Gary Crum, Candidate for City Council- 12th 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?

GC: Personally other than driving, I walk to my destination. I believe that the city should prioritize transportation resources to areas in the city where there are no options for transportation, and heavily traveled routes. Many people who do have the option of driving vehicles utilize public transportation as a means to get to work. We need to continue to work to improve the reliability of our transportation options.

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

GC: I believe it will play a big part in communities engaging with one another, and a constant presence being on the street which can deter crimes from taking place. The benefits to our environment and overall health of our cities residents is also a benefit. The promotion of biking and walking will simultaneously encourage our residents to make better choices over all. Biking and walking will attract more residents who would like to use various types of transport as their means of transportation. Having these options being more viable choices in our city attracts individuals who work in places such as D.C. who want to have the feel of city life, but not the expenses of living in D.C. Attracting students who would like to attend our institutions of higher learning ,but can't afford or do not want the responsibility of having a car and want to be able to still move freely. I am a full supporter of promoting these options of transportation.

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?

GC: With any change being made, it will be important to satisfy the needs of all involved as much as possible. It is also known that with any decision there will be those that oppose. I think it is important when presenting these suggestions or making a change as important as decreasing the number of lanes that we look at all options. I will work to make the decision that best represents the residents in that area, but also make sure it the right decision not just for right now but years to come. I will always work to offer alternatives to those directly affected such as improving alternative routes to get to the same destination with little inconvenience.

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?

GC: As a resident and taxpayer before anything, I totally agree and support auditing all departments. Auditing and evaluating the inefficient ways that funds are spent will help to plan to improve and expand transportation options. Under my leadership I will push to prioritize the auditing process. I will hold a series of town halls in order to evaluate where the additional transportation options are most needed and wanted, and begin work in those areas. I will develop an accountability division in my office where their sole responsibility with be to follow up and make sure that issues,concerns, tasks, are being tracked and followed. This will benefit transportation efforts.

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?

GC: I think that the investments that Baltimore City has made in the area of transportation is poor. We can do so much more to provide our residents with various options. Be it bike share programs, trollies, better waterway transportation systems etc. As a city councilman I would look at ways that we can connect employers and companies to our transportation system.

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?

GC: It is important for our whole district, and the entire city to have access to reliable transportation methods. I plan to push for more up to date technology for real bus time anticipation for riders. One of the main issues with utilizing the bus is the wait time. Riders constantly have to combat long wait times, and an inefficient amount of buses in service. Improving these two methods will improve the use of this service by residents. I would also work with employers to offer incentives to their employees for utilizing the bus and other means of transportation. Programs that allow for employers to purchase bus passes for their employees at a discounted rate will allow individuals in low income areas to be able to afford to get the work, and will relieve the stress of day to day challenges of affording transportation. Promoting programs such as this that can benefit employer and employee and will small steps to improving opportunities in vulnerable communities.

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

GC: I would like to thank your members for giving me the opportunity to share my views. This has been a humbling and great learning experience. I am running for this seat for all those that have encountered some type of challenge in their life. To be able to be a living testimony of what hard work and determination can do for you is truly a blessing.