Bike the Vote 2011 Council District 7: Patrick Dowd

Patrick Dowd, Pittsburgh City Council District 7


1. Do you use a bicycle in the city? If so, for what purposes (commuting, recreation, errands) and how often?

I own a bicycle. I ride in the spring, summer and fall. Typically, I try to commute to work at least once a month in the warmer weather. My family and I ride the trails in the region at least once a week, especially in the summer weather. We are just starting to use a bicycle for errands and believe that as gas prices rise people will increasingly turn to bicycles for errands and commuting. The City must work to meet that demand.

2. Have you championed or strongly supported any initiatives that are in line with Bike Pittsburgh’s mission of establishing Pittsburgh as a city that is increasingly safe, accessible, and friendly to bicycle transportation?

I have. I am proud to have worked with the Mayor early in my term on council and to bring attention and widespread support for bike and pedestrian initiatives. While the work is far, far from complete, there is a growing number of civic leaders and elected officials who are willing to champion this cause, and I am proud to have been in the vanguard.

The link below has some more information about my work on bike issues.

3. 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?

The initiatives outlined above are designed to make biking and walking safer and more attractive. It is extremely important to note that in our initial announcement and our continued work, the Port Authority has been an extremely important partner.

4. 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?

I have known people who were killed as pedestrians and who were severely injured as cyclists. Our goal should be to have more people walking and cycling to work and recreation. For that to happen we need safer infrastructure, but we also need to change the culture of driving. That will come with education and enforcement.

5. Do you believe safe biking and walking infrastructure enhance a community’s quality of life? (yes or no)

Yes (a) Scroll down to see complete answer

6. Do you believe biking and walking are worth investing in as a city? (yes or no)

Yes (b) Scroll down to see complete answer

7. In what ways can enhanced bicycling and walking facilities and opportunities benefit your district and the city as a whole?

In addition to the improvement in the health of our neighbors that comes with biking and walking, getting out of cars will connect people more closely to their neighborhoods and encourage reinvestment and community involvement.

8. Do you/Would you work to get more bike/ped safety projects underway in your district? If so, what is/would be your focus?

My main goal for District 7 is to enhance bike and pedestrian safety and to increase opportunities and desire to walk or bike from home to work to recreation to shopping.

9. Do you have a bicycling story you would like to share with our constituents?

When I moved to Pittsburgh nearly 20 years ago this year, I came with no car and a bicycle. I found riding too dangerous and stopped. I want to change that. When people grow up or move here, I want the City to do all it can to make it possible for people live without absolutely having to use a car.

a. I believe this unequivocally. When I ride my bike on the city’s streets, I see my community in new and different ways but more importantly become more closely connected. Biking and walking can improve health, public safety, and a general sense of community.
b. My votes and advocacy in the past prove that I believe this. We need more investment that make biking and walking safer and easier.

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