New York City Launches LPI-for-Bikes Pilot Program; Albany Limps Toward Budget Deadline

New York City Launches LPI-for-Bikes Pilot Program

Yesterday morning, we joined City Council Member Carlos Menchaca and the New York City Department of Transportation at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Smith Street in Brooklyn for the launch of a pilot program that will allow people on bikes to get a head start at intersections with leading pedestrian intervals (LPIs), where the pedestrian walk signal turns green a few seconds before drivers get a green light.

The pilot, which will be in effect at a total of 50 intersections in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, will run for six months, after which NYCDOT and the NYPD will evaluate safety data. If successful, the effort could roll out citywide.

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The city began installing LPIs several years ago, and there are now more than 2,500 of them throughout the five boroughs. A study released by NYCDOT in 2016, Don't Cut Corners, found that crashes in which pedestrians and cyclists were killed or seriously injured declined by 56% at intersections with LPIs.

In addition, city data indicates that 65% of cyclist fatalities and almost 90% of serious injuries to cyclists occur at intersections, so the potential safety effect of the LPI-for-Bikes pilot is significant.

StreetsPAC worked closely with Council Member Menchaca on developing legislation that would permit people on bikes to adhere to pedestrian signals, which Menchaca introduced in 2016. The legislation hasn't advanced, primarily due to concerns on the part of the NYPD. However, with NYCDOT's support, Menchaca was able to gain the Police Department's support for the pilot effort.

We're confident that the data from the pilot study will show that following pedestrian signals will improve safety for cyclists, without any adverse effect on pedestrians or drivers, and will be adopted citywide, either through passage of Council Member Menchaca's bill or through an administrative change. Either way, we'll be there to advocate for its implementation.

Here's more coverage of the initiative from Streetsblog and amNewYork. In addition, StreetsPAC Executive Director Eric McClure spoke with Fox 5 NY's Linda Schmidt about the safety benefits of the LPI-for-Bikes pilot (click the image below for video).

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Albany Limps Toward Budget Deadline with Major Street Safety and Transit Business Unfinished

With the deadline for the state budget looming on April 1st, lawmakers in Albany are doing their usual kabuki dance while critical street-safety and transportation initiatives hang in the balance.

Two items of profound importance to New York City are unresolved: the future of the city's speed safety camera program, and the fate of the FixNYC panel's recommendations for congestion pricing.

Advocates rallied at City Hall last Thursday to demand action from Albany on speed cameras. The current program, which allows the city to deploy just 140 speed cameras citywide, covering only 7% of schools, will expire this year if not reauthorized. City officials are asking for the program to be renewed, and increased to 290 locations, and also want the legislature to remove restrictions on hours of operation.

Congestion pricing, which would charge drivers a fee for entering Manhattan's central business district, would significantly improve traffic conditions while creating a large, dedicated revenue stream for the MTA, whose financial and operational woes have been well documented. Despite his own blue-ribbon FixNYC panel's rock-solid recommendations, Governor Cuomo has not put his considerable political might behind a specific plan, and legislators in the Assembly and Senate, with a few notable exceptions, have happily hidden behind the Governor's waffling.

The budget process will most likely conclude in the next 24 to 48 hours, but until it's done, you can help urge action on the part of the Governor and the legislature. Contact the Governor, Senate Majority Leader Flanagan and Speaker Heastie and politely ask them to make sure that the budget includes reauthorization and expansion of the speed safety camera program, and funding for the FixNYC panel's recommendations – at the very least, the $200 million required to create the cordon-tolling infrastructure necessary to charge vehicles entering Manhattan's CBD. 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo: (518) 474-8390

State Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan: (518) 455-2071 / flanagan@nysenate.gov

State Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie: (518) 455-3791 / speaker@nyassembly.gov

In addition, you can urge your own State Senator and Assemblymember to voice their support for speed cameras and congestion pricing. To find your representatives using your address, visit:

Find Your Senator

Find Your Assemblymember

Every contact can help make a difference, but please don't delay – the budget process could wrap up at any minute.

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StreetsPAC
StreetsPAC supports candidates for public office who will champion Safe, Complete and Livable Streets.