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Suffolk First on LI to Adopt County-Wide Complete Streets

Leg. Rob Calarco at the podium discusses passage of his bill, IR 2025, requiring county roadways to be designed to accommodate all users. (left to right) Legislators Wayne Horsley and Kara Hahn (a co-sponsor of the bill); Leg. Calarco, Will Stoner of the AARP; Leg. Ricardo Montano. (Rear left to right) Eric Alexander of Vision Long Island; Sal Russo, 2nd vice president of SCAME; and Leg. William (Doc) Spencer.

Calarco’s Bill Will Take Region’s Roadways into the Future

Hauppauge, LI—Tuesday, December 4: Legislator Rob Calarco’s bill (IR 2025) establishing a Complete Streets Program for Suffolk County roadways passed unanimously at the General Meeting of the Legislature today. The bill, which directs the Department of Public Works to consider all modes of travel when designing a road project, requires the DPW to evaluate the feasibility of using a host of features to accommodate not only motorists, but also pedestrians, bicyclists, bus riders, senior citizens, people with disabilities etc.

The Complete Streets program is fully supported by the AARP/Livable Communities, Vision Long Island, and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

Roadways designed as complete streets change everything—from the way people move about and between their communities to the environmental and public safety impacts of traditional road travel. In this way, complete streets are more conducive to public life, an essential ingredient for communities and businesses to thrive. Further, the concept of designing roadways for multiple types of users, including senior citizens, is viewed by the AARP as essential in promoting age-friendly communities.

“Leg. Calarco and Suffolk County are leaders in this effort that will promote all ages and abilities to live their best life in their communities. This initiative is near and dear to AARP’s heart as New York State has the fourth worst senior pedestrian fatality rate in the nation,” said Will Stoner, Associate State Director for Livable Communities.

“This bill, passed in a 16-0 vote, sends a powerful public message. Now we must design our roadways for everyone, not just cars and trucks,” said Eric Alexander, Executive Director of Vision Long Island. He added that the program will offer the opportunity for Suffolk County to take a good look at some of the county roads that are the hardest for the disabled, bicyclists, seniors and walkers to navigate.

“Suffolk County historically has had a lack of transportation options. This bill is the first step to achieving a balanced transportation network in the region,” said Ryan Lynch, Associate Director for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. He added that the lack of transportation options and an entrenched car culture is one reason young people are choosing to leave the region.

“The region’s growth in population and its dependence on cars has led to an ever-worsening grid lock on our roadways, which are some of the most dangerous roads in New York State. This bill sets the tone for Suffolk County when it designs its roadways. Now we must look to accommodate all users. Complete Streets is a smart program that should enhance the quality of life for everyone,” said Leg. Calarco.