Safety for pedestrians in New York statewide could improve under a package of measures proposed this week by Gov. Kathy Hochul in her State of the State address.
At the same time, Hochul also approved a measure meant to encourage projects that use safer designs and are backed by local governments.
The proposals and new law come during heightened concerns for pedestrian safety across New York state. The governor's office estimates 300 people are killed and 15,000 people injured by motor vehicles a year.
Across the country, pedestrians killed in crashes have reached a 40-year spike, according to Assemblywoman Pat Fahy.
Fahy, with Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Tim Kennedy, backed legislation that would expand the use of "complete streets" designs and boost the state's share of funding for those projects. Hochul signed the measure into law at the end of the year.
The move is meant to create more pedestrian-friendly paths and walkways as well as bike areas and improved curb cuts.
"This law will empower local governments to pursue more of these projects by reducing their cost burden and increasing the state’s share of funding for these projects," Fahy said. "If our goal is to build strong, multi-modal walkable communities while reducing transportation-sector emissions, complete street design is a proven component for achieving that objective."
Meanwhile, Hochul this week in her State of the State message called for the approval of measures meant to further increase safety on roadways. Hochul wants to allow New York City to control its own speed limits, a long-sought move by officials there as well as traffic safety advocates.
But those advocates are also pushing Hochul to do more, including require vehicles to have intelligent speed assistance and similar safety features in new cars and require drivers to pass bicyclists at a distance of at least three feet.
"We need solutions to slow vehicle speeds and end the traffic violence on our streets by making communities walkable, and bikeable while improving public transit access," said Justin Booth, the executive director at GObike Buffalo. "Passing the full SAFE Streets Act will prioritize people, ensuring our roadways are safe and accessible for everyone, and it should be passed without delay."