Tom Carey 61

Safe Streets Schenectady

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Every Schenectady neighborhood has streets that are unsafe for pedestrians and bike riders due to poor design, neglected maintenance and inconsistent enforcement of traffic laws. It's made worse by speeding, which is a problem in every city neighborhood. And, sidewalks are often in such poor condition that people have to walk in the street.

Schenectady lags behind other cities in the region in providing marked crosswalks, bike lanes and other facilities that make a city truly walkable. These are fixable problems, but it takes a commitment from the community to get it done.

Schenectady United Neighborhoods, Cycle Schenectady and other organizations below have formed the Safe Streets Coalition to to make our City safe for pedestrians and cyclists. We call on Mayor McCarthy and the City Council to begin that process by adopting complete streets policies and reducing the citywide speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph. Our goal is a city where the streets are accessible and safe for everyone, not just those in cars.

Properly designed streets promote good health while increasing mobility. At the same time, they can help clean the air and fight global warming by reducing vehicle miles traveled.

This is also an equity issue. Schenectady’s lower-income neighborhoods contain higher proportions of children, elderly, and people with disabilities. These groups often rely on public transit and don’t have cars. It isn’t fair that age, disability or poverty should put many city residents at greater risk of being seriously injured or killed by a speeding vehicle.

Area economic development agencies recognize the value of walkability and bicycle facilities in attracting new businesses and new residents, including young professionals, to the city. Complete streets provide an opportunity to build on the progress made downtown by attracting new households and businesses to Schenectady. A walkable city is an economically viable city.

Police enforcement is one way to create safer streets, but police efforts are hindered by streets designed for high speeds. Design strategies to slow down traffic and make our streets safe for ALL pedestrians and bike riders should be adopted in all parts of the city. Our members have lots of ideas for how to make streets safe and we are ready to share them with city officials and staff. It can be less costly and more effective than relying on police enforcement alone.

Safe streets create a healthier and more equitable community, a better business climate and stronger tax base. We are ready to help identify funding sources that promote SAFE STREETS for EVERYONE!

As signers of this letter, we are requesting the City of Schenectady to join with us to improve the quality of life in our city by making it safer for walking and biking. It is time to tackle this problem, and time for the Mayor and Council to show they care about all city residents.

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