Thursday, November 03, 2011

Political Candidates' Answers to Our Bicycling Survey

Ahead of next week's elections, we mailed candidates a questionnaire asking them about their position on various bicycling-related issues (relevant to their region). We sent surveys to all candidates entered in the following races:

  • Philadelphia Mayor
  • Philadelphia City Council
  • Bucks County Commissioner
  • Chester County Commissioner
  • Delaware County Council
  • Montgomery County Commissioner

Over the next few days, we will post the responses we've received. First off is Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter's response to our questionnaire (his responses are underlined):

Philadelphia Mayoraland City Council Candidate Questionnaire - October 2011

1. Would you supportthe installation of innovative infrastructure such as buffered bike lanes, likethose on Spruce and Pine, on a select number of streets to create a citywidebicycle network that is safe and inviting to ride for those from age 8 to 80?
The Bicycle Coalition has documented increases in bicycling significantly when buffered bike lanes were installed on Spruce, Pine, 13th and 10th Streets. In addition, sidewalk riding and wrong way riding decreased. Buffered bike lanes on Spruce and Pine have also calmed traffic, reducing significant crashes by 45%.

2. Would you support reforming theCity's Traffic code to make it conform with state traffic laws and nationalbest practices regarding bicyclists?
Several sections of the City’s Traffic Code are out of date and do not comply with state traffic laws. They include a prohibition of bicycles in the street if there is a sidepath available, a prohibition of two people riding abreast, and no language protecting cyclists if hit by a car door that is opened in the travel lane.


3. Would you support the City ofPhiladelphia issuing a Request for Proposals for a Public Bike Share systemwithin the first year of your term?
Many other east coast cities haveeither started, signed contracts or issued Request for Proposals (RFPs) forpublic bike share programs, including New York City, Washington DC, Baltimoreand Boston. The City of Philadelphia could issue a RFP to invite bikeshare operators to propose how they would finance and operate a bike sharesystem in Philly.

I support Bike Share. We haveexplored this issue, and I very mindful of initial or start-up costs and wouldbe interested in proposals that minimize City costs.

4. Would you support creating a Task Force to review theCity's annual resurfacing and paving plans to identify opportunities to makeimprovements for bicyclists, pedestrians and transit riders?
The City’s annual resurfacingprogram is the best opportunity to install new bike lanes and other treatmentsto make streets complete and safer for all users. The Pedestrian/Bicycle Plan recommends reconveningthe Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Task Force to monitor progress on theimplementation of physical improvements to city streets and sidewalks.

Iam more than willing to consider this. I would like to receive more informationon how it could operate. But citizen input is important.

5. Would you support increasing the Streets Department’sbudget in order to add engineering staff to make our streets safer for allusers and more convenient for bicyclists, pedestrians and transit riders?The Transportation EngineeringDivision of the Streets Department has suffered considerable budget cuts andloss of staff over the past fifteen years. Additional engineering resources are needed to develop plans to conducttraffic studies and design innovative bicycle and pedestrian facilities forPhiladelphia’s streets.

Thisis very likely a budgetary question. I would have to speak with the StreetsCommissioner about staffing priorities.

6. Would you support installation of more red light cameras to increasesafety at more intersections in Philadelphia?


7. Wouldyou support all-day closures of Martin Luther King Drive to through traffic,while continuing to allow auto access to the upper drive parking areas?
Theopening of the Schuylkill Trail from Locust Street to Martin Luther King(formerly West River) Drive has created a new and unique opportunity to makethe west bank of the Schuylkill River a six-mile recreation corridor onweekends between April and October. Tragically, the decision made in 1997 tore-open the lower half of the road to automotive traffic after Noon hasresulted in a number of crashes at Sweet Briar Road. A five-year-old child waskilled in 2006 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 atleast one portion of the park’s road system is reserved for recreation onweekends.

I think it may be time to re-examineand re-study the MLK Drive closure system on its own and in conjunction withKelly Drive regular closures.