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?
PG: Occasionally. Usually when going downtown with my family for a ballgame or other family activity. We'll take the light rail from the Falls Road park and ride. Given all of our challenges, our city needs a first class transportation system. I recognize this and believe the city should make it a high priority to ensure we have a better one both short term and long term. That's what I will do as the next Mayor.
What role do you believe biking and walking improvements can play in creating a safer, healthier, more livable Baltimore?
PG: A huge one. The more cyclists and pedestrians on the roads, the safer it becomes for all of them. It's also better for the environment, the economy (small businesses in particular), and the overall health and wellness of our residents. It also makes us a more attractive city to live in, especially for families.
Are you supportive of the city’s plan to implement bike share in 2016? If so, what do you believe to be the critical components of success?
PG: Absolutely. The critical components to me are that the program be managed effectively, with specific standards in place to measure success. Things like usage rates, customer satisfaction scores, etc. I also believe it's critical that it be affordable and accessible to as many residents as possible, both with the number of bikes and the number of locations.
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?
PG: My first act will be to commission full, independent financial and performance audits of every city agency because it is critical we assess where we really are. Then I will work with DOT employees at every level to build the action plan to address the issues highlighted by the audits. This is another critical piece. You have to get buy-in from the people you're asking to execute the plan so it becomes their plan. That's what previous mayors and other candidates fail to realize and why their plans never achieve the desired results. I will ensure the plan contains transparency and accountability at every level so everyone will know what is expected of them going forward.
What impact do you see increasing rates of biking and walking in Baltimore having on the public health and safety of our residents? In what ways will your administration invest in the creation of safe places to encourage more people to engage in physical activity?
PG: Studies have shown that the more bikes and pedestrians on the road, the safer it becomes for them because it increases driver awareness. My administration will work diligently to utilize the latest technology and safety measures so that people are encouraged to bike and walk more. That means apps that keep green lights green if a rider approaches, separated bike lanes or lanes on the right side of parked cars, etc. I will also look to add more safe, well-lit green spaces for people to use when walking and biking.
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?
PG: By building a good working relationship with the Governor and the MTA to ensure the needs of Baltimore City residents are being met by the current transportation system. This means advocating for performance measurement standards to be put in place such as ridership, on-time performance, rider satisfaction scores, percentage of overall fleet in circulation, average trips per resident, average time per route, and incident reports, among others, and that MTA employees are held accountable to those results.
Often road redesigns that improve the safety for people on bikes or people walking do so in a way that removes priority for single occupancy 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?
PG: I would manage public expectations by personally working all stakeholders to ensure everyone is being heard, by communicating regularly about what we are doing, and by making the tough decisions that need to be made.
What other information about your candidacy would you like to share with our members?
PG: In order to turn ideas into results we need a Mayor who is going to focus on the execution of those ideas. That means better overall management of our people, processes, and money. That's the piece that has been missing and the reason why so many good ideas have failed. As Mayor I will ensure that our people are trained, equipped and managed properly, our processes are streamlined, and our money is going where it needs to go. And in doing so, we will start to see the results we want.