Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Bicycle Coalition Mayoral Questionnaire

Bicycling is a barometer of Philadelphia’s health and livability. Cities ranked as the best bicycling cities in America also rank consistently as among the nation’s most desirable places to live. Bicyclists riding on City streets and trails are indicators of cleaner air and an active, healthy population. Bicycling saves residents and employers money on transportation and health care. And bicyclists mean more business for neighborhood shops.

About 400,000 Philadelphians rode a bike in the last year and 25,000 use their bike to commute to work at least once a month. Philadelphia is well positioned to become the most bicycle-friendly city on the East Coast – but only if the City plans for it. The next mayor and city council have a number of excellent opportunities to take actions that would make bicycling safer and more attractive for city residents and tourists.

While the Bicycle Coalition, as a nonprofit, does not endorse candidates we have asked candidates their positions on eight questions of interest to Philadelphia bicyclists. We have also made a grid of the candidates' positions.

Philadelphia is the only major city in the United States that does not employ a full-time bicycle/pedestrian coordinator. Not only would the coordinator help identify funding for many pedestrian-bicycle transportation projects but the position itself can be nearly (80%) fully funded from federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) funds.

1. Would you support the creation of a Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator to shape transportation policy?

BradyConditional Support
Bob Brady would support hiring a Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator for the City of Philadelphia. Creation of such an office, however, would be contingent on an 80% contribution from federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ), plus the identification and allocation of additional resources sufficient to fund the position. Furthermore, as Mayor Bob Brady will aggressively pursue federal funding on behalf of Philadelphia. Federal funds which are available, such as the CMAQ grant, should not go unused.

EvansSupport
Yes, I will support the employment of a Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator in Philadelphia in order to promote alternate means of getting around the city.

FattahSupport
I think a Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator is an excellent way to promote biking in the city and to ensure that the interests of bikers and pedestrians are represented in transportation and environmental planning. As stated in my transportation policy proposal, I plan to re-establish the Office of Transportation, and believe that a Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator would be a good addition to this office.

KnoxSupport
Absolutely

Nutter Support
Yes. Federal CMAQ funds can defray 80 percent of the cost of the Bicycle-Pedestrian Coordinator position. Within the framework of a re-established City Department of Transportation, this coordinator would work with other City agencies, such as Fairmount Park, Recreation, Health, Planning, and Streets to make bicycling in Philadelphia easier and safer.
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Philadelphia is the only major city on the East Coast that does not have a Department of Transportation. A department is needed to shape and implement transportation policy that considers all users of the transportation network.

2. Would you support the creation of a Department of Transportation?

BradySupport
As Mayor, Bob Brady would support the creation of a Department of Transportation for the City of Philadelphia. This office would work in conjunction with the Master Planning process being undertaken by the Planning Commission. Strategic improvements to the City's transportation infrastructure would be considered, and adopted to the extent that they are viable and affordable.

EvansSupport
Yes, I will support the creation of Philadelphia's Department of Transportation for a more cohesive system for transportation.

FattahSupport
As Mayor, I will re-establish the Office of Transportation and will appoint a leading transportation professional as Director. Under Mayor Rendell, the Office of Transportation served as the focal point for all city policy related to transportation. I will re-establish this office and rely on its director as my chief transportation advisor, responsible for the planning and implementation of city transportation policy. The Director of Transportation will work with other area governments to take a regional approach to transportation, representing the city to the public and funding and regulatory bodies on issues of transportation and work with Philadelphia residents and businesses on issues of concern to them involving transportation.

KnoxSupport
Yes

NutterSupport
Yes. Without a Department of Transportation, there is no consolidated public authority to envision and coordinate the multi-user, multi-modal aspects of the transportation network. Each part of the network must be understood as having major impacts on all the others. With a Department of Transportation, the City can pursue all available state and federal funding opportunities and close the unattended gaps in our network.
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Following the model of the Chicago Bike 2010 plan, a new bicycle-pedestrian plan for Philadelphia can be substantially paid for through any number of federal transportation funding programs.

3. Would you support the creation and implementation of a new citywide bicycle/pedestrian plan that positions Philadelphia as the most bicycle-friendly city on the East Coast?

BradySupport
As Mayor, Bob Brady would support the longstanding tradition of promoting Philadelphia as a bicycle friendly city. Furthermore, as stated above, Bob Brady would aggressively pursue federal funding.

Evans -Support
Yes, I will lead the way for Philadelphia to become the most bicycle-friendly city on the East Coast with a bicycle/pedestrian plan.

FattahSupport
I believe the city’s Bicycle Network Plan is a good first step in making Philadelphia more bicycle-friendly. I support expanding this plan and incorporating it into other ongoing city planning efforts like Philadelphia’s GreenPlan. I also believe that with some small investments and changes to traffic planning, Philadelphia can be the safest and best place to cycle in the eastern United States.

