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For the 2018 Primary Election on June 26th, Bikemore put out a candidate questionnaire to all primary candidates, asking about their priorities and visions for transportation in Baltimore.
45th District Candidates Responding:
Marques Dent, Delegate
Linzy Jackson, Delegate
Sharon McCollough, Delegate
Cory McCray, Senate
Stephanie Smith, Delegate
Maryland’s urbanized areas have limited space on streets, and some modes of transportation must be prioritized over others to make the most of this limited space. Please rank the below modes of transportation in order of importance:
The State of Maryland should incentivize smart growth via infill development, transportation oriented development, and adaptive re-use. Greenfield development should receive no state subsidy, and greenfield developers should pay the full share of any road, septic, stormwater, or sewer upgrades necessary for development.
Historically, regional transportation planning in Maryland has been structurally racist.
The State of Maryland should conduct an equity gap analysis and disparity study of transportation investment over the past 75 years, comparing investment in private automobile travel and public transportation, biking, and walking, including analysis of where these investments were made based on race and income levels.
The Baltimore Metropolitan Council and Baltimore Regional Transportation Board should include racial equity as a main outcome in all regional planning initiatives.
Data shows that expanding roadways induces demand on that roadway, negating the benefits of the roadway expansion. The State of Maryland should stop expanding highways and rural/suburban roadways, and instead divert that money to proven methods of shifting mode away from private automobile use.
The Maryland Transit Administration should immediately conduct an updated regional transit needs assessment and capital needs inventory. The needs identified should be prioritized for full funding, even if it means delaying or canceling planned road expansion projects.
The Maryland Transit Administration should update the 2002 Regional Rail Plan with a new regional transit vision, and projects identified within should be prioritized for full funding, even if it means delaying or canceling planned road expansion projects.
The MARC Growth and Investment Plan, delivering weekend service on all MARC lines, expansion to Wilmington, DE, and high-frequency express service between Baltimore and Washington should be prioritized for full funding, even if it means delaying or canceling planned road expansion projects.
The Maryland Department of Transportation should adopt a progressive Complete Streets approach, mandating all urban and suburban roadways under their control prioritize safety for people walking and biking over throughput for automobiles. These roadways should be retrofitted with ADA accessible sidewalks and low-stress, all-ages bicycle infrastructure, even if that means reducing roadway throughput for private automobiles.
Many zoning codes in urban areas require one parking space per new dwelling unit. This is:
Some cities have removed minimum parking requirements from their zoning code entirely, allowing the market to determine how many spaces of parking are needed in a new building. Local urban jurisdictions in Maryland should remove minimum parking requirements.
Some cities have instituted maximum parking requirements in their zoning codes, capping the amount of parking that can be constructed in a new building. Local urban jurisdictions in Maryland should enact maximum parking requirements in certain zoning areas.
Some cities mandate that the cost of parking be separated from apartment rent. This incentivizes living car free, and lowers the total cost of housing. The State of Maryland should mandate unbundling parking costs from housing.
Some cities require employers that subsidize parking also offer an option for employees to receive that subsidy as a cash payment. The State of Maryland should mandate parking cash-out.
Urban jurisdictions in Maryland should allow taller, denser, or larger buildings in areas they are now prohibited by zoning if that increase results in more affordable housing units.
Urban jurisdictions in Maryland should allow large residences to be split into apartments, increasing density in neighborhoods that were traditionally single family homes.
Speeds are too high on urban streets. In urbanized areas, Maryland should enforce a maximum speed limit of 25 mph on arterial streets, and 20 mph on local streets.
Automated Speed Enforcement Cameras are proven to reduce fatal collisions. These cameras should be able to be used on any street, not just near schools and construction sites.
The Automated Speed Enforcement Camera threshold is too high. Cameras should be able to issue citations for those traveling 5 miles per hour or more over the speed limit.
Do you use a bicycle for transportation? If so, for what purposes and how often, and what was your last trip by bicycle?
Marques Dent: Recreation and exercise. 3/17/18
Linzy Jackson: Yes, Three times a week (Spring, Summer and Fall) for exercise from home to Lake Montebello.
Sharon McCollough: No, I use a bike for exercise and leisure riding
Cory McCray: Though I do not currently use a bicycle for transportation, when I came of age in Baltimore, a bicycle or bus were commonly used modes of transit by my peers and I. As such, I still feel that I have an experiential understanding of what it’s like to be dependent on non-auto transportation. My daughters are also beginning to ride their bikes around our neighborhood. Though it is not transportation in the sense of a work commute or errands, their safety still gives me a vested interest in seeing safe neighborhood streets without speeding automobile traffic.
