After months of discussions and refinements , the city council , under Speaker Corey Johnson’s leadership , passed a legislation to make the DOT accountable for the annual implementation of street improvements that benefit all. “The law shall prioritize and promote: (i) the safety of all street users; (ii) on-street priority for mass transit vehicles; (iii) the reduction of vehicle emissions; and (iv) access for individuals with disabilities”. This statement of intent should help accelerate the culture change already underway at DOT and cement our progress regardless of the next administration.
Chekpeds had been in conversation with the offices of Speaker Johnson to advocate for more pedestrian and safety improvements. Our requests were echoed and supported by Manhattan Community Board 4 and Families for Safe Streets.
We are particularly pleased with the results: sidewalks were included in the definition of “pedestrian space” in addition to plazas. The law requires DOT to immediately start protecting 400 intersections per year from left turn conflicts. By 2023 DOT must create 1,000,000 square feet of pedestrian space.
The law requires that accessible signals be installed at 500 intersections annually starting immediately, and install pedestrian ramps at no fewer than 3,000 intersection by 2026.
The law also requires the annual installation of 30 miles of protected bus lanes and transit signal priority, 30 miles of protected bike lanes and that the bicycle network be completely connected by 2026.
This is nothing short of extraordinary: it will focus DOT on safety as a priority over flow. It will compel DOT to align its resources and request an appropriate budget in order to comply. We are extremely grateful to Speaker Johnson.