I help to promote these healthy activities when the roads that these kids would walk or ride on are unsafe? Think about the future and amend your draft plan to include pedestrians and bicyclists.

  9. Many thanks to NYBC for calling the NYSDOT out on their Capital Plan’s gross omission of bicycle and pedestrian transportation concerns. As a bicycle commuter and passionate cyclist in many ways I can not ignore nor understand such irresponsibility. While many other places on our valuable planet are light years ahead in respect of a just cycling friendly environment here in NY and LI in particular I always find myself back again dropped into the worst possible place to be on a bicycle. Without serious skills and experience it’s really hard “with safely and confidence” to promote or suggest cycling on roads to beginners.

    And on top of this many plans or just add or create a safe bicycle path completely off motorized road limits are often nearly doomed by ignorance and incompetence + administrative burdens. (Example the still very uncertain state of the Port Jefferson to Wading River bicycle path project)

    I wish there would be a more powerful top down support for such projects and many more to come.

  10. This omission by the NYS DOT combined with the recent release of a motorist who crossed over a lane of traffic and killed a friend while on a training ride in the middle of the day worries me greatly. Some one needs to pay attention. Time for some action.

  11. It is very short sighted on multiple levels to not be making safe walking and cycling a high priority!

  12. In a day where we are encouraging more people to become physicaly active for health benefits it is very disheartening to hear the New York State is not supporting cyclits, walkers, and runners in providing safe places to excercise. These areas are vital to many communities not only for fitness purposes but they also create areas of community involvement, family fun, and also enhance the tourism industry. We live in a state that sees are population diminish as taxes increase because many of our residents move to areas that provide far more ammenities for safe enjoyment in their free time. I would like to see a plan that supports the residents of this state to safely and happy enjoy physical activities.

  13. I have skimmed the two year plan, and found it to be in such general terms that I couldn’t say that it did or did not include projects that would make it safer for cyclists, ahmish buggies and pedestrians. When it refers to projects that are safety driven, it could also be addressing the safety of the non-motorized public. I fully support projects that will support the safety of all members of the public. I would like clarification of the planners ontheir deffinition of the severity of the accidents. I mean does that refer to the damage done to a human body, or the damage to a motorized vehicle?

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  15. In addition to the valid observations and objections noted by the previous comments of others above, I was struck by a serious conflict within the New York State Department of Transportation’s (NYSDOT) Two-year Capital Plan. I am referring to the draft Plan’s page 7 reference to employing “a data driven approach and target emphasis areas outlined in NYSDOT’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan.” When I read the Safety Plan, I note specific reference to pedestrian and bicycle safety issues, as there should be. To now leave those considerations out of the draft Capital Plan, especially when that draft Plan indicates that such will be specifically “targeted”, is mind-boggling. The good news is this oversight is fairly readily corrected. How can we members assist NYBC in this effort?

    • Dave,
      You and others can assist NYBC in its effort to have bicycling & walking safety & facilities fully funded by New York State, its counties and municipalities by
      1. Immediately emailing & writing by post to Commissioner McDonald, (no direct way of emailing Commissioner McDonald; Call 518 457-6195 & ask for her office; hit the contact item on the Dep’t’s. web site, http://www.dot.ny.gov); Governor Cuomo; Assemblyman Gantt (Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee, GanttD@assembly.state.ny.us) & NYS Senator Fuschillio (Chair of the NYS Senate Transportation Committee, http://www.nysenate.gov, form on the Senator’s web site.)

  16. Twenty-seven years ago we moved to New York, to a suburb of Syracuse. It was a beautiful neighborhood, but there were no sidewalks, so I felt unsafe walking with my young children and having them ride their bikes and trikes. Also, we lived a quarter mile from a shopping mall, but it was unsafe to walk there, especially with small children, because Erie Boulevard was impassable. (It still is.) After a year we moved into Syracuse where we had sidewalks and other walking accommodations.
    There have been some walking and bicycle infrastructure improvements through the years, but we still have a long way to go. For example, I have to cross two neighborhood streets to reach my local library, but it’s very stressful when I have grandchildren with me because of all the traffic and the lack of traffic-calming infrastructure. I bicycle for transport year round, but it is always challenging. I do it because riding a bike makes me feel happy and because I want to have an active lifestyle. These considerations override my frequent safety concerns. I know and talk to lots of people who want to ride a bike or ride a bike more than they do, but they feel unsafe doing so. We need to encourage and support people’s efforts to walk and bicycle, for transport and for recreation. The benefits to people’s physical and mental health, as well as the financial and live-ability benefits to our communities, are well-documented. NYSDOT, amend your draft plan to include considerations for walking and bicycling.

  17. New York is becoming a leader in active transportation but it’s state transportation agency needs to keep up with this change. Last year the state made a serious commitment to active transportation by the state legislation and the governor approving “Complete Streets”. The Dept of Transportation’s plan needs to reflect this committment in their planning. This will help save lives, help in the states serious battle with obesity and improve the quality of Life of all New Yorkers.

    Scott MacRae MD
    Rochester Cycling Alliance

  18. the amount of times i have had a car breeze by or clip me while running or cycling is very aggravating. I am in my 20′s and train for triathlons quite regularly so I use the roads all the time and even though I only have a few problems with traffic, I notice many times where children and young adults could be put into a predicament with the traffic. Many times there are no places to avoid disasters because there are not an adequate amount of shoulders on the road or safe places to travel via bicycle or walking. One spot in particular in Jamestown, NY is on Washington St. where there is no shoulder on a 4 lane road. Unfortunately this street is used frequently by cyclists that use the popular ride around our beautiful Chautauqua Lake. A bike/walking path would decrease many of the problems between cyclists and motor vehicles as well as give our children a safe route to get from one side of town to the other with out traffic buzzing by them.


  19. Bicyclists –
    Thank you to everyone who recorded their concerns here. Please stay tuned to our website for further developments. We are working with a broad coalition of allies to increase funding and improve programming for bicycling across the state. There is great potential and it is crucial that you and other citizens continue to speak up about the benefits of bicycling to everyone.

    Stay strong,
    Brian Kehoe, NYBC

  20. It is unbelievable that bicyclists and pedestrians are left out of this budget plan. With the amount of people who depend on these modes of transportation in the state of New York, these should be a number one priority. If there were safer routes for those who do cycle or walk, or those who would like to, it would open opportunity for the state of New York to also fight obesity. We all need safer sidewalks and bike lanes, most counties do not have anything for bicyclists safety and to me that is a sad fact. I commute via bicycle by choice and wish I had the opportunity to do it in a safer more cyclist friendly environment where not only do cars respect the fact that I have a right to be on the road but also where there is a place for me to ride safely among traffic without riding in fear.

  21. Yes, I believe we need to have safe areas for people who choose to walk, bike or run to get to where they are going or to simply get out of the house and exercise or enjoy the weather. The NYDOT should keep the safety of those of us not riding/driving motorized vehicles in mind when developing plans for our transportation system.

  22. Excellent article, and fine comments.

    I believe that federal highway funding is supposed to be used to provide safe and sufficient transportation for all road users. This includes all legal public highway users: pedestrians, runners and cyclists, and not just motor vehicles. Designing a capital program that ignores non-motorized users of the public streets, roads and highways, and therefore is likely to design and build roads and off road facilities that are unsafe for non-motorized traffic and travel, would seem in conflict with federal funding. Is NYS DOT aware they may be putting their federal funding in jeopardy? Is the FHWA Division and Regional Offices in Albany aware of this apparent inconsistency between the federal highway law and the state’s program?

    There appears to be a failure to communicate here.

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