KnoxSupport
Yes

NutterSupport
Philadelphia should capitalize on the fact that the City hosts the nation’s longest one-day cycling event: The Commerce Bank Triple Crown of Cycling-Philadelphia International Championship. A new Department of Transportation will be well-positioned to articulate and implement goals such as this one.
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After striping over 200 miles of bike lanes, Philadelphia has seen annual increases in bicycle traffic of 6% over the last decade and a remarkable 24% increase from 2005 to 2006. But there are still many gaps and maintenance issues in the bike lane network which discourage the city’s 400,000 bicyclists from using their bicycles more often. An east-west bike lane through Center City is especially needed to make non-motorized travel from river to river easier, safer and more enjoyable.

4. Would you support free and clear bike lanes that connect the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers and close the gaps between bike lanes in all neighborhoods?

BradySupport
Over the last 20 years, Philadelphia has become known as a great cycling city. From the annual race in June, to the yearly installation of bicycle racks in Center City, Philadelphia prides itself on a place where pedal power is not only a diversion, but a way of life. As Mayor, Bob Brady would work to continue the expansion and extension of bike lanes throughout the City.

EvansSupport
Yes, I will support further increasing bicycle traffic by connecting bike lanes throughout the City including a lane through Center City from the Delaware to the Schuylkill River.

FattahSupport
I will fight to extend the Schuylkill River Trail as a continuous path along the entire river, from north to south, enact the North Delaware Riverfront Greenway Plan with its planned miles of new bike trails and seek to connect these two bicycle thoroughfares. My administration will seek ways to expand designated bicycle lanes consistent with city's Bicycle Network Plan. The priority will be to maximize linkages between existing lanes and expand bike lanes into areas of the city not currently served by designated lanes.
Additionally, I will insist that any streetscape improvements made during my administration include sufficient racks on which to park bicycles. The city will also build bicycle parking stations, with air pumps and water fountains at major destinations throughout the city to give an additional boost to cycling in our city.

KnoxConditional Support
Yes, if funding is available. If bicycles are to be more widely-used form of city transportation, it’s necessary to make it easier and safer.

NutterSupport
This idea would represent a major improvement in our bicycle network and link our two emerging recreational waterfronts. There is substantial federal funding for such initiatives. One advantage of a new Department of Transportation will be to foster such planning efforts and prioritize implementation across modes, users, and comprehensive goals.
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Endemic red light running, double parking in bike lanes and bicyclists riding on sidewalks rank high on Philadelphia bicyclists’ concerns about riding in the city. Action on these enforcement issues will improve quality of life for bicyclists, pedestrians and car drivers.

5. Would you support increased enforcement of traffic laws through:
• the installation of 100 red light cameras,
• a bike-based parking enforcement patrol and
• a street-based education program to discourage bicyclists riding on sidewalks?

BradyPartial Support
Bob Brady can not support this position for each of the following reasons: 1) Bob Brady will not support a blanket mandate to install 100 red light cameras within the City. Although, as Mayor, Bob Brady would work to expand the existing red light camera program in a way that is sensible and feasible. 2) While bike-based parking enforcement is an interesting idea, Bob Brady can not directly endorse it, as control of the Philadelphia Parking Authority is vested with the Commonwealth. However, Bob Brady would support an education program to discourage cyclists from riding on sidewalks.

EvansSupport
Yes, I will increase traffic law enforcement and provide the necessary means to do so.

FattahSupport
These innovative solutions are exactly the type of solutions that the Bike Pedestrian Coordinator should be involved in. The red light cameras installed on Roosevelt Blvd. give us an indication of their success in making streets safer. It is also important that the existing “rules of the road” are enforced in the best interest of cyclists, pedestrians and drivers.

KnoxSupport
This is a necessary component of making bicycle transportation safe. We need to encourage its use through such enforcement.

NutterSupport
Yes on the installation of 100 red light cameras.
Yes on a bike-based parking enforcement patrol.
Yes on a street-based education program to discourage bicyclists riding on the sidewalks

Red-light-running is epidemic in Philadelphia, endangering walkers, cyclists, and drivers. The early returns on traffic cameras are very positive, and we should consider their use in high-density, high-danger intersections in Center City and elsewhere.
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Bike theft continues to be a major reason why Philadelphia’s 400,000 bicyclists don’t use their bicycles more often. Installation of bike racks at important retail sites, schools, transit centers, city office buildings, parking garages and other popular locations is a highly visible way of encouraging residents to use their bicycles instead of driving.

