Eric Costello, Candidate for City Council-11th 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?

EC: Due to the intense demands on my schedule as a Councilmember, unfortunately I am left with no other option but to use my car on a daily basis. I certainly recognize that many of my constituents rely on cycling, walking, and public transportation. The City must focus on finding a permanent funding source for the Circulator, ensuring that Baltimore Link appropriately meets the needs of residents, creating bicycle lanes where possible, and safer pedestrian footways.

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

EC: Biking and walking improvements play a huge role in a safer, healthier, and more livable Baltimore City. Reducing vehicular traffic will improve safety and the health for all Baltimore City residents.

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?

EC: I have played an instrumental leadership role in negotiating the design of the City’s Cathedral / Madison Cycle Track between various stakeholders, including DOT, Baltimore School for the Arts, the Basillica, Mount Vernon residents and business owners, and cycle advocates throughout the City. I am currently advocating for the expansion of cycle lanes in City capital projects such as the Light Street / Key Highway Intersection Traffic Calming Improvements project as well as private development projects such as Anthem House, a mixed use development in between Riverside and Locust Point.

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?

EC: As a former Auditor for the US Government Accountability Office, I have leveraged this experience to raise awareness of the issue of quadrennial audits. I am committed to leveraging this previous experience to ensure that performance audits are completed on time, and provide effective recommendations for executive action to ensure improved performance of agencies, including DOT. The findings in the DOT audit were certainly disappointing and I plan to discuss them with DOT in public during the budget process, as a member of the City Council’s Budget & Appropriations Committee. Every single taxpayer dollar is precious and should be treated as such

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?

EC: The City’s current investment in sustainable transportation solutions is inadequate. I will continue to advocate for permanent funding for the Circulator, increased cycle lanes, and improvements to pedestrian footways.

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?

EC: There are many communities in our City that are under-served by public transportation. I will continue to advocate for solutions to transportation challenges across our City.

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

I look forward to working with Bikemore to ensure the City implements a forward thinking strategy toward becoming a more bicycle-friendly City.