Q1. Do you use the bus, walk or bicycle for transportation? If not, have you ever relied on one of those modes of transportation?
Yes! I am an avid cyclist and proud pedestrian. If I can walk to my destination, I will! I am on the Board of the Metro and Co-Chair the Metro’s Ridership Committee, where we focused heavily on removing the barriers that exist to increase Riders.
Q 2. The City of Portland in the past had a Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator who worked on bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, including seeking grant funding and planning new facilities. What are your views on the city’s need for such a coordinator, and will you work to have it funded in the FY 2025 budget?
I have discussed this as Chair of the Councils Sustainability & Transportation Committee and tried to get this included in the FY24 budget. I was successful in getting 2 FT positions added to the FY23 budget for the Sustainability Department, when I would imagine this position spends some of its energy as a multi-departmental role. I fully support a full time Program Manager position, with an accompanying full time Coordinator. These roles are essential in weaving together a holistic approach to multi-modal transportation options that are safe, efficient and fun for Portland residents. There is significant grant funding available for positions like these, ensuring that Portlanders are not going to risk an increase in their property taxes.
Additionally, I’d prioritize forming a Municipal Transportation Authority that would encompass our existing Parking Department, but also expand purview over the existing public and private parking options to create comprehensive & streamlined parking management to residents, businesses and visitors. This is an opportunity to create new revenue streams that benefit our city infrastructure.
Q 3. Do you see active transportation (walking, cycling, transit, bikeshare, etc.) as having a role in addressing housing, economic development, access to green space, and workforce shortages?
Unequivocally yes! Housing and transportation are deeply connected, and we know that smart growth policies have significant positive impacts on climate change mitigation, high road economic development and racial justice. Right now we have a city that is still combating the negative impacts of urban renewal and a disproportionate prioritization on the automobile. I continue to say that cities are for people, and I have shown that in many of my votes as a Councilor. As Mayor, I will continue to emphasize this through a vision that prioritizes multi-modal transportation as a key component of tackling our housing and climate challenges.
Q 4. Please describe your level of familiarity with the City’s Sidewalk Snow Clearing Policy. Do you have any ideas to improve it?
I am familiar and comfortable in expressing my opinion that we need to do more. We have fairly old infrastructure that has not received a comprehensive investment in some time. While stone streets or brick sidewalks are aesthetically appealing, they are a nightmare for snow & ice maintenance, the equipment required to clear them, and the overall experience for cyclists & pedestrians alike. Our removal map is insufficient and doesn’t take into account how Portlanders use our transit corridors, including the Metro and cycling. Again, our city infrastructure is mostly designed with cars in mind, so it’s no surprise that our snow clearing policies are designed accordingly. We need to reimagine the way we address snow clearing by analyzing how we want our people to commute, and realigning the emphasis on pedestrians and cyclists. After a storm there should be immediate attention on crosswalks, bike lanes, and sidewalks within 24 hours. The city must enforce where existing ordinance requires businesses and property owners to maintain/clear their sidewalks within a certain timeframe.
Q 5. What are your thoughts on modifications for Franklin Street, and the restoration of two-way traffic for places like State & High Streets and Congress Street & Park Avenue?
After 2 years on the Council, I was successful in getting the Franklin St. project back on the Council’s agenda by looking at it through a lens of housing and transportation, rather than just transportation. I believe Franklin Street is Portland’s opportunity to take a giant step forward in addressing the housing crisis, and could potentially add thousands of units of housing all while reconnecting our city and repairing the scars of urban renewal. This would restore Lincoln Park, and redesign the 4 lane highway that has resulted in countless accidents.
I have added State & High to the S&T committees agenda this year, and expect it to be on our October meeting agenda. I’ve worked with the City Manager and neighbors on this, and even the Commission of Maine DOT. This has been studied and is relatively a lighter lift in the grand scheme, and will embody a complete streets model that slows traffic, connects neighborhoods, and reaffirms my commitment that cities are for people.
Q 6. What policies will you pursue to improve conditions for those cycling, walking & wheeling? Feel free to include specific examples of streets those policies would improve.
Promoting multi-modal transportation options are crucial for reducing congestion, decreasing carbon emissions, and fostering a healthier and happier Portland! Here's my comprehensive policy framework to improve conditions for these modes:
Dedicated Bike Lanes: Construct protected and separated bike lanes on major streets to ensure safety.
Bike/Ped-Only Zones: Designate car-free zones or times in downtown areas, like Burlington's Church St.
Traffic Calming Measures: Implement speed bumps, curb extensions, and pedestrian islands to slow traffic in residential areas and near schools.
Wheelchair Accessible Paths: Ensure that sidewalks are smooth, flat, and have frequent curb cuts.
Network Development: Ensure paths for cycling, walking, and wheeling are interconnected throughout all of Portland, allowing smooth transitions between different areas.
Public Transit Integration: Ensure that public transit hubs have ample bike parking and that buses and trains can accommodate bicycles. Selfishly I would love this, but I think it would benefit a lot of others!
Education & Training: Launch campaigns to educate drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians about road sharing and safety.
Enforcement: Strengthen laws that protect cyclists and pedestrians, and ensure that they are properly enforced.
Visibility: Increase street lighting, and encourage cyclists and wheelers to use lights and reflective materials.
Maintenance: Regularly inspect and repair pedestrian and cycle paths.
Facilities & Infrastructure: Establish more public restrooms, drinking fountains, and seating areas along major walking and cycling routes.
Urban Design: Prioritize pedestrian and cycling infrastructure in city planning, incorporating green spaces and ensuring accessibility.
Review & Feedback: Periodically assess the functionality and safety of cycling and pedestrian paths based on user feedback. Memorialize the relationship with Portland Trails and PBPAC through creating a standing city with members from each to continue to review and analyze.
Events: Organize more events like 'Car-Free Days' or 'Bike-to-Work Days' to promote these transportation modes.
Subsidies & Discounts: Like the ARPA investment I sponsored in 2022, provide financial incentives for buying e-bicycles or e-scooters, and offer discounts or rebates for businesses that support sustainable transport.
Smart Crossings: Implement technology-driven pedestrian crossings that detect and prioritize pedestrians.