At this Thursday’s Better Mobility Forum, all Philadelphia mayoral candidates will go on record on where they stand regarding the ten proposals that were laid out in the Better Mobility 2015 platform; things like Vision Zero, protected bike lanes, enlivening city streets, improving walkability and increasing access to transit.
But before Thursday happens—the forum is at the Friends Center, 1501 Cherry Street, 6-8pm, by the way; all candidates have confirmed—you should know that with the help of the Bicycle Coalition and other groups around Philadelphia, mobility and bicycling have already become a huge issue this election season.
How huge? Well, it was a big topic of debate at the Next Great City forum earlier this month. Numerous candidates have been tested on their knowledge of bike/ped policies by the media and public at large, some have added it to their official websites, and all were quizzed on Vision Zero in a recent Newsworks story.
Here’s a rundown of where the candidates stand today.
After meeting with the Better Mobility Working Group earlier this year, candidate Doug Oliver told PlanPhilly he left with a better understanding of public safety.
“I met with the Bicycle Coalition, and it was an interesting conversation, because I think I was probably their worst enemy going in but I might be their best friend coming out. Because I had to acknowledge some of my own tendencies and thought processes about driving and about public safety,” he said. “One thing we talked about was how speed limits don’t necessarily drive the behavior that you want and so physical space actually can. So pinching intersections, physical space for bike lanes I think is a good idea, obviously balanced with communities that don’t necessarily want to see their road pinched even more.”
He later told Newsworks, “I support the Bicycle Coalition’s Vision Zero plan, which defines the necessary steps to eliminate traffic accidents involving pedestrians and bikers.”
During the Next Great City mayoral forum on March 3, candidate Lynne Abraham noted there has to be more done on bike lanes and trails in Philadelphia, according to a rundown the next day from local news outlet Billy Penn.
In the Newsworks Q&A specifically about Vision Zero, she notes such a policy will be a “priority” in her administration.
“I absolutely agree with Vision Zero’s mission statement that “no loss of life is acceptable.” I will make it a priority under my administration to implement a Vision Zero policy in Philadelphia,” she’s quoted as saying. “This will make our streets safer and more user-friendly for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists as well. The need for Vision Zero is even more urgent as we roll out the bike share program.”
Meanwhile, at that same forum, candidate Jim Kenney noted there should be an education effort in the city, showing drivers that it’s important they learn to share the streets with people on bicycles.
Kenney’s even got an entire “Environment and Transportation” section on his website—and a “Vision Zero” subsection.
And how about Judge Nelson Diaz? On the “Community Development” section of his website, he notes, “I’ll take advantage of the assets we already have by prioritizing investments that connect neighborhoods to our existing network of bike and pedestrian trails. Creating these connections will be especially important as part of the rollout and long term growth of the Philadelphia Bike Share Program, to ensure that transit alternatives are an option in every community, not just some of them.”
State Senator and mayoral candidate Anthony Hardy Williams does not mention Vision Zero on his official site, but did say he’d convene a Vision Zero task force as mayor “to improve policy coordination across city government, and develop a plan to reduce traffic-related fatalities and injuries by 50 percent by 2020,” when asked about the issue specifically by the media.
The latest candidate in the race, Republican Melissa Bailey, is meeting with the Better Mobility Working Group this week and has confirmed her spot at Thursday’s forum.
She told Newsworks she believes in an interconnected city with regard to pedestrians, people on bikes and people on mass transit. “An interconnected city is essential for the city to thrive, and we need to make it easy and safe for people to get around whether they have a car or not. Mass transit needs to be easy, affordable and, most importantly, predictable,” she said.
This is what you call momentum. Let’s keep it going. Click here for the forum RSVP page and here for the Facebook invitation to see who else is going.
Not all the way up on all these issues? Here’s the Better Mobility 2015 platform and here’s the Safer Streets report, which details all the research that went into creating the Working Group’s platform.