In an effort to educate voters, we will be posting responses to our candidate questionnaire. Questionnaires were emailed to each candidate running for City Council, President of City Council, and Mayor. Candidates have until March 4th to submit. We are publishing results in the order they are received.
How frequently do you use a mode of transportation other than your car to navigate the city? Based on your experience, where should the city prioritize resources for transportation?
BS: Given my job and the frequency in which I travel throughout the city and my district I don’t often use modes of transportation other than my car (and my feet). When the Governor killed the redline, he dealt a devastating blow to Baltimore. In the aftermath of this, it is important now more than ever for elected officials in the Baltimore region to come together to demand better public transportation. While there are some improvements to come from the Baltimore Link program, this does not establish a truly 21st century public transportation system for the Baltimore region. I will continue to advocate for a complete and thorough transportation plan for the region, and I believe that we should push for a regional transportation authority as seen in other cities. Until then, we must continue to fight in Annapolis for funds and demand that the new bus system not cut out access for those most in need of it and within the city we need to continue to support developments that enhance safety of pathways for bicyclists and pedestrians.
What role do you believe biking and walking improvements can play in creating a safer, healthier, more livable Baltimore?
BS: It’s important to improve the design and infrastructure of our streetscape to make walking and biking more accessible and safe to more of our residents. Effectively and completely implementing “Complete Streets” could help support this in our neighborhoods as well as build dedicated protected bike lanes to increase bike lane use and safety.
Often road redesigns that improve the safety for people on bikes or people walking do so in a way that removes priority for single occupant vehicles. This can look like removing lanes for travel or decreasing available street parking. Can you describe how you would manage public expectations during project implementation, and handle any backlash from constituents that don’t share in the City’s vision for complete streets?
BS: Effective and clear communication is crucial in managing public expectations and engaging residents about changes in their communities. I will continue to be a conduit of information for my residents and share information in multiple mediums. Additionally, it is important for an elected representative to be present and visible to hear resident feedback and respond.
Recent audits have discovered that the Department of Transportation struggles to measure key performance indicators. The city’s procurement and project management processes have also faced scrutiny. This has led to significant delays of key improvements to bicycle infrastructure in Baltimore. How will you work to improve performance and accountability of city agencies like the Department of Transportation under your leadership?
BS: Throughout my first term I’ve worked to provide transparency and accountability for residents. When we pass open data legislation it will be important to have agencies share data in order to help citizens better understand how services are conducted which should help improve services across the city. Furthermore, when projects become delayed, effective project management would conduct hearings to inform the public about what is happening and hold agencies accountable to work and deadlines.
The percentage of people choosing to take public transit or ride a bike for transportation is increasing in Baltimore, while the percentage of residents without access to a vehicle is over 30%. How would you rate the city’s current investment in sustainable transportation solutions for its residents, and as a council person what would you do to support increased investment?
BS: A high-functioning transportation system or lack thereof is one of the most crucial issues facing my constituents. Quality transportation is essential for economic growth and improving the standard of living for residents. While there are some improvements to come from the Baltimore Link program, this does not establish a truly 21st century transportation system for the Baltimore region. I will continue to advocate for a complete and thorough transportation plan for the region, and I believe that we should push for a regional transportation authority as seen in other cities. Until then, we must continue to fight in Annapolis for funds.
A recent study by Harvard economists found that the single strongest factor affecting the odds of a child escaping poverty is not the test scores of his or her local schools or the crime in the community; it is the percent of workers in his or her neighborhood who have long commutes. How do you plan to improve transportation options and commute times for our most vulnerable residents?
BS: We can improve transportation options and commute times for our residents by advocating for more efficient, accessible and dependable bus options. To encourage more cyclists we need to invest in protected bike lanes throughout the city for safer routes to work.
What other information about your candidacy would you like to share with our members?
BS: Additionally, in my first term we have completed trail improvements in Herring Run Park.