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Blondell Reynolds Brown’s Responses to the Bicycle Coalition’s 2015 Council Candidate Questionnaire

blondellCity Council plays a pivotal role in ensuring the safety of its citizens while using Philadelphia’s streets.  The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia prepared a questionnaire for all 2015 at-large and District Council candidates.  These responses serve as campaign commitments to Better Mobility in 2015.  Blondell Reynolds Brown’s responses are in italics.

  1. 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. I fully support the adoption of “Vision Zero”. The safety of our citizens, especially our children, is of the greatest importance to my staff and me. It seems not a day goes by that we do not read about a pedestrian or cyclist that was hit by a driver on anyone of our city’s streets. Just last week, a child was killed in a hit and run in Southwest Philadelphia. Philadelphia can and must do better to ensure the safety of our pedestrians and cyclist and I believe that Vision Zero is a strong step in this direction.

YES. I support the appointment of a “Vision Zero” task force comprised of city and community leaders to examine the 30 most dangerous intersections and provide recommendations to implement safety improvements. Change cannot fully occur on the shoulders of government alone. I believe it is imperative that our local communities and resident associations participate in the Vision Zero goal and  

I fully welcome their involvement and input throughout the process.

2. 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 capital budget to reduce the 900-mile paving backlog?

YES. Resurfaced and repaired streets are the first step towards creating “safe streets” for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. I would therefore support doubling the paving budget in the capital budget to ensure the appropriate actions can be taken to reduce the backlog in our system.

3. 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?

YES. I would absolutely support the installation of 30 miles of physically-protected bike lanes and 15 miles annually of standard bike lanes throughout Philadelphia. Furthermore, I would encourage the city to incorporate the input of the bicycle coalition and community organizations to identify the areas which pose the greatest risk to cyclists and ensure these areas protected first.

4. 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. Resurfaced and repaired streets are the first step towards creating “safe streets” for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. I would therefore support doubling the paving budget in the capital budget to ensure the appropriate actions can be taken to reduce the backlog in our system.

5. 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. My office was proud to introduce and enact the original Bike Share legislation (Bill No. 140449) in Philadelphia City Council. I fully support the expansion of Bike Share to all Philadelphia neighborhoods after 2016.

6. 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?

YES. As I mentioned earlier, ensuring the safety of our citizens, especially our children, is of the greatest importance to my staff and I. To this end, I fully support policies and regulations that would ensure contractors maintain safe passageways during construction.

7. 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?

YES. I support the creation of an office, likely within the Streets Department, that is tasked with implementing the 2012 Pedestrian/Bicycle Plan along with other measures to make Philadelphia’s streets and sidewalks safer. I would ask that such an office fully involve the local community, advocacy organizations, and residents associations throughout the implementation process.

8. 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?

YES. I fully support the Health Department having a robust Safe Routes to School program. Currently, the Safe Routes Philadelphia program has been adopted by 132 schools and reaches over 70,000 students. Given the recent vehicle accidents involving children, now more than ever, it is imperative that our children know how to remain safe when traveling to and from school. I am therefore committed to helping secure the necessary funding Safe Routes Philadelphia needs to be able to educate our children on how to remain safe.

 

Topics: Action Center, Biking in Philly

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