The Suffolk County Legislature voted unanimously on Tuesday to adopt the first county-wide complete streets policy on Long Island. The policy requires that all roads provide safe accommodation for bicyclists, pedestrians and transit users.
Legislators Rob Calarco and Kara Hahn co-sponsored the bill, which is expected to revolutionize the way people travel between communities in Suffolk County and mitigate the environmental and public safety impacts of motor vehicle use. The bill requires the Suffolk County Department of Public Works to implement the program on all new roads and roads undergoing improvement.
“Suffolk County was developed with a heavy car culture in mind. However, our population needs are changing. More people are living in Suffolk County, and our roads have become far more congested. We need to plan better to provide people with safe transportation alternatives, including pedestrian, biking, and mass transit options. And it begins with redesigning our roads to make these accommodations,” said Leg. Calarco.
In February, the New York State Complete Streets legislation required that all roads maintained by state and federal funds provide safe bike lanes and other safety features.
The Tri-State Transportation Campaign, which provided safety analysis on regional roadways, says that Suffolk County has some of the most dangerous in the region. “TSTC applauds the leadership of Legislators Calarco and Hahn, as well as the entire Suffolk County Legislature, for championing more walkable, bikeable and transit-accessible communities,” Joseph Cartrufo wrote on the TSTC’s blog.
AARP’s Associate State Director for Livable Communities, Will Stoner, also applauded the measure, saying “Accessible roadways and sidewalks are not only a critical link in our transportation system, but also vitally important to help AARP’s more than 300,000 members and all residents in Suffolk County have access to essential services in order to remain active and give back to their communities as they age.”
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