I Bike, I Vote: Governor

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#IBikeIVote is designed to help you make the best decision at the ballot box. Voting local is the single most important thing you can do to make Baltimore a more livable city.

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. 
 

Gubernatorial Candidates Responding:
Jim Shea, Governor
Richard S. Madaleno, Jr., Governor
Krish O'Mara Vignarajah, Governor

 

MULTIPLE CHOICE

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:

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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.

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Historically, regional transportation planning in Maryland has been structurally racist.

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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.

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The Baltimore Metropolitan Council and Baltimore Regional Transportation Board should include racial equity as a main outcome in all regional planning initiatives.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Many zoning codes in urban areas require one parking space per new dwelling unit. This is:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Urban jurisdictions in Maryland should allow large residences to be split into apartments, increasing density in neighborhoods that were traditionally single family homes.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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SHORT ANSWER

Do you use a bicycle for transportation? If so, for what purposes and how often, and what was your last trip by bicycle?

Richard S. Madaleno, Jr.: Yes, I use a bicycle for transportation. While I typically do not use a bicycle for my commute to Annapolis, my family and I do use bicycles for recreation. My husband and my two children and I sometimes use bicycles on weekends, when we are at the beach or on family trips to see the areas we are visiting. My last trip by bicycle was last summer when my family and I were on vacation at the beach. Since that time, given the very full schedule of my campaign for Governor, I have not been able to bike with my family as often as we would like.

Jim Shea: I do not use a bicycle for transportation, although I have recreationally. My daily commute is too long to use a bicycle, but I fully support the cause of giving bicycle commuters the infrastructure they need.

Krish O'Mara Vignarajah: I used to ride to work more often, before my daughter was born, but more recently it's been for recreation. My husband and I rode about 10 miles this weekend on roads that had no separation and were not sufficiently safe.

Do you use public transportation? If so, for what purpose and how often, and what was your last trip by public transportation?

Richard S. Madaleno, Jr.: Yes. I use public transportation, especially Metro, to travel from my home in Montgomery County to meetings and sporting events and other activities in downtown DC and then to travel back home. My last trip by public transportation was on Saturday, March 24 to attend the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C.

Jim Shea: Yes, I do use public transportation. For years, I spent my time growing my law firm in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. I routinely use public transportation when I travel between the two cities and when I am traveling in Washington, D.C. One of the largest problems with Baltimore’s public transportation system is that it does not provide a quick and reliable service to Marylanders. That limits the viability of public transportation in the region, and fixing this problem will be one of my highest priorities.

Krish O'Mara Vignarajah: I grew up on public transit and still use it multiple times a week to get to meetings and events. My last trip on transit was earlier today on the Metro from Shady Grove to Bethesda for a meeting and two days ago I was on the Camden line from College Park to make a meeting downtown that I would have missed if I'd been stuck on 95 or 295.

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?

Richard S. Madaleno, Jr.: Yes. I support securing funding to implement the recommendations by using a combination of local general funding along with Maryland Department of Transportation Bikeways Grant Funding as well as federal funding from the Transportation Alternatives Programs Grant program.

Jim Shea: Yes, I agree with the master plan and the addendum recommendations. We need to promote complete streets in the city of Baltimore and across the state of Maryland. As Governor, I will work with the biking community, local jurisdictions, and my Transportation Secretary to devise a plan that prioritizes the greatest needs and develops specific timelines, metrics, and accountability standards to expand bike infrastructure, including bike lanes and racks. I will also be a leader on the state-level promoting collaboration and the expansion of infrastructure across the state.

Krish O'Mara Vignarajah: The State spends twice as much on roads as we do on transit and bike lanes combined. I commit to balancing this inequity by the end of my first term. This funding change, combined with directing MDOT and MPOs, to focus long-range planning (and federal funding, TIPs etc) on complete streets and transit, are both essential to ensure that there is sufficient coordination among levels of government and sufficient resources to ensure that projects and 17 mile/year milestones, like those laid out in the Addendum, are delivered on time, on budget, to specifications, and with maintenance plans.

As for the specifics, I think the 2017 addendum addressed many of the deficiencies of the 2015 master plan:
--Economic growth: greater focus on equity and connecting low-income areas to areas with greater job opportunities.
--Physical infrastructure: thoughtful approach given existing constraints that connects corridors and fills gaps
--Inclusion: helps ensure that cycling is a viable option for individuals of different ages, experiences, and ability levels).

At the same time, in reading the plan, there are still areas that desperately need projects that were not included and the City still appears to have no plan on how to actually achieve/fund the goal of 17 miles/year milestones. Nonetheless, what Baltimore has put together is still the most comprehensive approach in the state and I will make sure that the City has sufficient resources to implemented it--and I hope to replicate Baltimore's successes across Maryland.

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?

