The State of New York has been awarded nearly $38 million in funding through the federal Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) Grant Program.

Established by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the SS4A Grant Program will provide $5 billion over five years to help prevent deaths and serious injuries on the nation’s roadways through local initiatives. The investment comes at a time when traffic fatalities have increased and new solutions are sought to address what U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has called “a national emergency.”

About the SS4A Grant Program

The SS4A program supports the Transportation Department’s National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS),  which has the long-term goal of reaching zero fatalities on U.S. roadways. From 2022 to 2026, SS4A will hand out $1 billion annually for local efforts to achieve “Vision Zero.”

Metropolitan planning organizations, cities, counties, towns, tribal governments, and multijurisdictional groups of these entities are eligible to apply for the competitive grants. The SS4A program has two types of grants:

  • Action Plan Grants to develop or complete a community roadway safety plan
  • Implementation Grants to carry out strategies and projects for reducing or eliminating roadway fatalities and serious injuries

Projects and strategies eligible for SS4A grants include:

  • Adding bike lanes and pedestrian crossings
  • Installing rumble strips and improved signage in high-crash areas
  • Addressing drunk driving
  • Changing street designs
  • Introducing traffic calming measures to enforce speed limits

On February 1, 2023 the Department announced 2023 grant awards for 510 projects. The press release notes that U.S. traffic fatalities reached a 16-year high in 2021 and are expected to remain near record levels in 2022.

“Every year, crashes cost tens of thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars to our economy; we face a national emergency on our roadways, and it demands urgent action,” said Secretary Buttigieg.

New York’s Grant Awards

New York was the recipient of 12 Action Plan Grant awards and 2 Implementation Grant awards for fiscal year 2022. Individual recipients include:

  • New York City (Implementation)
  • Nassau County (Action Plan)
  • City of White Plains (Action Plan)
  • City of Ithaca (Action Plan)
  • State University of New York at Stony Brook (Action Plan)
  • Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe (Implementation)

New York received $8,056,456 in Action Plan grant funds and $29,818,705 in Implementation grant funds totaling $37,875,161.

How New York City Plans to Spend the Grant Money

The bulk of New York SS4A funding comes from money to implement existing road safety plans. And the single largest grant beneficiary is the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT).

According to an Implementation Grant fact sheet, NYCDOT will spend its $21.48M award on a Complete Streets redesign of Delancey Street, a high-injury corridor in Manhattan.

The Complete Streets Act, signed into law in 2011, requires New York state, county, and local agencies to consider roadway design principles, such as sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, and bus pull-outs, that accommodate all users (i.e., pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation riders, and motorists).

NYCDOT plans to undertake the following activities in the Delancey Street project:

  • Implementing lane reduction
  • Creating a separated bikeway
  • Making accessibility improvements
  • Reconstructing the roadway
  • Developing a pedestrian model and micromobility plan

New York City adopted a Vision Zero policy in 2014 under Mayor de Blasio. Between 2014 and 2018, the City saw a steady decline in motor vehicle deaths. But traffic fatalities spiked in 2019 during the pandemic and only started to level off last year.

NYCDOT recently reported that traffic deaths fell citywide in 2022 by 6.6%, including a 6.3% decrease in pedestrian deaths and fewer cyclist deaths for the third year in a row. Mayor Adams pointed to the success of 24/7 speed cameras and improved intersection design at lowering roadway fatalities while emphasizing that Vision Zero remains the goal.

Vision Zero NYC reports that around 200 New Yorkers are killed and 3,000 are seriously injured every year in traffic crashes. Car accidents are the leading cause of accidental deaths for children under 14 and the second-leading cause of deaths for seniors. In December 2022 alone, NYC experienced 8,000 motor vehicle crashes, resulting in 21 deaths and 4,157 injuries.

Car Accident? Call 855-SANDERS

Transportation officials are starting to rethink the long-held belief that human error causes most car accidents. They’re reframing the “national emergency” of roadway deaths as a systemic problem that requires comprehensive solutions involving communities, engineers, carmakers, and the public.

But humans often make bad decisions behind the wheel that seriously injure other road users. Research continues to find that driver inattention, speeding, and drunk and drugged driving cause a disproportionate number of crashes.

As long as there are car accidents in New York City, there will be a need for car accident lawyers. To schedule your free case review, call 855-SANDERS or contact us.