Thursday, October 26, 2006

local candidates on carfree issues

WBWC has collected responses on three questions from several local candidates. The full responses are available in a pdf document on the WBWC website.

Each candidate was asked to respond to three, straight-forward questions:
Question 1: Please name one specific bicycling or walking related policy, or program that you will promote in your next term of office.
Question 2: Do you yourself use a bicycle or walk as part of your commuting strategy? Why, or why not?
Question 3: SEMCOG is funded to study the feasibility of a transportation corridor, possibly light rail, between Ann Arbor and Detroit. What can you do to influence the integration of this system with bicycling and walking?

Responses were a bit squishy, especially to question #2. The main excuse for commuting by car was living too far from work. Joan Lowenstein is the only one who claims a consistantly carfree commute. That is not to say that one needs to be carfree to help the carfree community in office, but it sure doesn't hurt!

There were no responses from competing candidates, so it may be argued that responding at all warrants an endorsement. That is unfortunate as projects like the Detroit Ann Arbor Transit Study and the non-motorized plan are going to play a big role in the cities near-future development. It was sad to see that some candidates didn't know much about it.

Other highlights:
Mayor Hieftie says "I have advocated for bike racks on all trains and for the installation of bike lanes and walking paths to all train stops and will continue to do so." That's nothing new, but good to know he is thinking about integration with rail.
Joan Lowenstein promotes "mandatory sidewalk improvements when roads are re-paved or improved." We're not sure that this is the most efficient use of funds, but we like the resolve.
Paul Schermerhorn describes life lessons. "As a biker, I don't know how many times I had to be hit by people blowing past the stop line on the street that was painted poorly (and that they would’ve ignored anyway) while riding on the ‘sidewalk bike path’, until Ilearned to use the street as my right."
Conan Smith describes a NMT mapping initiative that he is involved with. "Like Mapquest or Yahoo maps, users will ultimately be able to input origination and destination sites and receive a map of the “safest” or fastest route along trails, sidewalks and roads." We're more interested in user-generated than government-provided info. But we'd like to know more about this project.

Thanks to all candidates that responded, and thanks to WBWC for collecting the info.

1 comment:

HomelessDave said...

I think it's great that the WBWC has made the effort to project non-motorized issues into candidates' consciousness by soliciting responses to these questions.

If we push Question One, we could construe addressing driver behavior around cyclists and walkers through better driver education as a 'bicycling- or walking-related program'.

So I wonder if Tom Wall (All-Star Driver Ed founder, who's challenging Hieftje as an Independent) would be amenable to enhancing his driver ed curriculum to give greater prominence to appropriate driver behavior around bicyclist. Or, for all I know, there's a robust lesson module already in place?

Anybody out there who has taken any kind of driver education class in the last couple of years?