Advocacy & Planning

If you’re an advocate for bike-peds, you will at some point engage with an elected leader at the local or state level. It is not only important to know your elected representatives, but to understand what their unique roles are if you are looking to make a change, whether it's to get a bike lane, amend a law, get funding for a transportation project, change a municipal code, or simply just want to know your elected leaders role in shaping policies related to your advocacy work...we're breaking it down for you here.

Transportation Planning

Getting involved early in the planning process ensures projects are delivered effectively, efficiently and equitably. Federal laws mandates planners and project sponsors to schedule opportunities for public participation in the development of transportation plans that use federal funding. This section is going to help break down the basics of public involvement requirements, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. First, let’s break down public involvement and rights...

Public Involvement is the process that encourages the public to give input on transportation decisions. Good public participation is a continuous, coordinated and comprehensive process, made up of activities that inform and obtain input from the public. Successful public involvement is open, relevant, timely and tailored to the plan or project and the community.

Agencies that receive federal funds are required to involve the public, including those historically underrepresented: racial and ethnic communities, low income communities, people with disabilities, people with limited English proficiency, people with low literacy, tribal communities, and immigrant and refugee communities. Agencies can involve the public using a combination of written and non-written communication to reach out to you, such as: graphics, maps, audio / video recording. Public involvement requirements specify where and how many days in advance of public meetings materials must be made available to the public.

Public notification of public involvement should be made through a variety of sources for best reach, including: notices in newspapers, electronic media, including those in languages other than English. Posting meeting notices on flyers in schools, businesses, apartment buildings, libraries, parks and places of worship, and sharing meeting announcements through email and on social media are common tools for public notification.

Encouraged techniques for increased public involvement include scheduling public meetings like workshops, hearings and open houses in locations that make it possible for everyone to attend. Information should be formatted in an accessible manner for all attendees. Also, conduct public outreach at community gatherings like farmers markets and special events, at transit stations and bus stops, and in parks. Along the lines of public notification methods, accept public comment via social media apps, through local government websites, online surveys and other technologies. 

Your Representatives

The Nassau and Suffolk County Legislatures are the legislative arm of each County government. Comprised of single representatives from each of the county's districts, it is the legislature's duty to draft and approve local laws that affect the county and its residents. The public is invited to attend and observe all committee meetings. Public comment is welcomed at full sessions of the legislature.

The NY State Assembly Find your Assembly District and elected Assembly person here:

New York State Senate Find your Senate District and Senator here:

The State Legislature is the law-making branch of state government, composed of the Senate and the Assembly. The legislature’s primary purpose is to draft and approve changes to New York laws. These laws first take the form of bills, which may be introduced in either house. A bill passed by one house must be passed in the same form by the other before it can be sent to the Governor for a signature or veto. The Legislature has power to override the Governor’s veto. 

MPOs are federally mandated and federally funded transportation policy-making organization that make decisions about how federal transportation dollars are spent. These choices affect every transportation project in a metropolitan area that uses federal funds. For advocates who want to make sure that available dollars go towards creating places to bike, walk and live, it’s important to work with the MPOs that make these funding decisions.

MPOs are required to undertake a continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive planning process. Their five core functions are to  

  1. Establish a setting for effective regional decision-making in the metropolitan area.
  2. Identify and evaluate alternative transportation improvement options
  3.  Use data and planning methods to generate and evaluate alternatives. 
  4. Develop and update a long-range transportation plan (MTP)
  5.  Develop a Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)

Every region has a Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) that is updated every 4 years. The MTP outlines a transportation plan, including plans that are not funded and plans that are funded and scheduled over the next 20 years. Every region also has a Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) ever four years which is a short term version of the MTP, including only projects that will be funded, designed and built over the next four years.

The New York State Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (NYSAMPO) is a coalition of the fourteen MPOs in New York State. 

On Long Island, our MPO is the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC).