A group of bicycling advocates wants to know why a State Department of Transportation planning document does not include investment in cycling and pedestrian projects.
The document emphasizes several other transportation modes, says Brian Kehoe, executive director of the New York Bicycling Coalition, and he'd like to see sections devoted to bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure, too.
He says the document also ignores the state's new complete streets law, which requires road projects to incorporate all modes of transportation, including cycling and walking.
"Millions of people walk and bike in New York State and we need to serve them," Kehoe says.
In the Rochester area, several communities have developed plans to make their streets more hospitable to cyclists. For example, the city developed an extensive plan that includes bike lanes, shared-use street markings, and places for cyclists to lock up their bikes.
Rochester-area cycling advocates say state transportation officials should take a similar planning approach. It's the state that has the final word on road features and improvements near some of the area's major intersections, says Richard DeSarra, a Rochester-area cycling advocate.
DOT spokesperson Beau Duffy says the document in question is not a capital plan, which would include a detailed list of projects. Rather, it's an overview of investment in four categories – including construction and local roads and bridges – that the department is required to submit to the New York Works Task Force, Duffy says.
He says the DOT is committed to cycling and pedestrian infrastructure and has projects in the pipeline incorporating those elements. The projects will appear in the capital plan, he says. (Kehoe says accommodating cyclists and pedestrians should be a focus of state transportation officials at all levels of planning.) Duffy also says that the DOT is developing projects with the complete streets law in mind.
"We just want everyone to understand that our commitment to bike-ped has not changed," Duffy says.