Updated: 10/28/2013 7:23 PM
Created: 10/28/2013 5:48 PM WHEC.com
By: Amanda Ciavarri
Do you walk or ride your bike a lot? News10NBC got some new numbers that show just how dangerous that can be in our area.
Statistics show more than 2,500 people in Monroe County have been hit while riding a bike or walking over the past four years. It happens most in the city. From 2009 to 2012, about 900 pedestrians and 700 bicyclists were hit by cars in Rochester. While those statistics alone are concerning, one local group is even more worried because the state is planning to cut the amount of money it gives to programs that make roads safer for these folks.
Basically, New York State plans how it will spend four years at a time. For 2014 to 2017, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign says the state plans to spend less than one percent of its transportation dollars on pedestrian and bicycling projects. To put that in perspective for you, that would mean $100 million less than the previous four years.
Nadine Lemnon, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, said, “The New York State Department of Transportation is not putting their money where their mouth is. They really need to step to the plate and spend more money on these types of improvements. So, you are a penny to the dollar being spent on safety improvements for these type of users of the road, but yet 27% of people dying on the road are pedestrians and bicyclists, the math doesn't add up.”
In the city of Rochester, you can see where past state DOT funding has been used to improve safety.
From medians for pedestrians to stand on and wait while crossing busy streets to bike boxes that help bicyclists have a safer way to get ahead of traffic, while waiting at a red light. Experts say if the state doesn't allocate more money to programs like this, upkeep for these projects would be very hard to fund.
Jim McIntosh, Rochester City Engineer said, “I think the changes you see would be we would start picking that up in our budget,to the extent we could, but it wouldn't be to the levels we do now. In the last couple years, we've been able to add about 25 miles of bike lanes, and those kind of projects would slow.”
Tri-State Transportation says residents need to reach out to Governor Cuomo and encourage him to put more money toward these kinds of safety projects. News10NBC reached out to the New York State Department of Transportation to get their reaction. They released a statement saying, “Information they put out this week is misleading at best. They know well, we have hundreds of projects that fund pedestrian and cyclist safety improvement. Our projects large and small include pedestrian and bike safety."