This blog is part of our year-end “Why We’re Thankful” series, highlighting the Bicycle Coalition’s—and your—accomplishments of 2014.
So. There was this big gubernatorial election in Pennsylvania this year. After a long primary season, businessman Tom Wolf emerged as the Democratic challenger to Republican Tom Corbett. The election focused largely around education and budgetary problems. On Nov. 4, Wolf beat Corbett by a substantial margin, and will be inaugurated as Pennsylvania’s next governor in January 2015.
In 2014, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, in collaboration with Bike Pittsburgh and PA Walks and Bikes, put out a survey of bicycle-related questions to all the candidates in the running. Many—including Wolf—got back to us. Governor Tom Corbett did not.
But here’s what Wolf, the next governor of Pennsylvania, had to say about bike issues.
What value do you see is in encouraging biking and walking in Pennsylvania?
As I have toured the state on this campaign, I have been encouraged to see Pennsylvanians all over biking and walking in their communities and on the state’s expanding trail network. The benefits of promoting non-motorized modes of transportation cannot be overstated. They include the obvious, improved health and environmental sustainability, reducing carbon emissions and dependence on fossil fuels, but also more diffuse benefits including helping Pennsylvanians get outside and enjoy the state’s natural beauty and recreation opportunities. Pennsylvania’s outdoor recreation is also a strong economic driver, supporting jobs and tax revenue across the state. For all these reasons, I’m a strong supporter of encouraging biking and walking in Pennsylvania.
Will you set a goal to reduce pedestrian and bicycle fatalities by half by 2025?
As governor, I’ll encourage smart land use planning that encourages safe, multi-modal transportation options. I will also work with local leaders and citizen groups to address safety concerns.
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?
As governor, I will establish a Smart Growth and State Planning Office to coordinate the efforts of various agencies involved in community development, revitalization, and regional planning, and to promote policies for reducing sprawl and creating walkable, bikeable communities.
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?
For all the reasons noted above, I support efforts to expand our state’s bike lane and trail network. Doing so requires planning, long term vision and stable funding. As governor, I’ll support a comprehensive update of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan to encourage long term planning of the state’s trail network, and work to provide the appropriate project funding.
Will you support spending a percentage of federal Transportation Alternatives Program funds and Pennsylvania’s Multi-Modal Fund on Safe Routes to School projects?
I believe we need to ensure that students have safe commutes to school. As governor, I will work with local leaders to identify priority projects for Safe Routes to School projects.
Will you support speed camera enforcement for roads where excessive speeding is a particular safety hazard?
As governor, I will work with local leaders and community groups to explore different options for addressing speeding and ensuring that intersections are safe for pedestrians.
Like what your next governor has to say about bicycle and walking issues? Then make your voice heard and become a member of the Bicycle Coalition.