The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and AARP Pennsylvania released a questionnaire to all mayoral candidates asking for their stances on a set of policy recommendations laid out in the 2023 Better Mobility Platform. We will be sharing responses to the questionnaire in separate blog posts per candidate.
1. Will you introduce legislation to create a new Department of Transportation that includes the Office of Transportation Infrastructure & Sustainability and the Office of Complete Streets?
As mayor, I will propose and include support for programs and policies in my budgets that focus on rebuilding and expanding our city’s infrastructure with a goal of making it more sustainable.
I can not endorse the creation of a new Department of Transportation, or Offices of Transportation Infrastructure & Sustainability and Complete Streets, for a simple reason: during this campaign, community groups have asked candidates for mayor to create more than a dozen different departments or offices across city government. If all were agreed to, Philadelphia city government would become unwieldy and unworkable. As mayor, I hope to work with experts and community leaders to achieve the goals of improving our transportation infrastructure. If changes need to be made to our form of government to do so, I will support them.
2. Will you support hiring a commissioner who will allow for more transparency, efficiency, and accountability which will prioritize Vision Zero over congestion?
I have previously announced my support for Vision Zero and committed to funding its implementation. Part of that commitment includes hiring Department heads and Commissioners who share my commitment. I have also committed to making Philadelphia the most transparent city in the country, because I believe that it is essential for city government to operate openly and honestly with citizens and to provide maximum access to information. Only then can government be fully accountable and transparent. As mayor, I will make accountability and transparency more than just buzzwords. I will expand Open Data Philly by requiring all city departments to monitor, evaluate, and report on their respective programs and to transfer the information in a responsible and timely manner to the Office of Information and Technology for the purposes of sharing on Open Data Philly.
I do not believe that Vision Zero can be achieved without also focusing on congestion, which often prompts drivers and bikers to take actions that are unsafe to others. As stated on the Vision Zero plan for Philadelphia, “approximately 36 percent of the city’s traffic-related deaths are a result of aggressive driving, which includes speeding and failure to yield.” Reducing deaths requires reducing dangerous behavior, including actions taken in response to congestion.
3. Will you commit to hiring a third paving crew to reach a pace of paving 130 miles per year of local roads?
Philadelphia has some of the worst potholes in the country, with many streets plagued by car rattling holes. As mayor, I will deploy more personnel and improve response time for pothole repair, and I will create a public tracker to create public accountability for fixing them.
Unfortunately, Philadelphia’s pothole problem and needed street repairs are limited by the low staffing levels in the Streets Department. As mayor, I will focus first on rebuilding our depleted government and, then, expanding it.
4. Will you create a Sidewalk Safety Program, with dedicated staff, and create a $2 million grant program to help low-income property owners repair their sidewalks?
As detailed above, during this campaign community groups have asked candidates for mayor to create more than a dozen different departments or offices across city government. If all were agreed to, Philadelphia city government would become unwieldy and unworkable. I can not promise I will create a new program with dedicated staff.
Philadelphia has programs and policies to help homeowners who can not afford basic maintenance of their homes. I will support allowing these programs to also rebuild broken sidewalks and, through the Streets Department, coordinate road repairs with the needed work on sidewalks. I will support funding to repair sidewalks as needed and as part of an overall program for pedestrian safety and neighborhood redevelopment.
5. Will you commit to the 2030 Vision Zero goal and work to strengthen the program by increasing its capital budget to $ 10 million/per year?
I have publicly committed to reducing Philadelphia’s annual traffic deaths by half by 2026. There are three things I would immediately pursue for our most dangerous roads: expand red light cameras to catch risky and unsafe drivers; improve bike and pedestrian lanes to allow people to commute safely; and, work with SEPTA to make public transit a more viable option (both in terms of expanding service areas and lowering cost for most riders). I will support funding to achieve these goals.
6. Will you support expanding automated speed enforcement to dangerous roads in addition to Roosevelt Blvd?
7. Will you support completing a 175-mile network of protected bike lanes and trails by building an additional 40 miles of protected bike lanes?
I have publicly committed to supporting a comprehensive network of
protected bike paths that allow riders to avoid roads that are busy but cannot reasonably accommodate bike lanes.
8. Will you commit to building 29 miles of Circuit trails by the end of your second term?
I support the construction of additional amenities like the Circuit trails, but I can not commit to building 29 miles of new trails given the other pressing demands for city resources and the public commitment I’ve made to supporting a comprehensive network of protected bikeways.
9.Will you support implementing signal prioritization, stop location improvements, and dedicated bus lanes on 10 corridors identified in the oTIS Transit Plan?
10.Will you work with SEPTA, state, and regional stakeholders and support legislation that authorizes a regional or municipal tax to fund public transit directly?
Under no circumstances will I support a new tax to fund suburban transit needs, as a recent Inquirer report found was being prioritized by SEPTA.
As the Inquirer wrote, “While any urban planning student could tell you that public transportation is more effective in densely populated areas, SEPTA has repeatedly shown that it is willing to cut service in Philadelphia rather than improve it. … Instead of investing in better service in Philadelphia, SEPTA’s admittedly limited capital dollars have often gone to projects in suburban areas.” Unless and until I can be certain needed funds will be dedicated to addressing Philadelphia’s needs, I can not and will not support new levies.
11. Will you support fully expanding Indego to 7000 docks and 3500 bikes to achieve bike share equity?
12. Will you support making it easier for citizens to transform and steward their streets by reducing the burdens associated with placemaking in the Right-Of-Way?
Yes. I believe that in most instances, neighborhoods should be Philadelphia’s
long-standing practice of allowing Councilmanic prerogative to dictate important development, zoning, and other land-use decisions is arcane and out of step with modern principles of good governance. At a basic level, it is anti-democratic. As mayor, I will begin the process of reforming Councilmanic prerogative by issuing an Executive Order directing city agencies to cease any deference to councilmanic prerogative in decision-making unless required by law. I will also work with city departments and the Council itself to codify common guidelines and timelines for zoning reviews, and to define rules for routine, non-discretionary matters, such as approving signage and parking permits, to obviate the need for councilmanic approval and promote efficiency. I will also move to stop “block by block” legislation. Legislation that can treat a business or homeowner differently on one block than another should be unacceptable except in certain situations (e.g. keeping certain businesses away from schools). If presented with a bill that changes requirements with no justification, I will veto it.
13. Will you support the growth of a portfolio of over 50 parklets, pedestrian plazas, art enhanced intersections and reduce barriers for streeteries?
Yes. I believe that we should add to the public amenities in every
neighborhood. I am proud of my role in helping create streeteries in the early days of the pandemic and my key role in fashioning the compromise that allows them to continue to operate in most neighborhoods.
14. Will you create a dedicated budget line for bike lanes and traffic calming maintenance within the PHL DOT budget?
As mayor, I will propose and include support for programs and policies in my
budgets that support a comprehensive network of protected bike paths that allow riders to avoid roads that are busy but cannot reasonably accommodate bike lanes and will deploy additional personnel to manage traffic. I do not believe a dedicated line item is necessary to achieve these goals.
15. Will you create a dedicated budget line for trail maintenance in the Parks and Recreation budget?
As mayor, I will propose and include support for programs and policies in my
budgets that support trail maintenance. I do not believe a dedicated line item is necessary to achieve that goal.