ALBANY, NY (WENY) — Recent legislation has increased funding by seven percent for New York State’s Complete Streets Act. Some advocates who have long been pushing for modifications to this legislation get to see their wishes come true.
For Diana Alati, an advocate with Families for Safe Streets, this fight is personal.
Three years ago, Alati’s 13-year-old son Andrew was riding his bicycle on his way to a friends house when he was struck and killed in a traffic accident at a pedestrian crossing on Hempstead Turnpike.
Since that day, she said she has been left with a hole in her heart and a passion to fight for the safety of other children.
“This is not an easy process, it’s not easy for me to talk about the loss of my son, but I know he would be very proud of me and I wanna make sure that this doesn’t continue,” she said.
Alati said this increase in funding for complete streets is a step in the right direction. The Complete Streets Act was enacted in 2011 and is designed to achieve a better transportation system by requiring the transportation plans of New York State to consider the needs of all roadway users.
This includes pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation riders, motorists, and citizens of all ages and abilities. Some complete projects include adding raise crosswalks, bike-lanes, ramps, and reducing road lanes.
Elizabeth Adams, Senior Director of Advocacy & Organizing at Transportation Alternatives, said an increase in funding will help local municipalities who often struggle to fund their complete streets projects.
“Infrastructure and engineering is really critical when it comes to safer streets,” she said.
According to a 2016 New York State Department of Transportation study, complete streets projects have shown to reduce injuries and fatalities.
But Alati said there is more work to be done. She continues to push for the passing of the complete streets maintenance bills within the Crash Victims’ Rights & Safe Act that would essentially authorize cities, villages and towns to reduce the speed limit to 25 miles per hour.
She said she will not stop fighting until there is a speed limit sign at pedestrian crossings on the Hempstead Turnpike.
“I just wanna know that my son didn’t die in vain,” she said.