Sharif J. Small, 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?

SJS: Yes, I use public transpiration by to attend sporting events or festivals downtown. Also, I do ride my bike in the neighborhood for exercising, speak to neighborhoods, and to better know the city. The resource should be used to extend subway and light rail routes so more of our residents will have access to using public transportation.

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

SJS: Our goal will be to encouraging short distance non-motorized trips, increasing awareness of active transportation as a viable alternative, promoting a healthy lifestyle, enhancing the economic vitality of the region, enhancing active transportation options in the region, improving air quality and implementing and sustaining active transportation options.

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?

SJS: Notifications at association meetings, social media , local news stations, and a few town hall meetings with updates for residents and business owners.

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?

SJS: Promotes better City services through data-driven management decision-making and accountability for delivering results to citizens. Use the strategic framework in the City’s Budgeting for Outcomes process, where funding is allocated to programs and services that contribute to the accomplishment of the City's goals. Alao, key initiatives are further tracked in monthly STAT, or data-driven performance review, meetings. In addition, in order to improve results, review performance data to understand what’s working, what’s not, and to identify solutions for improvement, which may include making changes to strategies, programs, or the allocation of funds.

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?

SJS: Expand light rail, subway access and extend operating time for more use which will reduce less cars on the road, traffic and accidents.

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?

SJS: Connect our public transit to DC’s in more meaningful ways. Here especially I’d love MARC riders and others who regularly commute to DC to chime in. My impression is that most problems stem from MARC having to rent tracks from Amtrak. The result: MARC can’t meet demand for the number of trains they should supply, doesn’t offer weekend trains, and has to cede tracks to Amtrak trains during (increasingly common) extreme weather or other track anomalies. It’s simply unacceptable in 2013 that two metro areas so close together don’t have cheap, regular, 7-day-a-week public-transportation connections.

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

SJS: Committed to rebuild our city residents population, safety and living conditions for a better quality of life.