Oliver's a big fan of voting because of the ink involved

Oliver’s a big fan of voting because of the ink involved

Every time you go for a bike ride, you are voting for biking as one of your valued forms of transportation. This voting with your feet (so to speak) is important, but so is ballot-y voting. This next Tuesday, May 20, is primary day in Pennsylvania. Please make time to cast a vote.

Our elected officials play critical roles in funding safe streets and better bicycling, and it’s important that those who bike also vote. To help motivate you, we will be profiling each candidate over the next few days.

We joined with Bike Pittsburgh and PA Walks and Bikes in asking the Democratic candidates for governor to fill out a candidate questionnaire. We will be sharing each candidate’s response here on our blog beginning Thursday.

What We Asked and Why It Matters

Pennsylvania could be doing more to protect bicyclists and pedestrians. Unlike our peers in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, New York, or almost any other state come to think of it, PennDOT does not have a bicycle and pedestrian office. Meanwhile, 12% of all traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania are bicyclists and pedestrians. While overall traffic fatalities are decreasing, bicycle and pedestrian deaths are not.

We chose six questions that speak to policies that can make biking and walking safer and more convenient in Pennsylvania. Here are the questions we asked:

  1. What value do you see in encouraging biking and walking in Pennsylvania?
  2. Will you set a goal to reduce pedestrian and bicycle fatalities by half by 2025?
  3. PennDOT needs to establish a bicycle and pedestrian office that is adequately staffed to:
    • update PennDOT design manuals and train PennDOT engineers in current bicycle and pedestrian best practices;
    • update and monitor the statewide bicycle and pedestrian master plans;
    • assist MPOs, counties and municipalities in drafting bicycle and pedestrian master plans;
    • develop a data-driven cost estimate of building out all proposed bicycle and pedestrian facilities, trails and bicycle routes statewide that can be included in the Long Range Transportation Plan.
    • Will you establish such an office?
  4. Will you ask PennDOT and DCNR to set 10-year goals for the number of miles of bike lanes and trails to be built across Pennsylvania?
  5. Will you support spending a percentage of federal Transportation Alternatives Program funds and Pennsylvania’s Multi-Modal Fund on Safe Routes to School projects?
  6. Will you support speed camera enforcement for roads where excessive speeding is a particular safety hazard?

We sent this questionnaire to Tom Wolf, Allyson Schwartz, Rob McCord, and Kathleen McGinty. Because the Republican contest is uncontested, we did not ask Governor Corbett to fill out the questionnaire for the primary election (but we will for the general election).

We will be posting the responses we receive here on our blog beginning Thursday.

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