Council District 8 Candidate: Jeanne Clark
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1. Do you use a bicycle (or walk) in the city? If so, for what purposes (commuting, recreation, errands) and how often?
Yes; I bike for recreation, walk for errands and depending on my work site, commuting.
2. What roles do you think city council can play in making cities safe, accessible and friendly for biking and walking?
Council can make sure support for biking and walking are in the budget (bike lanes, bike parking, sidewalk enhancements, etc.), continue to advocate for walkable communities in zoning and planning and work to reduce the number of vehicles in the city by working employers to put implement bike and walk friendly policies. We need to enhance and expand public transit to reduce the need for cars, install state-of-the-art bike and walk safety technology and develop a robust public education campaign on everyone’s role In making biking and walking safe.
3. In what ways can enhanced bicycling and walking facilities and opportunities benefit your district and the city as a whole? Are there any specific projects that you’d like to see accomplished?
District 8 is by and large a great place to bike and walk, and every day more residents and visitors are taking advantage of it. We need to expand those great places to the entire district.
District 8 is also home to some of the most dangerous biking/walking streets, including Penn Avenue. We need to treat Penn Avenue and other dangerous areas as serious public health and safety issues and take action. Uniform enforcement of all speed limits is a great start. Creating bike lanes that protect bikers and enforcement of the 4 feet rule are also vitally necessary.
4. Pittsburgh was chosen to host the 2014 Pro Walk/Pro Bike Conference, which is expected to draw 1,000 biking and walking planners, engineers, government officials, and advocates from around the country, the largest gathering of its kind. Their focus is on biking and walking as means of getting around, with less focus on recreation. If you could put one project in place to “show off” your district, what would it be? Will you direct your staff to attend the conference to further their professional development?
I would do walking and biking tours of the district, showing how retail and residences co-exist, and how easy it is to live and work here. Part of the tour would be both our current busway, and a look to the future of bus rapid transit in the district. Yes, I would direct staff to attend the conference (and would try to be there myself for at least part.)
5. In just about every neighborhood throughout the city, one of the top concerns is drivers driving too fast, aggressively, and not yielding to pedestrians. What ideas do you have to calm traffic and make our neighborhoods safer and more comfortable in which to walk and bike? Feel free to talk about particular problem spots in your district.
There are great traffic calming engineering and design fixes that can be put in place, including visual changes, curb extensions, narrowing streets in residential areas, lowering speed limits and enforcing them, and raising pedestrian crossings. All would help. As I mentioned earlier, we need serious action on the Penn Avenue corridor and other very high traffic areas, including looking at state-of-the-art bike lane design. Law enforcement is a key component as well, as is cutting the number of cars that travel our streets.
6. Given Pittsburgh’s relatively low rate of car ownership and the recent transit cuts, what specific ideas do you have to make active transportation choices like biking and walking more appealing?
We need to make sure people are aware of the great opportunities for biking and walking in our city, and making sure all our infrastructure is designed to make biking and walking easier and more pleasant. Public education campaigns and enhancements to our walkable/bikeable infrastructure are both necessary.
We should consider creating bike boulevards throughout the city, especially near schools. More bike corrals and pedestrian benches are also needed. We should examine our entire infrastructure to eliminate barriers to biking and walking, and change the design bias from one for vehicles to a multi modal approach.
We must recognize that our city’s infrastructure is old, and our funds are limited, so change won’t come overnight. We all must be willing to work on creating a better city for the long haul.
7. What do you think is the number one risk to walkers and bicyclists both in your district and the city as a whole? What have you done/will you do as an elected official to remedy it?
We have a driver problem and a design problem. The first can be fixed with enhanced public education and stepped up law enforcement. The second can be done with 21 Century design and planning standards, implemented properly.
8. What are your ideas for securing funding sources for biking and walking projects outside of the City’s Capital Budget?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has discussed using “active community environments” as a public health strategy. We should pursue funding from CDC and other public agencies with this in mind. The Allegheny County Health Department’s Clean Air Fund might also be a source, since moving people out of vehicles certainly improves our air quality. We should also discuss funding with national and local philanthropic organizations that are interested in public health, public safety and transportation development.
9. In conclusion, why do you think people who care about bicycling and walking issues should vote for you?
For more than 40 years, I have helped develop and pass public policy on the national, state, and local level. Nationally, I worked on the original Violence Against Women Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. In Pennsylvania, I worked on the Growing Greener II bond question, the electronics recycling mandates and programs for energy efficiency. In Pittsburgh, I helped lead the community effort to pass the zero tolerance law on police officer-involved domestic violence. All of these laws were game changing. This progress came from thinking about core solutions to complex problems, indentifying solutions, and negotiating with everyone possible to pass laws. I made sure that the laws I helped passed were enforceable, and enforced because a legislator’s job doesn’t end with her/his vote. As a professional communicator and advocate, I will work to create both the cultural and legislative changes necessary to make Pittsburgh the next great city.