New York needs a safe, reliable, and affordable transportation network in order to thrive in the twenty-first century. The Council is committed to both maintaining the infrastructure we already have and building out the transportation networks of tomorrow, protecting New Yorkers’ safety and pocketbooks.
Over the past two years, this Council under the Speaker’s leadership passed 22 bills as part of Vision Zero, an ambitious initiative to improve traffic safety and, ultimately, eliminate pedestrian and cyclist fatalities. These bills have improved street safety by protecting the right of way for pedestrians and cyclists, requiring side guards on trucks, installing slow zones throughout the City, making more crash data publically available, improving accountability of taxi and for-hire-vehicle drivers, and lowering the Citywide speed limit to 25 mph.
In January 2016, legislation passed by this Council took effect requiring employers with 20 or more employees to offer a commuter benefits program. Commuter benefit programs allow employees to set aside part of their pre-tax paycheck to pay for transit expenses, saving hundreds of dollars per year. With this new legislation, as many as 450,000 more New Yorkers now have access to these benefits.
As part of our 2014 Comprehensive Platform to Combat Climate Change, we passed legislation requiring the City to reduce its fleet of almost 27,000 vehicles by at least 9% through strategies including car-sharing programs and requiring the creation of the City’s first comprehensive plan for the implementation of Bus Rapid Transit, which makes bus service faster, more reliable, and more convenient.
Trucks on City streets raise a host of environmental, traffic congestion, road maintenance, and pedestrian safety issues, especially when they don’t comply with the City’s designated truck route rules. That’s why we passed a pair of bills requiring the City to study truck route compliance and pedestrian and cyclist safety along truck routes.
In last year’s budget, we secured a $103.4 million increase to baseline funding for Citywide street resurfacing, which will go a long way toward keeping our streets safe and reliable. We also allocated $2.5 million to support Vision Zero education initiatives, maintaining a real and lasting commitment to pedestrian safety. Children are among our most vulnerable pedestrians—that’s why we added 80 new school crossing guards.