Richard S. Madaleno, Jr.: There are many barriers to mode shift, ranging from personal convenience to time constraints to policies and decisions made by public bodies. Some of the biggest barriers to mode shift which we are able to impact through laws and public policies are the location of housing, the location of jobs and the general layout and design of our roads and cities. In order to address these impediments, as Governor, I would direct the state of Maryland to implement the Complete Streets program and support Plan Maryland to better coordinate the location of our jobs and our housing. I will instruct the Maryland State Highway Administration to vigorously adopt and implement a Complete Streets policy to create roads that are safe for bicyclists and pedestrians. This legislative session I am co-sponsor of the bill to establish the Complete Streets Program in Maryland. I also sponsored the law that extends protection to bicyclists traveling within crosswalks on our roads.

I will utilize all available tools, including use of federal “flex” funding, as well as Plan Maryland to support smart growth, revitalize older communities and increase affordable housing options near job centers and transportation corridors. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s flexible funding programs provide funds for transit related activities based on local planning priorities. A Madaleno administration would seek and utilize available “flex” funds for transit and congestion mitigation improvements. I support Plan Maryland and its goal of sustainable growth and development. As Governor I will determine how best to implement Plan Maryland. Once implemented, it will be important to update it periodically and to review local communities’ success in implementing it.

We need to revitalize our older existing communities and increase affordable housing near job opportunities. These goals have been key priorities for me as demonstrated by my leadership as co-sponsor of the Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative Program which provides strategic investment in local housing in Baltimore and provides funding for loans and grants to develop neighborhoods with vacant properties. I championed the Rebuilding Baltimore City Communities Act which increases property tax credits for Baltimore residents. I sponsored a bill to increase community development projects which passed the Senate. These are the types of programs that we must continue to support and develop as we work to increase affordable housing options near our employment centers which in turn will result in greater utilization of public transit and walking and biking options for commuting.

Jim Shea: Currently, the largest barrier to mode-shifting is the fact that Maryland does not present a public transit, biking, or walking option that is more attractive than personal automobiles. At the end of the day, most Marylanders are going to choose the mode of transportation that is the easiest, quickest, and the most reliable. Thus, state and local governments, in conjunction with the federal government, must work to make public transit, walking, and biking more attractive options than driving a car.

In order to do that, state government must devise a statewide transportation plan – one that includes each mode of transportation. Last year, I released my transportation plan for the state of Maryland that is constructed to get Marylanders out of traffic and onto public transportation.

Krish O'Mara Vignarajah: I will work to aggressively increase mode shifts by focusing on four strategies: improving safety, increasing speed/efficiency of alternatives, enhancing ease of access, and reducing cost. Right now, we have a pricing structure and a culture, where the public transit option often takes longer and is nearly as expensive as riding a signal passenger vehicle. Every time, we try to cut corners, like replacing the desperately needed Redline with the woefully inferior BaltimoreLink, it's a disaster that frustrates folks just trying to get to work and reduces trust in government.

The only way to overcome this is to make transit service more reliable, more accessible, more frequent, and less expensive. The decision to use transit should not come at the expense of hours of meandering routes and multiple connections. We must make safe, complete streets the model statewide, including incentivizing the reallocation of road space for other modes of transportation. We need to connect the first and last miles with better integration with bikes, buses, ride sharing, or Uber/Lyft. We need to make it cheaper to get to and park at MARC and Metro stations, so folks choose to use transit options and avoid adding congestion to areas with overcapacity roads and/or insufficient parking. We must also look at other ways to incentivize transit use, as well as discourage single passenger vehicle use in congested areas, even if it means tough political calls like traffic calming measures, closed roads, fewer lanes, lower speeds, as have been demonstrated to work across the country and around the world. Also, as we're trying to fix the sins of the past, we must do everything we can to ensure that new development is smarter with more quality transportation alternatives.

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.

Richard S. Madaleno, Jr.: I believe we need to promptly put in place common sense safety proposals designed to ensure the safety of all who use public streets, roads and highways. The Baltimore Region needs a new strategic transportation plan that is based on the Opportunity Collaboratives efforts done through the Baltimore Metropolitan Council and HUD. This multi-year effort identifies serious gaps in access to jobs that can provide opportunity for wage growth and a way out of poverty. This plan needs political buy-in from elected officials, business community and citizens. Connecting the region to jobs and opportunities includes better connections and public transportation between Baltimore and Annapolis and Annapolis and DC. The MARC train system needs to run further north and more frequently. Commuter trains can and should be a much more significant option. This approach -- along with the initiatives described in response to other questions in this survey, such as building regional transportation authorities and implementing the Complete Streets program and Plan Maryland -- will help build a healthy, safe and equitable transportation system for Baltimore City.

Jim Shea: Baltimore needs a healthy, safe, and equitable transportation system. The Red Line would have provided a transportation lifeline to those in East and West Baltimore, but it also would have provided the city with a spine upon which other lines or spurs could be built. As Chair of the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, some of the metrics we focused on when analyzing transportation outcomes were commute times and access to jobs. Transportation policy, when done correctly, can connect communities to job centers and create a more equitable society. However, when transportation policy is done poorly, it can isolate communities and further entrench inequality. Walking, biking, and public transportation, as I’ve outlined in my transportation plan, are crucial facets in implementing the vision of a healthy, safe, equitable transportation system.

