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?
GS: Currently I walk, drive, or ride the light rail as my primary transportation to destinations in the city. My favorite way to travel is biking. The city lacks the infrastructure to make biking safe therefore I only bike recreationally; late at night when there is less traffic or in areas outside of the city.
The city should encourage the use of electric and human powered transportation. Parking needs to be addressed. The current design of curbside parking spaces is crowding our streets. That space could be better used for transportation.
What role do you believe biking and walking improvements can play in creating a safer, healthier, more livable Baltimore?
GS: Biking and walking can play a role in creating a safer, healthier, more livable Baltimore. Providing better services such as safe bike lanes or additional areas to walk will encourage more citizens to walk and bike. Having more foot traffic through our local neighborhoods will stimulate small businesses and economic growth.
Having a large population of walkers and bikers in our city also promotes a healthier population and environment. Staying active on a daily basis is extremely important especially in a time when rates of inactive lifestyle and chronic diseases like diabetes are on the rise.
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?
GS: The dilemma of finding a parking spot is time consuming. Finding the solution for this issue will generate support from the community.
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?
GS: I will stay honest, fair, and hold others accountable.
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?
GS: The application of Baltimore City's current transportation investment is insufficient. To increase investment I would solicit the bike industry to invest in our city.
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?
GS: Bringing businesses into the community is the most effective way to reduce commute times. The vacant areas of Baltimore City need to be revitalized to create destinations desirable for travel, work, and leisure.
What other information about your candidacy would you like to share with our members?
GS: Many other countries have incorporated biking as a staple of their transportation. It is affordable, practical, and healthy. I would like to see more biking in Baltimore City.