Sometimes , invisible changes are more momentous than those in plain sight. The changes 2021 brought us will have positive impacts on street safety and improvements:
- Paint on roadway is not a sidewalk. City lawyers confirmed that all painted installations in the roadway remain the city’s responsibility for insurance and maintenance. DOT had slowed the installation of safety features like neck-downs and sidewalk extension to a trickle. They insisted on treating them like sidewalks and required an insurance and maintenance partner. Now we can pick up the roll out again.
- The Infrastructure bill unshackles engineers from the Federal Roadway Design Manual (Manual for Unified Traffic Control Devices -MUTCD) which is often inappropriate for city streets . It allows local jurisdictions to use a different roadway design guide. This permits NYC to adopt the NACTO (National Association of Cities Transportation Officials) guide which is much friendlier to cities and streets.
- Penn Station: MCB4 and MCB5 worked intensely with the agencies and the elected officials to reshape the plan proposed by the State. In the end, State accepted only marginal changes, but one is notable for pedestrians. The State agreed to measure and mitigate the impact on pedestrian crowding and safety at multiple stages of the project.