Elizabeth Ryan Martinez, 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?

ERM: I will ride my bike to work from my home at the north end of the City bike lane to downtown when the weather is nice. I have spent the last two winters training for the Boston Marathon, and I have run on City streets up to 20 miles. I can run from my house at the north end of the City bike lane all the way to Fort McHenry, and it is amazing to traverse the entire City north/south like that, but the entire route is not running friendly. I also like to take the Circulator, but it does not connect to my neighborhood. I have taken the Circulator to its northern end and then walked over two miles home to my home in North Baltimore. Based on my experiences in my car, on my bike, running, and on foot, the City should prioritize upgrading its transportation infrastructure (i.e. streets and sidewalks), improving and expanding bike lanes, and increasing the Circulator's routes.

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

ERM: Biking and walking improvements can play a big role in creating a safer, healthier, and more livable Baltimore. I am in favor of City-wide biking friendly travel lanes for commuting and to green destinations and for more street renovations and streetscapes like Charles Street at Johns Hopkins University.

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?

ERM: I would inform the public about a project and what to expect during project implementation. I will have an open, transparent, and responsive office.

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?

ERM: I will advocate for the city to immediately recharge CitiStat to facilitate oversight and accountability, information-sharing, and communication among city workers and policymakers to improve city agency performance.

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?

I think that the City should increase its investment in sustainable transportation solutions for its residents. I would advocate for increased Circulator routes and for the City to budget to include and expand the Circulator. I would also advocate for additional miles of biking friendly travel lanes in the 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?

ERM: I will advocate for increased free Circulator routes, so that people can get around the City, regardless of their ability to pay for transportation, and have the opportunity for success. I would also advocate for additional miles of biking friendly travel lanes in the city.

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

ERM: I think that it would be a great idea to take affirmative steps to connect parks in north, south, east, and west Baltimore, consistent with the Olmsted vision. The City would be healthier and greener, with more connected communities, if it had more green space and pedestrian and biking friendly travel lanes to green destinations.