Rodney Leach, Candidate for City Council-8th 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?

RL: My family utilizes public transportation weekly on our trips to Baltimore family friend spaces. I will support the city conducting a National recognized survey of its citizens to prioritize resources for transportation.

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

RL: Biking and walking improvements must be a priority in creating a safer, healthier, more livable Baltimore. There is research to support that such improvement contribute to an eco-friendly environment.

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?

RL: The process of re-design with regards to complete streets, must be a collaborative process that creates a WIN-WIN for all citizens. I am committed to supporting pro-active channels to discuss complete street initiatives, there-by reducing backlash via a transparent process.

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?

RL: Government accountability is important and should be a priority. A culture exists where agencies are permitted to develop performance metrics without express consideration for other city agencies. I will work to introduce professional culture shaping initiatives like Senn-Delaney, to drive partnership, integrity, and accountability amongst agencies. This will establish the foundation to begin creating performance and accountability metrics defined by what's good for the entire City of Baltimore and not just what's good for an individual agency.

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?

RL: The city has improved efforts to introduce transportation solutions however; there are still areas of improvement and areas for long-term sustainability. I will support initiatives that target residents without access to a vehicle and encourage the increased use of public transportation and bicycle use.

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?

RL: Longer commute times can have a systemic impact on the community. There are a few quick fixes like efficient street-light synchronization and traffic studies. Improvement can be sustained by introducing innovation in the areas of work-from-home incentives, car pool incentives, and expanding industries that will bring jobs to the community.

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

RL: To be successful, Baltimore’s 8th district must effectively partner with local, state, and federal public servants. We must combine material development with the Development of People. The public policy and planning practices must reflect this understanding of community across Baltimore City.