Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a bill Monday to change the way roads are designed, an effort to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Dubbed “Complete Streets,” the measure requires pedestrian and cyclist safety to be considered in any road or transportation facility built with state and federal funding. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Charles Fuschillo (R-Merrick) and had strong backing from Long Island legislators.
Fuschillo said the measure was sparked by the death of Brittany Vega, a 14-year-old who was killed in Wantagh last September while crossing Sunrise Highway on her way to school.
The legislation was championed by Sandi Vega, Brittany’s mother. Vega, 35, gathered more than 4,000 signatures in support of the bill.
“He pulled through and he did the right thing,” Vega said of Cuomo. “This is a very big step for safety of the pedestrians, and for everyone. I know eventually it’s going to help, but it will take some time.”
In a message approving the legislation, Cuomo added that “Complete Streets” principles also promote a cleaner, greener transportation system with reduced traffic congestion and air pollution. Design features may include sidewalks, bicycle lanes, crosswalks, pedestrian control signals, bus pullouts, curb cuts, raised crosswalks, ramps and traffic calming measures, he said.
“Complete streets design principles have been proven to reduce fatalities and injuries,” Fuschillo said in a statement, “and by taking them into consideration on future projects we will greatly improve the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers of all ages and abilities.”
Photo: Sandi Vega tends a makeshift memorial for her daughter, Brittany, who was killed in September 2010 while crossing Sunrise Highway on her way to school. (April 26, 2011)