6. Would you support the installation of 1,000 bike racks in each City Council district?

BradyConditional Support
Bob Brady does support an expansion of the system of bike racks throughout the city, to the extent funding is available. Additionally, as Mayor, Bob Brady will create an Office of Grants to aggressively pursue federal funding for transportation, as well as other, initiatives. It is unclear at this time, however, if a commitment of 1,000 bike racks per district is viable and affordable.

EvansConditional Support
I will support the installation of additional bike racks in each district, but I am not prepared to commit to 1,000 racks at this time.

FattahSupport
Yes. I will insist that any streetscape improvements made during my administration include sufficient racks on which to park bicycles.

KnoxConditional Support
Yes. I would like to identify a public-private partnership to help fund the program, but this makes sense and I’d support it.

NutterSupport
Yes. Installing bike racks encourages residents to keep their cars at home and thus reduces congestion, parking, and air quality concerns.
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Plans to extend the Schuylkill River Trail from Locust Street all the way to Fort Mifflin need to be made a priority. The completed trail would create a unique experience for residents and tourists alike, connecting Southwest Philadelphia to Center City and providing access to Bartram’s Garden, Heinz Wildlife Refuge and Philadelphia International Airport. It would also be instrumental to completing the Philadelphia segment of the East Coast Greenway, which stretches from Maine to Florida.

7. Would you support the completion of the Schuylkill River Trail extension to Fort Mifflin?

BradySupport
As Mayor, Bob Brady would support the ongoing efforts of the Schuylkill River Development Corporation to redevelop the lower portion of the river. The transformation witnessed between the Art Museum and Locust Street should serve as a blueprint for the expansion and management of green space throughout the City.

EvansSupport
Yes, I will work with the region to complete the Schuylkill River Trail and Philadelphia's portion of East Coast Greenway.

FattahSupport
I am committed to making this extension a reality and it will be a priority project in my Administration.

KnoxSupport
This would be a unique attraction and has my support.

NutterSupport
I support the completion of the Schuylkill River Trail extension which would create another unique experience for residents and tourists alike. Philadelphia should complete its segment of the East Coast Greenway and link together such recreational jewels as the Waterworks, Bartram’s Gardens, and the Heinz Wildlife Refuge
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The opening of the Schuylkill Trail from Locust Street to Martin Luther King (formerly West River) Drive has created a new and unique opportunity to make the west bank of the Schuylkill River a six-mile recreation corridor on weekends between April and October. Tragically, the ten-year-old decision to re-open the lower half of the road to automotive traffic after Noon has resulted in a number of crashes at Sweet Briar Road. A five-year-old child was killed last year when a reckless driver sped through the gate at Sweet Briar. Closing the gate at the Art Museum from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. would ensure that at least one portion of the park’s road system is reserved for recreation on weekends.

8. Would you support all-day closures of Martin Luther King Drive to through traffic, while continuing to allow auto access to the upper drive parking areas?

BradyOppose
While the lower portion of MLK Drive does provide crucial automobile access during peak hours of usage, safety improvements must be made to avoid tragic accidents such as the one which occurred at Sweet Briar Road. An improved gate and signage must be installed to ensure the safety of those who enjoy MLK drive while it is closed to traffic

EvansConditional Support
Yes, I will support the closure of Martin Luther King Drive for recreational needs so long as alternative routes remain available and reasonable.

FattahSupport
Yes. I believe full day closure of the entire road for recreational purposes would be a great benefit to our city. As Mayor, I will support this change.

KnoxConditional Support
Martin Luther King Drive is a unique recreational attraction. I am open to all options in finding a way to balance traffic and safety needs.

NutterSupport
Yes, I support a re-established Saturday and Sunday closure from 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. of Martin Luther King Drive so our residents and non-residents can enjoy the recreational amenities of this beautiful six mile corridor without being vulnerable to the traffic concerns that led to the tragic death last year.
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Evans was the only candidate to include a cover letter. In part, he said:
How we maintain our environments – our buildings as well as our natural environment – directly impacts the safety of neighborhoods. If we don’t respect the City around us, others are less likely to respect it as well. By tending to our environment, we will contribute to the creation of areas that will not allow crime and disorder to flourish, we will enhance the quality of life for our residents, and we will preserve our natural resources for generations to come.

Greater investments in our infrastructure to support bicyclists can help with this effort. As Mayor, I am committed to providing this leadership. Being an avid bicyclist myself, I appreciate this activity both for its recreational benefits and its positive impacts on the environment. I will carry this enthusiasm with me to the Office of the Mayor, and I will lead an administration your members will be proud of.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that Bob Brady talks about himself in the 3rd person, rather than saying "I". It makes me think that someone else is writing the answers to this and other questionnaires rather than Brady himself. Does he even read these before they're returned? I know that other candidates may have a staff member write their's as well, but at least the answers sound personal.

Kim said...

Nice post! You have said it very well. Keep going.