On May 19, local real estate mogul Alan Domb was one of five Democrats to win the nomination for an at-Large seat on City Council. Here are his answers to our Better Mobility 2015 questionnaire.
Adopt and Implement a Vision Zero Policy. Many cities including New York, San Francisco and Seattle have adopted “Vision Zero” goals and policies to reduce the number of crashes that kill and injure people. Will you support the adoption of a Vision Zero goal to reduce traffic deaths and injuries? Will you support the appointment of a Vision Zero task force of city and community leaders to examine the 30 most dangerous intersections to develop and implement safety improvements in order to reach the Vision Zero goal?
Yes. Making our streets as safe as they possibly be is good for the quality of life of its citizens, and for business. Organizing our city resources towards this effort can ultimately help every neighborhood and commercial corridor and we need to get started.
Streets State of Repair. The budget for improving our streets has fallen behind. This year the Streets Department has plans to replace 60 miles of roadway. To maintain a state of good repair the Streets Department needs to rebuild or resurface approximately 130 miles of roadway each year, and this does not account for the 900-mile backlog, which is approximately 35% of the city’s roadways. Will you vote in favor of doubling the paving budget in the budget to reduce the 900-mile paving backlog?
As a Real Estate developer our streets are vital to business, not just for transportation, but for the walkability of the city which as become a huge selling point to people who are looking to move to the city.
Protected Bike Lanes: The city has over 230 miles of bike lanes but does not have a single mile of a physically protected bike lane, which is now the best practice among bicycle-friendly cities. Protected bike lanes provide physical separation, which can be accomplished by simply moving parking lanes over to provide a physical barrier. Would you support the installation of 30 miles of physically-protected bike lanes over the next five years and 15 miles of standards bike lanes annually?
We should look at best practices in other cities and relate them back to the needs of each Philadelphia neighborhoods and adapt what is best for Philadelphia. In areas we are not sure about what to do, we should try with temporary paint to see if what is designed works best. Bottom line is the status-quo will not do. We need to make the streets work for everyone and given our cities high crash rates we need to do much more to slow traffic down and make everyone feel safe.
In 2012, two important pieces of policy and legislation were adopted and passed. The City’s Planning Commission adopted the Pedestrian/Bicycle Master Plan, which identifies the streets and locations that need improvements for new bike lanes and sidewalks. Under Councilman Squilla’s leadership, Council voted unanimously to pass a Complete Streets bill to improve the safety of all streets for all users. Do you support the Streets Department installing bike lanes called for in the Pedestrian/Bicycle Plan when streets are repaved?
Yes. Much time and effort and coordination was put into the development of the Pedestrian/Bicycle Master Plan: http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/pdf/PlanDesign_SamplePlans_Local_Philadelphia2012.pdf
And it makes the most sense to take full advantage of any new paving the Streets Department has planned and coordinate any changes at that time.
Expand Bike Share: Philadelphia is inaugurating bike share in 2015. The Bicycle Coalition has partnered with Bike Share to provide community outreach. We believe making bike share as accessible to all neighborhoods in Philadelphia where there is demand and opportunity is important. Do you support the expansion of Bike Share to all Philadelphia neighborhoods after 2016?
Yes. Bike share is a fabulous addition to the streetscape and helps provide more access to the city. It is great for businesses both big and small and is an important tool for economic development that should be spread to all neighborhoods.
Securing Sidewalk Safety: Philadelphia is going through a construction boom and while this is a good thing for the city, too often contractors close sidewalks making passage dangerous for pedestrians. Do you support stronger policies and regulations to ensure that contractors maintain a safe passage during construction?
I do support stronger policies and regulations when possible. Philadelphia is a great walking city and it is unacceptable when construction arbitrarily takes that away. There are some citizens that are more vulnerable who we need to protect as well. Nobody should have to struggle to use our sidewalks and we must manage any closure much more closely.
Create an Active Transportation Office. Philadelphia cannot be a leading city for bicycling, walking and traffic safety without a dedicated office and staff. Will you support the creation of an office that is tasked with implementing the 2012 Pedestrian/Bicycle Plan and other measures to make Philadelphia’s streets and sidewalks safer?
The mayor must make it a priority to insist that our city government is doing all it can to make our streets safer and more efficient. That can only happen with strong leadership coordinating between city and state agencies and City Council.
Safe Routes to School. Philadelphia has 162 elementary schools with roughly 100,000 students. The City of Philadelphia has a very small Safe Routes to School program that provides biking and walking curriculum to students and conducts walkability audits to identify how routes can be made safer to encourage more biking and walking to school. Do you support the Health Department having a robust Safe Routes to School program to reach as many students and schools as possible?
Anything we can do to provide education to our children about how to move about the city safely is important.