Last week New York City Mayor Eric Adams unveiled a massive investment in transit safety. According to a press release issued by his administration, the city government will devote nearly $1 billion toward addressing traffic violence and creating “a safer, healthier, and greener city for all New Yorkers.”
The Adams Administration’s new transit safety program will devote $904 million over a period of four years towards the NYC Streets Plan and the construction of safe infrastructure for vulnerable road users and public transportation. The effort launched the same day as the announcement, with the city’s designation of “five protected bike lanes for physical infrastructure upgrades to protect cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians.”
As the city explains, the NYC Streets Plan is a “a five-year transportation plan to improve the safety, accessibility, and quality of the City’s streets for all New Yorkers.” It involves safer street design, vehicle-reduction initiatives, automated enforcement, and community engagement, among other initiatives.
The city’s new investment, the press release notes, follows both a previous announcement that 150 streets will participate in the 2022 open Streets Program, as well as the Adams Administration’s commitment to “redesign 1,000 intersections” and push for state legislators to give New York City local control of traffic enforcement mechanisms like speed limits and automated cameras.
In a statement about the initiatives, Mayor Adams said: “This investment is a game-changer. Too many New Yorkers have lost their lives to the traffic violence crisis, and we are seeing cities across the country struggle just like us, but this historic investment will allow New Yorkers to walk and cycle around our city without fear. With this historic investment of over $900 million, we are tackling this crisis head-on and setting the tone nationwide.”
Meera Joshi, the city’s Deputy Mayor for Operations, added: “Expansion of car-free streets is a giant step towards aligning New Yorker’s experience with this fundamental truth: To save lives and our planet, streets cannot just be for cars anymore.”
“We at the DOT understand we are experiencing a climate crisis, and we must act now,” said Ydanis Rodriguez, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Transportation. “This ‘NYC Streets Plan’ funding will both support sustainable transit and curb the senseless violence on our streets. We thank the mayor for this commitment and show of support for this important work.” A report by Streetsblog notes that while Rodriguez has fallen short of an earlier promise to strengthen half of the city’s protected bike lanes within 100 days of taking office, his Department “is still on track to complete its goal of 10 miles by the end of 2022, and 20 miles in 2023.”
Streetsblog also notes that safe streets activists are happy with the city’s announcement, citing a statement by advocacy group Transportation Alternatives: “We applaud the mayor for this historic funding commitment and look forward to working together to fast track its implementation, especially to our neighbourhoods most in need.”