2005-08-11 / From The Mayor...

Tackling NY Traffic And Making City Streets Safer

From The Mayor

Over the last three and a half years, our Administration has worked hard to make traffic on City streets and highways move more safely and smoothly. We’re seeing the life-saving results. Last year, New York City had the fewest traffic fatalities since we started keeping records back in 1910, and so far this year, we’re matching that record-setting safety pace.

Now, using $71 million in new Fed-eral transportation funds, we’re going to launch a wide range of improvements that will reduce traffic congestion in all five boroughs even further, make getting around town even safer, and make the air we breathe even cleaner. Let me describe a few of these initiatives.

We will, for example, establish a fiber cable network along major roadways like the Jackie Robinson, Cross Island and Belt Parkways. That will allow the City’s Department of Trans-portation to install closed-circuit video cameras, electronic traffic message signs, and other congestion-easing technology. We’ll also begin work on unclogging heavily used traffic arteries in each borough, including Fordham and White Plains Roads in the Bronx, Woodhaven and Northern Boulevards in Queens, Church and Nostrand Avenues in Brooklyn, Am-boy Road on Staten Island, and West 96th and West 181st Streets in Man-hattan.

In addition, we’ll greatly increase the number of City agency vehicles that are powered by compressed natural gas and other clean-burning fuels, and we’ll encourage large private sector vehicle fleets to convert to alternate fuels, too. We’ll also come up with ways to improve traffic circulation in Brooklyn’s booming downtown.

Car traffic isn’t going to be the only focus of our efforts. We’re also going to put $21 million into improving the City’s extensive network of bike lanes, and into making intersections safer for pedestrians. And we’ll invest in the safety of our school children, by encouraging students to walk and bike safely to school, and also by establishing “asthma free” zones around schools, where drivers will be reminded to respect the law and not idle the engines of heavily polluting diesel buses and trucks.

We’re getting these new and much- needed funds through a longstanding federal program that was the creation of one of New York’s great statesmen, the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. And New York’s current Senators and Congressional leaders deserve credit for continuing his legacy and fighting to secure these funds for our city. During his lifetime, Pat Moynihan advocated for major New York transportation projects like the beautiful new Midtown train station that will bear his name. But he also understood that while smaller projects like the ones I’ve mentioned this morning may not be headline-grabbers, they make a big difference in promoting traffic mobility and safety. And just like him, our Administration is committed to im-proving the daily commutes, and the daily lives, of people in all five boroughs.

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