Trenton Cycling Revolution is non-partisan and will not be making an endorsement in the 2014 Trenton mayoral election. However, as concerned citizens and residents, we want to understand the positions of the candidates. We are especially interested in how each candidate might build upon our success developing a bicycle and pedestrian culture in Trenton and which candidates might disrupt our progress.
On February 24, TCR emailed a list of 8 questions to the mayoral candidates requesting their responses by March 28.
On March 29, Jim Golden was the first to respond with answers to our questions. For the full document, please see Responses to TCR questionnaire from Jim Golden. We greatly appreciate the reply, and especially this opening sentiment:
I share your fundamental desire to make Trenton a healthier, more environmentally friendly and fun place to live.
Yet, some of Mr. Golden’s responses make us a little nervous. Although he appears to understand the concept of a complete street, Mr. Golden doesn’t exactly give a ringing endorsement for the comprehensive complete streets policy Trenton adopted in 2012, which was ranked number 8 in the nation:
Our budget priorities will be largely influenced by the Priority Based Budgeting (PBB) approach we plan to implement. Department directors will be responsible for crafting spending proposals and presenting them in public forums. They will explain costs and expected measurable benefits and the public will actually vote on their priorities. These priorities will be submitted to City Council and will inform each budget we present.
We will ask that as one of the Public Works Department’s proposals they submit a plan to implement the “Compete Streets” policy as part of PBB.
While we understand the hesitation to over commit during the campaign, asking one department to submit a proposal isn’t exactly what we had in mind for “implementing” the city’s nationally recognized complete streets policy. We think Priority Based Budgeting would likely be positive for the city, but there are many follow-up questions about the specifics of such an exercise.
Perhaps the most interesting piece of Mr. Golden’s response proposes a Trenton trolley system:
One specific tactic that we intend to pursue in order to make the city more walkable is to develop a user friendly trolley system in Trenton that replaces most bus routes and links downtown and the Trenton Transit Center to all wards. We expect such a system to increase Trenton’s walkability by allowing residents to not need a car when taking the short trip to downtown or to other markets. It will be part of a hub and spoke system connecting the transit center to the rest of the city.
We’re intrigued, and curious to hear how replacing downtown bus routes might work. We completely agree about the need to link the Trenton Transit Center with the downtown and all wards, but we tend to think better bike lanes and marked crosswalks would do more to improve accessibility, at a far lower cost.
Mr. Golden does know how to ride a bike:
I learned to ride a bike in the inner city of Philadelphia when I was eight years old. Although we own two bikes, my wife and I typically go bike riding whenever we travel on family vacations. It’s been a couple of years since I last rode, but riding a bike is always a relaxing and enjoyable experience.
At another point, Mr. Golden has a good suggestion for us:
One suggestion that I’ll make to TCR is to create a bike tour event that retraces the routes General Washington and his troops took into and out of Trenton. You might see me on a bike for that.
Regardless of what happens in the election, we will have to take Mr. Golden up on that concept!
On March 30, we emailed a reminder to the other candidates. None of the candidates had yet responded.
On March 31, Paul Perez responded and said, “Our reply is forth coming. Sorry for the delay.” We have not yet received the full responses.
On April 5, a surrogate for the Jackson campaign responded saying they would look into it and ask Eric Jackson about it personally.
Kathy McBride did not respond to either email.
Walker Worthy did not respond to either email.
We have not been able to find an email address for Oliver “Bucky” Leggett.
If any additional candidates submits responses to our questions, we will post them promptly. In the meantime, we’re grateful for the thoughtful responses from Jim Golden.