Rebuilding, Repaving, and Revolutionizing New York City’s Roads to Reduce Car Accidents and Improve the Bottom Line
As part of its Sustainable Streets: 2013 and Beyond brief, NYCDOT has identified specific areas of focus in its efforts to make New York’s roads the very best that they can be for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. In a recent blog post, we discussed the plan’s numerous safety measures. Another important element of Sustainable Streets involves infrastructure: the development, maintenance, and greening of the transportation framework within the five boroughs.
NYCDOT has invested billions of dollars over the last few years in its infrastructure, and with good reason: infrastructure is the base upon which all of the other elements of a successful transportation network are founded. Frequent usage and harsh weather conditions take an unavoidable toll on city streets, creating everything from dangerous potholes to weakened suspenders and cables on major bridges. These unsafe conditions can, in turn, cause potentially catastrophic motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents.
There are several components of Sustainable Streets’ infrastructure initiative:
21st Century Streets. Pothole repair, resurfacing, andenvironmental sustainability are the hallmarks of NYCDOT’s plan for maintaining and modernizing New York’s streets. While “fixing potholes on New York City’s 6,000 miles of streets is a never– ending job”, as the plan notes, the DOT is focused on responding quickly to pothole complaints, and to limiting the number of open complaints at any given time. Since 2007, NYC has repaired well over 2,000,000 potholes; average response time to a pothole complaint has decreased since 2011 by over 65% (from just over six days to under two days). As part of its First Avenue re-pavement project, NYCDOT used a thin overlay of asphalt to smooth the surface of First Avenue between 72nd and 125th Streets, creating a safer, more attractive environment while simultaneously saving the money associated with a full-scale renovation. The department has also pledged to use recycled asphalt whenever possible – an initiative that is beneficial both for the environment and for the city’s budget.
A City of Bridges. With nearly 800 bridges under its jurisdiction, NYCDOT is committed to ensuring that this vital element of New York’s transportation infrastructure is in a state of good repair. The Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge in particular have been earmarked for hundreds of millions of dollars in reconstruction and repair investments over the last few years. Another major bridge that has benefitted from NYCDOT’s extensive infrastructure initiatives is the Williamsburg Bridge; as a result of improvements to its bikeway, daily cyclists over the Williamsburg Bridge have increased by well over 200% over the last decade.
Lighting, Signage, Ferries and Vehicles. By providing brighter, more energy efficient lighting throughout NYC’s streets and intersections, DOT has increased the safety and attractiveness of its main corridors, while also cutting costs. Likewise, the elimination of confusing signage and the rollout of standardized signs throughout the city has diminished the potential for accidents while reducing overall clutter. Finally, the reconstruction and repowering of the Staten Island Ferry has rendered it the most reliable mode of transport in NYC, and the most eco-friendly fleet in the nation.
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