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Letter: Dedicate state funding for biking, walking plans

Dedicate state funding for biking, walking plans

Mayor Byron Brown’s recent commitment to paint 300 miles of bike lanes along Buffalo’s streets is enviable for an American city, let alone a city in New York State. This commitment, part of the city’s first Bicycle Master Plan, is a progressive and welcome direction for city transportation planning. Recent studies by the National Association of Realtors indicate that a majority of home buyers want walkable and bikeable neighborhoods – including access to trails. Plus, giving people the choice to walk or bike instead of drive is a way to tackle both public health and environmental problems.

Cities across New York are hearing the message that citizens’ demands for safe places to walk and bike are more than just the request of a vocal minority. Currently, more than 60 communities across the state have adopted Complete Streets policies that encourage road projects to take into account the needs of all users. Giving people the choice to walk, bike or take transit means less automobile congestion and less wear and tear on our roads and bridges.

A major obstacle to this progress is the lack of dedicated funding for biking and walking. Simply put, when communities don’t have the funding to build sidewalks and bike lanes, their Complete Streets policies are mere concepts.

Parks & Trails New York and our New Yorkers for Active Transportation coalition have been advocating for dedicated state funding for biking and walking projects. With the support of Assembly Members Patricia Fahy and Sean Ryan and Sens. Rich Funke and Timothy Kennedy, we’ve been able to advance the goal of having a dedicated $20 million bicycle and pedestrian fund included in the Department of Transportation’s budget. Let’s allow communities to celebrate bike to work month all year long by giving them the funding they need to build infrastructure that works for all users.

Robin Dropkin

Executive Director

Parks & Trails New York