Krish O'Mara Vignarajah: We cannot have a strong Baltimore economy when 30%+ of residents don't have access to a car or basic transportation alternatives to get to work or school. Bikemore has done incredible work raising the consciousness of the need for complete streets and rethinking our infrastructure, but we have to actually make the investments to make the vision a reality--and that's exactly what my administration will do. Expanding walking, biking, and public transportation are all critical components of building a much more vibrant and inclusive economy, improving public safety and public health outcomes, and reducing carbon emissions by 50% by the end of my second term (transportation is now the largest sector of carbon emissions in Maryland).

This is a deeply personal issue. My family fled a civil war and moved to Maryland when I was 9 months old. My parents had no jobs, $200 in their pockets, and two young children in their arms. My father got a job as a Baltimore City School Teacher (he recently retired from Western at the age of 80). We couldn't afford a car, so he would walk half a mile every day to catch the bus on Route 40 to get to work at Edmonson High. If it wasn't for that bus service, we could have been a family on welfare. I share this story because ensuring equitable transportation options is a priority for me rooted in my personal experience, which is why on my first day in office I will sign an Executive Order restarting the Red Line. This project isn't just another transportation project (as Governor Hogan treated it as he redistributed the money to places that voted for him). It's a gateway to opportunity, as are complete streets and other infrastructure projects that expand transportation opportunities for all.

How does transportation fit in your overall plan for a healthy and economically thriving Maryland? Explain your transportation philosophy.

Richard S. Madaleno, Jr.: As Governor I would build a strong public transportation network which is essential for the economy of our future. I support the Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT) bus rapid transit project in Montgomery County which would support jobs and ease traffic congestion. In addition, the MARC commuter system must be improved with more frequent service and expansion. I have long supported the Red Line rail transit project to improve transit in Baltimore and the state’s application to receive federal New Starts funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation for that project. Unfortunately, Governor Hogan’s abrupt cancellation of the Red Line and his withdrawal of the application for federal funding for it means that the Red Line is no longer in line to receive critical federal funds to build it. As governor I would direct my Department of Transportation to seek to revive the Red Line and determine the most feasible and expeditious means of securing federal and state funding.

I have a strong record of building and ensuring funding for an effective and comprehensive transportation system for Maryland, and of supporting our severely underfunded Metro system. I have been an aggressive supporter and promoter of affordable public transit in Maryland. I co-sponsored a bill to increase funding for our bus systems. I sponsored a bill to assist moving forward with the CCT bus rapid transit project. I introduced and passed the law eliminating the antiquated “farebox recovery rule” and replacing it with real performance metrics so that the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) will fund additional transit projects that should result in transit improvements in Maryland. Most recently, I co-sponsored the Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act that now requires transparent decision-making, including project-based scoring, for major transportation projects. This law should result in best uses of our transportation dollars and funding of projects that will provide maximum transportation results and benefits to the state. As governor I would fully implement the law and build a robust and reliable transportation system to serve the state.

I strongly believe that regional transportation authorities are essential for the future of transportation in Maryland. Regional transportation authorities can make decisions as to how best to plan for, fund, operate and maintain our transportation system. By moving from complete state control we could ensure that each region is able to achieve its transportation goals and meet the transportation needs of its people. It will be critical to structure these regional authorities so that they retain a substantial portion of the revenues raised in each region. This would also allow for the regional authority to assume funding responsibility for part of the city’s road network.

Jim Shea: As Governor, transportation will be one of my highest priorities. Updated and efficient transportation infrastructure can connect people to jobs, improve the quality of life, help grow businesses, and attract commerce. As I explained in my transportation plan, infrastructure, along with public education, are the backbone of a flourishing economy.

I believe that the goal of our transportation policy should be to reduce congestion, limit commute times, connect people to other areas of the state, and protect the environment. Widening roads will not fix the problem in the long run. In fact, road widening will only lead to more cars on the road. Instead, we must work to make alternative transportation modes more attractive than driving. To do that, we must invest in additional rail and bus lines, expand the MARC, properly maintain our current infrastructure, particularly the Baltimore Metro, and adhere to a state-wide transportation plan that reduces congestion and connects people to their jobs and schools.

Krish O'Mara Vignarajah: I envision a state where every Marylander regardless of income or zip code has true access to multiple safe and healthy transportation options. The segregation of housing and jobs--combined with the lack of transportation options to cross that chasm--prevents hundreds of thousands of Marylanders from fulfilling their economic potential. It's a root cause of poverty, crime, and the lack of opportunity and upward mobility. Transportation options and infrastructure are inherently a public good that only government can deliver--and one our state has failed at miserably for decades with a mindset and budget priorities that reflect the 1950s more than 2020.

Under my administration, equitable transportation solutions will be at the heart of my economic development, public safety, environmental, and public health agendas. I want Maryland to lead the nation in innovative multi-modal transportation solutions, not continue with the stigma of one of the most congested states in the nation. By the end of my first term, I want to ensure that walking, biking, and transit are greater budgetary and policy priorities than passenger vehicles and that every Marylander can get to work or to school in an safe and efficient manner.


This candidate survey is run by Bikemore In Action, Bikemore's 501c4 advocacy arm.