NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There could be two new city agencies coming our way. Local leaders have unveiled proposals that would dedicate a pair of offices just to pedestrians and bike safety.
From construction to congestion, many obstacles make walking or biking around New York City a challenge, and sometimes even dangerous.
“Our streets need to be revolutionized for bikes and pedestrians. We are looking at human power vehicle and we want to make sure whatever your physical ability, you feel safer traveling the five boroughs,” City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera told reporters, including CBS2’s Ali Bauman.
Local leaders are now trying to fix this problem. Council members Rivera and Ydanis Rodriguez are looking to transform the city. Rodriguez is the chairman of the Transportation Committee.
“There’s a whole a movement in the nation and in the world of making cities do urban planning around pedestrians and cyclists and I feel like the City of New York has that opportunity to be the best walkable and cycling-friendly city we have in the United States of America,” Rodriguez said.
On Tuesday, two new pieces of legislation were proposed that would set up entities aimed at improving street safety. If passed, they would eventually merge to become one larger agency, with an advisory board.
“We want to make sure that with this bike mayor, and with our pedestrian mayor, we are going to make a safer city for all,” Rivera said.
Whereas the “Department of Pedestrians” would work alongside city agencies to address complaints and pursue safety policies, the “Office of Active Transportation” would develop infrastructure for transportation alternatives, such as bikes and scooters. This comes after a dramatic increase in the number cyclist deaths this year — 28 so far.
But while some New Yorkers are for this, others say there’s already too many city-run departments — about 50 — and it shouldn’t be using tax dollars to fund another, especially since proponents still don’t know how much it will cost.
“I don’t really think it’s that needed,” one person said.
“We are a pretty safe city already, I think,” added Andrew Kabatchnick, who works in Manhattan.
“There are more important issues that the city can put at the forefront,” said Adama Paddyfoote of Harlem. “Homelessness, better schools, more affordable housing, of course.”
City council members are hoping to have a hearing on the two bills sometime in December.
According to walkscore.com, New York City is already ranked the most walkable city in America.