Monday, June 29 2009 @ 09:49 AM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
But the numbers didn’t stop NYSDOT’s Long Island regional office, Region 10, from eliminating its Local Safe Streets and Traffic Calming Grant Program. The program, established in 2000, provided $2.7 million a year for pedestrian and bike projects throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties (see MTR # 292). It has paid for over 40 projects in towns including Oyster Bay and Great Neck.
No public announcements related to the program had been made since 2006, so MTR recently inquired about the projects the program has funded.
In response, we received an email from a Region 10 spokesperson that said the program was “under review” (read: eliminated) but that it had succeeded in “providing examples for municipalities to emulate on their roads” (read: towns should pay for pedestrian and bicycle projects themselves).
The most troubling part of the communication was the reasoning behind the decision, which demonstrated a complete misunderstanding of the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), the federal program authorized under SAFETEA-LU that funded the local safe streets grants. According to the spokesperson, these funds “can only be used on roads on the federal-aid highway system” and “require a 20% local match.”
In fact, the HSIP funding guidelines say that “funds may be used for projects on any public road or publicly owned bicycle and pedestrian pathway or trail … the Federal share is 90 percent, except that the Federal share is 100% for certain safety improvements listed in 23 USC 120(c).