City Council Votes to Approve Additions to DOT Master Street Plan

Image credit: New York City Council.

On October 19, 2023, the City Council voted to approve Int. 1164A-2023. The bill was sponsored by Council Member Selvena Brooks-Powers. This bill seeks to make additions to the Department of Transportation’s Master Street Plan by, in the words of Council Member Brooks-Powers, adding equity through “an investment roadmap to the streets plan law.”

At the September 14, 2023 Stated Meeting, Council Member Brooks-Powers noted that the Department of Transportation (DOT), at a recent hearing, “was unable to provide an update on its progress toward meeting legally mandated street plan requirements.” She further stated that Int. 1164-2023 would “expand on and enshrine into the streets plan DOT’s work towards making equitable infrastructure investments throughout the city.” Most notably, Brooks-Powers emphasized that “[o]uter borough communities of color in the city have been ignored and under-invested for much longer than 10 years. So, the Streets Plan Law should involve taking a hard look at the state of inequity in our city.”

The bill proposes additions to the street plan by including the terms “Daylighting”, “Significant injury” and “Traffic calming device.” “Daylighting” under the bill, is defined as “street design elements for enhancing visibility of cross traffic and pedestrians for motorists approaching an intersection.” “Significant injury” would mean “any injury categorized as an ‘A’ injury by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, any injury which requires hospitalization, or any other injury as determined by the department.” “Traffic calming device” would be defined as “a device, including but not limited to street redesigns, speed humps, neckdowns, and raised crosswalks, installed on a street and intended to slow, reduce, or alter motor vehicle traffic to enhance safety for pedestrians and cyclists.”

In each community district, the investment roadmap would measure the current levels of investments made in safety-enhancing street infrastructure for street users, including daylighting, traffic calming devices and protected bike lanes among others. The investment roadmap would also identify the incidence rate of collisions that result in significant injuries.

The bill was approved with a vote of 39 for and six against.

Council Member Brooks-Powers stated, “So many communities – outer borough communities, low-income communities, and communities of color – have not received their fair share of the City’s street infrastructure investments. Introduction 1164 will create an “investment roadmap” within the City’s Streets Plan law to help ensure DOT is making equitable infrastructure investments throughout the city. It is crucial that the City regularly take stock of this legacy and work to address it. This legislation will require DOT to identify underserved neighborhoods with a need for additional infrastructure – and to set out the future investments in these neighborhoods necessary to ensure they are no longer underserved.  This Council will continue to work to make more equitable, life-saving investments in our street safety infrastructure.”

By: John Baladi (John is a New York Law School student, Class of 2024.)

CC: Stated Meeting, Int. 1164A-2023. October 19, 2023.



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