City Council plays a pivotal role in ensuring the safety of its citizens while using Philadelphia’s streets. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia prepared a questionnaire for all 2015 at-large and District Council candidates. These responses serve as campaign commitments to Better Mobility in 2015. Kenyatta Johnson’s responses are in italics.
- Adopt and Implement a Vision Zero Policy. Many cities including New York, San Francisco and Seattle have adopted “Vision Zero” goals and policies to reduce the number of crashes that kill and injure people. Will you support the adoption of a Vision Zero goal to reduce traffic deaths and injuries? Will you support the appointment of a Vision Zero task force of city and community leaders to examine the 30 most dangerous intersections to develop and implement safety improvements in order to reach the Vision Zero goal?
2. Streets State of Repair. The budget for improving our streets has fallen behind. This year the Streets Department has plans to replace 60 miles of roadway. To maintain a state of good repair the Streets Department needs to rebuild or resurface approximately 130 miles of roadway each year, and this does not account for the 900-mile backlog, which is approximately 35% of the city’s roadways. Will you vote in favor of doubling the paving budget in the capital budget to reduce the 900-mile paving backlog?
I support doubling the paving budget, and will advocate for this during the budget season, but my number one funding priority is education and I will make tough decisions to make sure that our schools are fully funded.
3. Protected Bike Lanes: The city has over 230 miles of bike lanes but does not have a single mile of a physically protected bike lane, which is now the best practice among bicycle-friendly cities. Protected bike lanes provide physical separation, which can be accomplished by simply moving parking lanes over to provide a physical barrier. Would you support the installation of 30 miles of physically-protected bike lanes over the next five years and 15 miles of standards bike lanes annually?
Yes, I am currently working with community stakeholders, including bicycle advocates, as well as the Planning Commission and other city agencies to plan for buffered bike lanes on Washington Avenue and on 25th Street beneath the rail viaduct.
4. In 2012, two important pieces of policy and legislation were adopted and passed. The City’s Planning Commission adopted the Pedestrian/Bicycle Master Plan, which identifies the streets and locations that need improvements for new bike lanes and sidewalks. Under Councilman Squilla’s leadership, Council voted unanimously to pass a Complete Streets bill to improve the safety of all streets for all users. Do you support the Streets Department installing bike lanes called for in the Pedestrian/Bicycle Plan when streets are repaved?
5. Expand Bike Share: Philadelphia is inaugurating bike share in 2015. The Bicycle Coalition has partnered with Bike Share to provide community outreach. We believe making bike share as accessible to all neighborhoods in Philadelphia where there is demand and opportunity is important. Do you support the expansion of Bike Share to all Philadelphia neighborhoods after 2016?
Yes, I have already started advocating for additional Bike Share locations in the the 2nd District, including a location at the revitalized Ralph Brooks Park at 20th and Tasker Streets. I am joining community members for the launch of the Bike Share Program next week to ride to the location on Point Breeze Ave. These stations have already created excitement in our neighborhoods and I look forward to welcoming more locations.
6. Securing Sidewalk Safety: Philadelphia is going through a construction boom and while this is a good thing for the city, too often contractors close sidewalks making passage dangerous for pedestrians. Do you support stronger policies and regulations to ensure that contractors maintain a safe passage during construction?
Yes, there has been a huge increase in development in the 2nd District over the past several years, and I have worked hard to ensure that pedestrians can safely walk in these areas. I support stronger policies in this area.
7. Create an Active Transportation Office. Philadelphia cannot be a leading city for bicycling, walking and traffic safety without a dedicated office and staff. Will you support the creation of an office that is tasked with implementing the 2012 Pedestrian/Bicycle Plan and other measures to make Philadelphia’s streets and sidewalks safer?
8. Safe Routes to School. Philadelphia has 162 elementary schools with roughly 100,000 students. The City of Philadelphia has a very small Safe Routes to School program that provides biking and walking curriculum to students and conducts walkability audits to identify how routes can be made safer to encourage more biking and walking to school. Do you support the Health Department having a robust Safe Routes to School program to reach as many students and schools as possible?