Gainey vs Moreno: See What Pittsburgh’s Mayoral Candidates Say About Biking and Walking

How will Pittsburgh’s next mayor value safe streets?

NOTE: These responses were originally solicited during the May 2021 Mayoral Primary. Four of the Five candidates responded to the survey. These are the answers of the candidates on the November 2 ballot.

Biking and walking are not only quality of life issues, they are political issues. When you choose to get around by foot or by bike, you are addressing critically important issues: personal health, air quality, oil dependence, economics, infrastructure, and safety. If our streets are designed where biking and walking are dangerous, the outcomes affect us all no matter how you get around.

Nearly a quarter of Pittsburgh households have no access to a vehicle, so each election cycle, we want to make sure that Pittsburgh voters are confident that the candidates understand the issues of those that walk and bike for transportation.

We wanted to be sure to give the candidates an opportunity to talk directly to the voters on these issues, to better understand where they are coming from so that you know who to cast your vote for on the November 2 election.


1. About a quarter of Pittsburgh households have no access to a car (this number is up to 50% in some neighborhoods), and are dependent on affordable transportation like biking, walking and transit. Please describe your transportation vision for Pittsburghers who don’t have access to a car, or want to get around by other modes of transportation.


Ed Gainey
Democrat
gaineyformayor.com

I believe that everyone in our city regardless of age, race, income, neighborhood, or ability should have one or more safe, affordable, and enjoyable ways of getting to work, school, parks, grocery stores, doctors offices, and other basic necessities without needing to rely on a car. I also believe we need to place a particular emphasis on ensuring that low-income residents and communities, where access to cars is the lowest, have robust non-car transportation options to ensure that lack of transportation is not a barrier to access to employment and educational opportunities or other critical services.


Tony Moreno
Republican
realsteelmayor.com

Did not respond.

2. How do you plan to achieve this vision?


Ed Gainey

I’m committed to maintaining the City’s commitment to Vision Zero to eliminate transportation fatalities and serious injuries, and to centering equity in our transportation and housing investments to ensure that 1) neighborhoods with the greatest need receive mobility improvements that better connect residents to opportunities and 2) the supply of affordable housing is significantly expanded in areas that are already well served by transit. I’ll work to create safe pedestrian corridors for kids that connect schools and childcare providers to parks and school bus/transit stops; Tackle utility coordination to minimize disruption of our transportation systems caused by utility improvements and/or new development; and partner with the County and allies in Harrisburg to fight for fair funding for urban mass transit systems like the Port Authority.


Tony Moreno

Did not respond.

3. How can you work as Mayor to ensure that infrastructure funds to improve biking and walking get to the neighborhoods that are most in need and that have historically lacked investment in safe biking and walking infrastructure?


Ed Gainey

As Mayor, I would apply a data-driven, equity-focused lens to allocating mobility investments, driving resources to communities where car access is lowest and getting to employment opportunities, schools, parks, and grocery stores is most difficult. At the same time, it’s also critical that we place a special focus on expanding the supply of affordable housing in transit- and mobility-infrastructure-rich neighborhoods to ensure that low income and historically marginalized communities are able to take advantage of our existing transportation infrastructure.


Tony Moreno

Did not respond.

4. Please explain how you would focus your Administration to help combat the harmful effects of Climate Change as it relates to transportation.


Ed Gainey

My priorities would be 1) accelerating the electrification of the City’s vehicle fleet and pursuing more renewable sources for city facilities, including fleet charging facilities, to eliminate the City’s reliance on fossil fuels to power our vehicles, 2) deploying Capital Budget resources to better connect our neighborhoods to transit, including sidewalk improvements, bus stop improvements, protected bike infrastructure, street lighting, and bus bump outs, to both better serve residents without access to a car, and to make commuting by bike or transit a viable option for those who do have access to a car, 3) making transit faster and more convenient through dedicated bus infrastructure and signal prioritization, and 4) working in partnership with other transportation stakeholders like the Port Authority and Easy Ride to expand and enhance non-car transportation options.


Tony Moreno

Did not respond.

5. With the potential of billions of dollars of Federal infrastructure funding being made available by the Biden Administration specifically for biking, walking, and transit, what ideas do you have that could tap into this funding source to improve biking and/or walking in Pittsburgh?


Ed Gainey

If passed by Congress, a Federal Infrastructure Bill will offer Pittsburgh a golden opportunity to address our long and growing backlog of infrastructure needs, and to do so in a way that meets the safety and accessibility needs of all users, with a particular focus on pedestrians, cyclists, and those with mobility impairments. Rebuilding sidewalks and curb reveals to make walking more enjoyable for pedestrians and more accessible for those using wheelchairs and strollers, expanding protected bicycle lanes, and implementing self-enforcing street designs that encourage motorists to drive more safely and that prioritize transit connections would by my top priority for federal infrastructure investment.


Tony Moreno

Did not respond.

6. We all know there was a racial reckoning in 2020. How do you envision working toward safe streets for biking and walking while also reducing the dependence on armed officers to enforce traffic laws?


Ed Gainey

According to the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police’s 2020 Annual Statistical Report, Black Pittsburghers account for 47% of traffic stops and 75% of traffic stop arrests, despite making up only 23% of the City’s population. In order to address the over-policing of Communities of Color while still keeping our streets safe for pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, and others not traveling by car, we need new methods of enforcing traffic violations that do not depend on traffic stops. In the immediate term, transitioning enforcement for some traffic violations to tickets issued by mail after the fact rather than via a traffic stop at the time of the incident, as BPEP has recently called for, is a practical solution that should be pursued. Over the longer term the most effective strategies to reduce the need for traffic stops is to adopt self-enforcing street designs that prevent drivers from engaging in activities that provide grounds for a traffic stop such as speeding and U-turns. Maintaining and deepening our commitment to Vision Zero offers a dual benefit of making our streets safer for all users while also producing street designs that reduce our reliance on police for traffic enforcement.


Tony Moreno

Did not respond.

7. One of the most powerful tools a city has related to improving quality of life is its zoning code. Some changes have been made recently to its code (e.g. RIV, curb cuts/parking). What role does Zoning play in making sure Pittsburgh is affordable and less car dependent, and what changes would your administration focus on to achieve this goal?


Ed Gainey

The zoning code is the most powerful tool in the city’s toolbox, and offers us an enormous opportunity to advance the objectives of making our city more affordable, accessible, and sustainable. If elected Mayor, I would work with Council to implement citywide inclusionary zoning to mandate that all residential housing projects include dedicated affordable units, with a particular emphasis on building new affordable units in transit corridors. Eliminating parking requirements in densely developed areas that are well served by transit, pedestrian, and bike infrastructure would reduce the cost of constructing those projects, freeing up additional resources to support affordability.


Tony Moreno

Did not respond.

8. Why do you think people who care about street safety and/or bicycling and walking issues should vote for you?


Ed Gainey

As a city we’ve made great strides in recent years in improving mobility, safety, and accessibility, but like on so many other issues, the progress hasn’t been evenly distributed, and many of our neighborhoods have been left behind. If elected Mayor, I’ll continue to push forward on initiatives and policy solutions that make moving through our city safer, more affordable, and more enjoyable, but with a deeper focus on meeting the transportation needs of those Pittsburghers with the greatest need, and who are currently being left the furthest behind.


Tony Moreno

Did not respond.

Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest updates!

Sign up for Bike Pittsburgh’s newsletter, The Messenger. It goes out bi-monthly and it’s one of the key ways we communicate with people who bike and walk in the Pittsburgh region. 

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Leave a Reply