Sharon Green Middleton, Candidate for City Council-6th 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?

SGM: Not very frequently, due to the nature of my job, I navigate through many different locations of the City, many different times of the day. The City should prioritize resources for transportation, through routes where the Charm City Circulator travels to neighborhoods/schools, bike sharing spots, traditional and point to point car sharing, spots, and bus light rail hubs.

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

SGM: Biking and walking improvements play an important role. The "Complete Streets" initiative started in District 6 and became a Citywide event. Baltimore has wonderful parks, like the Jones Falls Trails, Patterson Park, and Leakin / Gwynns Fall,etc. These kinds of exposures can support cyclists, pedestrians, neighborhoods, and green space efforts throughout the City.

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?

SGM: That is taking place in an area of District 6 now. The planning and partnership began with community associations, and city agency meetings, emails, newsletters and master plan implementation. The key is making sure the lines of communication is consistent and transparent throughout the entire 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?

SGM: The entire procurement process must be re-evaluated. Discussions, meetings with the Mayor and administration, and/or informational hearings through City Council is a start to address the problem. Communication on issues are key.

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?

SGM: Many areas in District 6 either use Bus or Car as main mode of transportation. It also has several large public/private school locations that service the entire City. The MTA bus system needs much improvements to the quality of services. I would advocate and work for funding to transit, bicycling, and walking projects, education & awareness programs, and expand pilot safe routes to school program with access to more bike racks. Increase bike racks in City owned garages and parks, etc.

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?

SGM: Yes. The 5th and 6th Districts has already partnered with the MTA and held their 1st Bus Forum to address concerns. A follow-up meeting is planned. I support mixed-use neighborhoods to increase access to goods and services. Also promote pedestrian and transit oriented neighborhoods. Improved public education and outreach of services, cleaner, handicap accessibility, safer buses with possible security officer and better lighting on buses and hubs. Most of all, helping to keep the cost of ridership and transfers low, reliable, and on time to destinations.