StreetsPAC's Testimony to City Council on 2022-2023 Transportation Budget

We testified today at the New York City Council's Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure hearing regarding the city's fiscal year 2023 transportation budget, and the importance of fully funding the New York City Streets Plan, a position shared by more than 60 of our partners in advocacy. Our full testimony follows below.

Fully funding the New York City Streets Plan is essential to improving transportation for all New Yorkers, increasing the safety and accessibility of city streets, speeding up commutes for millions of bus riders, creating more safe and welcoming public spaces, and beginning to address the equity gap in access to transit, cycling, and micro-mobility options.

That will require an investment of $170 million dedicated to the Streets Plan in fiscal year 2023, and we urge the City Council and Mayor Adams to make certain that those funds are allocated in the coming budget.

This investment in an expanded network of protected bike lanes, safety improvements to thousands of intersections, and redesigns of the city’s most dangerous streets, is essential for protecting New Yorkers from traffic violence. It becomes clearer every day that we can’t enforce our way to Vision Zero, especially with it so obvious that the NYPD has largely withdrawn from traffic enforcement. Achieving the benchmarks laid out in the Streets Plan will be critical to reducing deaths and injuries, as better street design is key to improving safety. 

Meeting the benchmarks for building bus lanes and busways and improving bus stops is a necessity for improving service for the millions of people who rely on the bus, as well as to reverse the ongoing decline in ridership. Better bus service is a fundamental equity issue, as buses disproportionately serve black and brown and lower-income New Yorkers, and expanding bus service is the fastest and most effective means of eliminating transit deserts. It’s a moral imperative that we prioritize speeding up buses, rather than leaving straphangers stuck behind road-hogging single-occupancy personal cars and empty double-parked vehicles.

Beyond the need to fully fund the Streets Plan, we also urge the Council and the Mayor to prioritize increased investment in the Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Program. While the program is just ramping up, it’s already obvious that it must be expanded. The thresholds for triggering the program must be lowered to allow interventions with a greater number of dangerous drivers, as intended in the original legislation, not just the very worst of the worst, and that will require more funding. Because the city’s speed and red-light camera programs do not assign points to drivers’ licenses, the Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Program is the only effective means of holding chronically reckless drivers to account.

While, as we noted, we can’t enforce our way to Vision Zero, we can employ technology to identify and intervene with dangerous drivers, and it is incumbent on the Council and the Mayor to make sure that we do all we can as a city to enable that.

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published this page in News 2022-03-16 17:03:05 -0400
StreetsPAC supports candidates for public office who will champion Safe, Complete and Livable Streets.