Bike the Vote 2011 Council District 3: Bruce Kraus

Bruce Kraus, Pittsburgh City Council District 3


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

Since taking office three years ago, and spurred by my work with Bike Pittsburgh and participation in the National Bike to Work Day, I purchased my first bike in many years.

Although I can’t say I’m an avid rider, I do walk all over my district and many of the challenges facing cyclists are shared by walkers. These challenges include safety on the roads, sidewalks, and steps as well as public health challenges that demand clean air.

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 was a strong supporter of the recently-passed Bicycle Parking Ordinance, and have supported the efforts of the city´s recently hired Bicycle Coordinator. I have also taken part in Pittsburgh´s participation in the National Bike to Work Day, riding from my home on the South Side Flats to the City County Building downtown. Initiatives like this one are vitally important in that they raise awareness of bicycles as an attractive alternative means of transportation within the city.

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?

I think that one of the most important ways that we, as a city, can encourage biking and walking as alternatives to cars or public transportation is to make it as easy as possible for people to make these active transportation choices. That means that we need to ensure that city infrastructure is designed and built with walking and cycling in mind. While we have begun the process of adding bicycle lanes to many city streets, there are many more routes that could be made more bicycle-friendly.

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?

The number one challenge for cyclists and walkers in my district are the steps that link the Hilltop neighbourhoods and to the South Side Slopes, the South Side Flats, and the downtown. These stairs become overgrown and fall into disrepair, thus making them unsafe for use and limiting the ability of people to walk between the neighbourhoods of the district. Thus, my staff and I have worked diligently with constituents to track the condition of city steps, report the problems to the city departments through the 311 system, and follow up on them to ensure that the problems are addressed. We have also helped to organize and supported community clean-ups of the steps, making them even more attractive pedestrian routes, which also offer amazing views of the city.

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

Yes (a) Scroll to the bottom for complete answer

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

Yes (b) Scroll to the bottom for complete answer

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

Enhanced biking and walking opportunities can help District 3 by highlighting its proximity to downtown, which can be easily accessed without a car. Neighborhoods like the South Side Flats and South Side Slopes are amazing residential neighbourhoods just a short bike ride or walk away from downtown, an asset that could be enhanced with improved access to the city, especially in crossing the river and along Second Avenue. In addition, ensuring that city steps and roadways between the South Side and Hilltop neighbourhoods are accessible for cyclists and walkers is a means of encouraging commercial and residential development in the Hilltop neighborhoods, as people find that these remarkable communities are only a short walk or ride from downtown and the South Side.

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?

Yes, I would absolutely like to have more bicycle and pedestrian safety projects in District 3.

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

Did not answer

a. Safe cycling and walking infrastructure are significant assets to a community – from the neighborhood level, all the way to a city-wide scale. This type of infrastructure offers residents increased transportation and recreation options, thereby developing and expanding the quality of life for everyone.
b. I firmly believe that investments in cycling and walking as alternative means of transportation are extremely important for the city on many levels – environmentally, economically, and as a matter of having a healthier population. These types of investments deserve the commitment of the city as they are crucial for the future of the city.

Back to the 2011 Bike the Vote Main page