Philadelphia has an election next week and issues of traffic safety, paving, protected bike lanes and general street usage are at the forefront of numerous campaigns. At a recent mayoral debate co-sponsored by Bicycle Coalition partner AARP PA, the candidates were asked about traffic safety and what they plan to do to make Philadelphia safer and increase mobility.
In case you missed it, here is a transcript of the mayoral candidates’ answers about transportation and safety.
State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams:
“We’re going to work with 5th Square. Another organization similarly constructed [as AARP PA] across Philadelphia who have plans about mobility. We do need guidance and regulation about bike lanes and how we operate in the city of Philadelphia. I look forward to supporting policies that continue to grow the mobility of Philadelphia logically.
Ideas, not only bike lanes but ideas to support poor folks to move around the City of Philadelphia. Transfers. Why are we paying extra money for that in the City of Philadelphia when we know it requires a young person to pay something and potentially not get to school?”
Former City Controller Alan Butkovitz:
“One of the first issues I worked on was Roosevelt Boulevard. My wife Theresa pointed out to me that there is no place to cross at the light on Roosevelt Boulevard and that is the largest areas where pedestrians are getting killed all the time. I’ve had arguments with PennDOT about it. I was editorially attacked in 2006 because it was seen as beyond my purview.
I take this very, very seriously and I think we need alternatives such as fencing in that venue, such as special short-term bus routes – we had people crossing at a church, I think at Ransom Church, 80 year old people having to dash across 6 lanes of traffic to an island, and then to another six lanes and people in the state and city transportation departments told me that was an acceptable price, that we were going to lose about 50 people a year, because it was too expensive to do the engineering changes.
I’ve got a passion on this issue and we’ll bring the same passion to Roosevelt Boulevard and to all traffic safety around the city.”
Mayor Jim Kenney:
“We are working with the Bicycle Coalition and our Streets Department folks in order to keep streets clear as possible, sidewalks clear as possible. We’ve invested about $200 million in repaving our streets.
The last administration was down to about 25 miles a year. The industry standard for smooth streets is 131 miles. WE’re at about 98 and we’re catching up from where we were from before.
We work with the Bicycle Coalition on bike lanes, protected bike lanes, we move the car from the curb to between the [moving] cars and the curb as a natural protection.
We’ve had some issues with city council; there are places they don’t want these bike lanes so they hold up the legislation sometimes before we can get it done. But we’re working with them everyday.”