Stephanie Smith: No.
Do you use public transportation? If so, for what purpose and how often, and what was your last trip by public transportation?
Marques Dent: No.
Linzy Jackson: No.
Sharon McCollough: Sometimes, for downtown events and visits to Washington, D.C.
Cory McCray: As a member of the Environment and Transportation Committee, I feel a responsibility to periodically use public transportation so that I have a frame of reference for my constituents who depend on it. My last trip on public transportation occurred when my car was in the shop. I try to use opportunities like that, when I am temporarily without auto-access, to run errands or attend meetings on public transportation instead of in a rental car. Though it is certainly not the same experience as someone who deals with public transportation frustrations every day, it helps me ask the right questions of those residents when I’m trying to understand how to better serve them. This was especially helpful in 2017, when I facilitated community input on the BaltimoreLink rollout, which I felt did not utilize rider feedback to the extent it should have.
Stephanie Smith: I've used public transportation to commute to and from work for the past 11 years.
Do you agree with the 2015 Baltimore Bicycle Master Plan and 2017 Separated Bike Lane Network Addendum recommendations, and if so, what budgetary or policy commitments would you make to help Baltimore close its 47 lane mile construction deficit and achieve the yearly 17 mile construction milestones?
Marques Dent: Yes. I would make the necessary budgetary recommendations within my power to help bridge the gap,
Linzy Jackson: Yes, I will advocate for the state to allocate more funding into grants as well as the city to tap into federal funding opportunities. i.e. Bikeways Program, Highway State Grant Programs etc.
Sharon McCollough: Yes, I have a colleague who rides his bike to work (in a school) everyday.
Cory McCray: I agree with the plan and its addendum, and feel that bicycle infrastructure gives both City Government and State Government a tremendous bang-for-its-buck on investment return. Unfortunately, rank-and-file House members are not well positioned to secure funding commitments from the Governor’s budget. As 1 of only 5 Baltimore senators though, I believe that I would be much better positioned to help define the City’s priorities both for the governor and for leadership in the legislature. I am also willing to serve as a visible and vocal advocate to the public for better investment in transportation infrastructure, and faster implementation of that infrastructure.
Stephanie Smith: I believe the 2015 Plan and 2017 Addendum lay out a strong vision for improving our city's biking network. Importantly, the 2017 Addendum prioritizes protected biking infrastructure. Improved facilities are central to increasing the confidence of potential cyclists. Focused on connecting low stress streets and facilities, this lays the foundation for connecting higher stress streets in the near future. The 2017 Addendum thoughtfully lays out a funding scheme that includes a mix of city, state and federal sources. I support advocating for an overall increase in Bikeways state grant funding to help support the implementation of both plans.
What are the biggest barriers to mode shift (getting people to choose walking, biking, or public transit instead of personal vehicles), and what should Maryland and Baltimore City do to address these impediments?
Marques Dent: Socialize the environmental and safety benefits of not using personal vehicles.
Linzy Jackson: I believe it comes down to people feeling safe walking, riding and convenience. The city is moving in the right direction with bike safely and that need to me promoted, we have people who really want to bike and a good awareness campaign can and could encourage more bikers and walkers.
Sharon McCollough: Crime which is a challenge across our city at this time. Revamp our juvenile justice system, initiatives to restore trust in our law enforcement, safety measures for our schools and wrap around services to meet the needs of our communities.
Cory McCray: There has to be a culture shift that moves a critical mass of Baltimore residents towards using alternative modes of transportation as a first choice. The biggest barrier to that culture shift is poor service. We can get more Baltimoreans riding buses, riding bikes, and walking if we invest in infrastructure that makes these modes more convenient, safe, and reliable. City and State government have to make more significant investments in that infrastructure to do so though. There is no other plausible path.
Stephanie Smith: As the 2017 Addendum notes, potential cyclists often have concerns about biking safety that impact their willingness to try cycling as part of their commute. Additionally, Baltimore's subway has a limited scope. In contrast with the DC region, Baltimore's public transit system is quite limited and receives anemic state investment.
