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?
Not only do I support creating a Department of Transportation but on Day One of my administration I will appoint a senior level official who will oversee the aforementioned departments and ensure each department is aligned with our infrastructure goals including Vision Zero, while we wait for an official charter change to create the new department.
2. Will you support hiring a commissioner who will allow for more transparency, efficiency, and accountability which will prioritize Vision Zero over congestion?
Every Commissioner hired in the Rhynhart Administration will share my priorities for leading their department forward. My entire administration will be committed to transparency, efficiency, and accountability. The Department of Transportation will be charged with implementing Vision Zero and making our streets safer for all Philadelphians.
3. Will you commit to hiring a third paving crew to reach a pace of paving 130 miles per year of local roads?
It’s crucial for road safety and quality of life that our streets are paved. I will make sure the recent increase in the city’s paving budget is used as efficiently as possible and that we’re dedicating adequate resources to successfully achieve the city’s annual paving goals, which may include hiring a third paving crew.
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?
We know that the neighborhoods that have been the greatest targets of government divestment and discrimination have been left behind in terms of quality of life issues and public safety. As Mayor, I will pour resources into the neighborhoods that government has historically failed to serve. That would include making resources available to help low-income property owners repair their sidewalks, potentially as part of the basic home repair program funded by the Housing Trust Fund that I’ve outlined in my housing plan available at rebeccaforphiladelphia.com/housing. As Mayor, I will be committed to making sure our streets and sidewalks are safe for pedestrians and all of our residents. My administration will provide resources to make improvements to sidewalks and road safety infrastructure, particularly in areas with high rates of incidents, injuries or fatalities due to automobile collisions.
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?
My administration will commit to the 2030 Vision Zero goal! It’s important that we take the needed action to reduce and ultimately eliminate pedestrian traffic deaths. As my administration drafts the city’s budget, I will increase the budget for Vision Zero based on the recommendations of the senior level official on my staff overseeing the Office of Transportation Infrastructure & Sustainability and the Office of Complete Streets within the new Department of Transportation to determine what level of funding is necessary for us to meet the Vision Zero goals while we balance all of our budget priorities appropriately and such that we have the political buy-in to pass the budget through City Council.
6. Will you support expanding automated speed enforcement to dangerous roads in addition to Roosevelt Blvd?
The automated speed enforcement pilot program on Roosevelt Boulevard authorized by the legislature in 2018 has been highly successful at reducing traffic related deaths in the corridor. I would support the continuation of this program and would advocate for Harrisburg to pass new legislation allowing the program to expand to other similar arterials as we pursue the goals laid out in Vision Zero.
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 am committed to equitably expanding Philadelphia’s network of protected bike lanes so that cyclists can safely access every neighborhood in our city. I believe the best way to develop policy and benchmarks on issues like this is by convening experts and stakeholders such as members of the Bicycle Coalition to hear their recommendations and decision makers like members of City Council to determine the best courses of action and build consensus around the scope of construction phases and how we can achieve this shared vision.
8. Will you commit to building 29 miles of Circuit trails by the end of your second term?
I support the expansion of Philadelphia’s Circuit trails such that we can achieve the goal of a seamless network that attracts more people to use cycling as their primary mode of transportation. The scope of projects like building new Circuit trails will require a formal convening process including stakeholders and decision makers led by the mayor and I will ensure the Bicycle Coalition has a seat at the table to advise the convened parties of where new Circuit trails need to be prioritized. Together, we can build consensus behind a comprehensive plan to expand and connect our city’s network of Circuit trails.
9.Will you support implementing signal prioritization, stop location improvements, and dedicated bus lanes on 10 corridors identified in the oTIS Transit Plan?
It is crucial that we make investments to improve the accessibility and efficiency of our public transportation. As my administration drafts the city’s budget, I will invest into the aforementioned approaches based recommendations of the senior level official on my staff overseeing the Office of Transportation Infrastructure & Sustainability and the Office of Complete Streets to determine what level of funding is necessary for us to implement signal prioritization, stop location improvements, and dedicated bus lanes on 10 corridors while we balance all of our budget priorities appropriately and in a way that we can pass the budget through City Council.
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?
Overall, I believe we need to reevaluate our tax structure to make sure that working people are not overburdened, new and small businesses have the ability to grow, and that residents can still receive the high-quality public services they deserve. I do not support a new tax, rather I would propose we take this more holistic approach to changing our tax system so that we are operating as efficiently and fairly as possible.
11. Will you support fully expanding Indego to 7000 docks and 3500 bikes to achieve bike share equity?
I fully support expanding Indego to ensure that there is equitable access to this service throughout Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, especially areas that have been targeted by government disinvestment or that lack easy access to trains or buses. In terms of the scope of expansion, I would direct the senior official overseeing the Office of Transportation Infrastructure & Sustainability and the Office of Complete Streets to implement the pace of expansion to meet the benchmarks within the 2023 Indego Equity Plan and work with City councilmembers to ensure we have their buy-in that will allow us to be successful in this endeavor.
I would be supportive of integrating Indego within the SEPTA key card so that users can seamlessly transfer from bike to bus to train.
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’m committed to reducing administrative and red tape that prevent community members from adapting the use of space near our streets to meet their needs.
13. Will you support the growth of a portfolio of over 50 parklets, pedestrian plazas, art enhanced intersections and reduce barriers for streeteries?
I support the growth of enhanced intersections to suit community needs. I will appoint a senior level official who will oversee the aforementioned portfolio and ensure each department is aligned with our infrastructure goals.
14. Will you create a dedicated budget line for bike lanes and traffic calming maintenance within the PHL DOT budget?
Yes! It’s important that we have the resources we need to maintain the infrastructure that keeps pedestrians and cyclists safe if we’re going to eliminate car-related fatalities.
15. Will you create a dedicated budget line for trail maintenance in the Parks and Recreation budget?
Yes! One of my key priorities as mayor is to make sure that our Parks and Recreation budget is fully funded, including maintenance for trails and all of our recreation facilities.