Betsy Gardner, Candidate for City Council-5th District

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? 

BG: The only form of transportation I currently use is my automobile due to my physical limitations.  Under previous administrations the City was favorable to people being more activate and biking.  I believe the City/County need to do a regional traffic study to determine the needs of the City and where to prioritize resources.

What role do you believe biking and walking improvements can play in creating a safer, healthier, more livable Baltimore? 

BG: It's imperative that by making improvements for biking and walking that Baltimore will become a healthier more sustainable City. One way to make Baltimore a safer City is by encouraging the BPD to increase their Bike patrol in which would get them out of their patrol cars and where they would be able to interact with the citizens more directly.  

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? 

BG: The only way to manage these expectations is when all interested parties are at the table discussing such proposed projects.  There must be a comprehensive plan that is well thought out, researched, and vetted before being implemented.  When Baltimore City streets and neighborhoods were initially designed, they weren't designed for the type, or number of vehicles much less bicycles that travel them on a daily basis. 

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? 

BG: We must insure that there is transparency, accountability and audits not only for DOT, but for all the agencies across the board if we are to move Baltimore forward and regain the citizens trust and respect.  For the past 14 years, I have worked tireless to hold agencies accountable to the citizens that that are paid to serve.

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? 

BG: Unfortunately with cuts to transportation funds from the Federal, and State levels Baltimore has not been able to invest in many sustainable transportation projects as would be beneficial to the City.  Thru recent studies on global warming it has shown that by decreasing the carbon foot print we will have a more sustainable environment.  I will do everything possible on the City's level to decrease these emissions to help insure the health for generations to come. 

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? 

BG: I would work with the  business and proposed business for my District to ensure there is a community benefit agreement that would ensure employment opportunities for the residents so they would not have to travel long distances to reach their work.  Therefore, they would be working closer to home and spending their dollars locally ensuring more business have an opportunity to thrive,

What other information about your candidacy would you like to share with our members? 

BG: I have worked for the past 3 administrations as a neighborhood liaisons fighting tireless for the good of the citizens of Baltimore on many issues such as high water bills, pot holes, and water main breaks,  As the representative of City Council 5th District I will hit the ground running and will fight tirelessly for a healthy community, a safer community, and a community that has educational opportunities for our children to thrive and grow.