Baltimore's potential for a deeply connected multi-modal transit system is quite high. Currently, Baltimore is already a city where roughly 1/3 of residents lack access to a car. Burgeoning job hubs are increasingly located just outside of the City of Baltimore notably in the Hunt Valley and BWI Business District. Limited, inconvenient or time consuming public transit places many of Baltimore's hardest hit communities at a competitive disadvantage when commuting to these corridors without a car.
Improving the safety and quality of biking and utilizing public transit is a story of investment. As the nation's major metro regions clamored to attract Amazon, the lack of investment in a comprehensive public transit system exposed one of Baltimore's primary weaknesses. Improved public transit and biking infrastructure must be seen as an essential building block for regional competitiveness and receive the local and state investments to match.
Describe your vision of a healthy, safe, equitable transportation system for Baltimore City and the roles walking, biking, and public transportation play in that vision.
Marques Dent: They are at the core of our transportation priorities. Less cars on the streets and more bikes.
Linzy Jackson: We know that 1/3 of our City Residents lack access to a car and reliable transportation. And honestly, I haven't sat and thought about what a healthy, safe, equitable transportation system looks like for Baltimore. I am eager to learn your organizations vision, and becoming a partner in Annapolis if elected.
Sharon McCollough: More jobs in and throughout communities, eliminate food deserts, promote and encourage nutrition, create environments that allow communities to have an environment that provides places to walk, bike and or use public transportation.
Cory McCray: Walking, biking, and public transportation can make our City safer and healthier not just in conventional terms like improving activity levels or being better for the environment, but because greater usage of public spaces makes it more difficult for crimes to occur there. I believe that the more vibrant our streetscape is, the safer it will be. Of course, that also means building infrastructure that makes pedestrians safer from harm by automobile traffic.
Equity is a huge issue for me when it comes to any type of infrastructure- it’s why I passed legislation that requires future investments in City school buildings to be graded on the basis of need. I believe the same should be true of transportation investments, and have spoken with Ryan Dorsey about that aspect of his Complete Streets bill. Programs like BikeShare or the Charm City Circulator are easier to sell when we’re providing them to all of our communities.
My vision for Baltimore’s transportation system is one that improves service to neighborhoods that are underserved by our current infrastructure, and that understands multi-modal systems are the way of the future. The writing is on the wall in every other thriving City across the country. We cannot continue to ignore that reality here.
Stephanie Smith: I support the Transportation Equity Principles laid forth by the PolicyLink Transportation Equity Caucus with minor modifications:
1) Provide affordable and reliable transportation options for all people.
2) Ensure fair access to quality jobs, workforce development, and contracting opportunities in the transportation industry.
3) Promote healthy, safe, and inclusive communities.
4) Use an equity lens for investments and focus on results.
How does transportation fit in your overall plan for a healthy and economically thriving Maryland? Explain your transportation philosophy.
Marques Dent: Transportation is fundamental how we as Marylanders provide for our families. we must have a safe and affordable opportunities to get to and from work.
Linzy Jackson: It's not secret that more people walk and ride when its a safe infrastructure in place. The more people that feel safe walking and riding in the city will move to the city and then the city will benefit economically. The more residents riding will then decrease traffic congestion and improve air quality for our families and children.
Sharon McCollough: I support public transportation, however, it needs to meet the needs of all people and communities. I believe that public transportation helps to improve our environment in a number of ways and therefore should be utilized in a fashion that is productive and efficient to and for everyone.
Cory McCray: I see transportation as a spur for better outcomes. Easy access to fast, affordable, reliable transportation means easy access to opportunity, whether it’s a job, a school, healthcare, groceries, or anything else a City resident might need. I believe public transportation is the best way to create that access for every City resident, no matter their income levels.
Stephanie Smith: Where one works, goes to school, secures health care, and experiences recreation and leisure is directly tied to mobility (transit/economic). Our state is small but a microcosm of the transit challenges that exist throughout the nation. An affordable, reliable and environmentally sustainable transportation system is primary to maintaining/improving Maryland's economic competitiveness. There is tremendous potential to better connect the DC and Baltimore regions and that will require parity in transit investments.
Not unlike every other facet of American life, transportation policy has been shaped by institutional inequity and racial bias. In Baltimore, there is a legacy of communities of color being adversely impacted by federal/state/local transportation policies. Employing an equity lens for the funding, conception and design of transportation projects is critical to moving Baltimore and Maryland forward.
This candidate survey is run by Bikemore In Action, Bikemore's 501c4 advocacy arm.