Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire – Jackson Response

2014 Trenton Mayoral Candidates

On February 24, TCR emailed a list of 8 questions to the mayoral candidates requesting their responses by March 28.

On April 16, the Eric Jackson campaign submitted the second set of responses to the TCR mayoral candidate questionnaire. Please click here to read the full text of Mr. Jackson’s responses.

We were especially thrilled by this response regarding the connectivity of streets and trails in Trenton:

If elected, I would be interested in having a member of my administration assigned to working with neighboring municipalities to increase trail and street connectivity as well as promote regional use of the D&R Canal, a potentially great asset to our City. My Administration would participate in any existing regional coordinating efforts, and if none exist, would help to foster creation of such a collaboration. We would also work through our existing Green Team to make this happen.

A regional approach is correct and Trenton could certainly provide more vocal leadership. There are several existing initiatives in which Trenton has previously and still does participate, and a new mayor’s insights and support would be most welcome.

Mr. Jackson’s definition of a complete street was very technically correct, so we know someone can google, but the implementation plan definitely got our attention for being specific, supportive and smart:

I would do a review of the policy upon being elected to Office to determine if there are retrofits that could be initiated. I would also look to make sure the policy is integrated with existing city ordinances as well as relevant county laws and regulations that affect our City. The policy should not be a stand alone policy, but rather should be integrated across City Departments. I would also look for opportunities to increase safety of pedestrians and cyclists throughout the City and marketing events and opportunities to promote walking and cycling, including working with the public health community.

The response regarding the D&R Canal is also worth noting:

I would encourage collaborations with the non-profit sector, including TCR, Isles, D&R Greenway, and others, all relevant levels of government, and neighboring municipalities. I would prioritize the clean-up and safety of the Canal Greenway, and work to promote events and activities centered upon the D&R Canal Greenway. I would also advocate for the State to lease out the canal houses in Trenton.

This is another smart approach, and while this answer is technically correct and we are supportive of the broad based solution, ultimately, the responsibility for park and trail maintenance (not just the canal houses) lies with the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Superintendent.

Overall, thoughtful replies from Mr. Jackson with some very good ideas, and we appreciate the response!

Still no responses from Ms. McBride, Mr. Perez nor Mr. Worthy. If anyone has contact information for Mr. Leggett, we want to ask him as well! Here again is the link to the full text of the TCR questionnaire from Mr. Jim Golden.

*UPDATE: For the synopsis of responses from Mr. Perez, the other run-off candidate, please click here.

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.

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Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire – Golden Response

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.

2014 Trenton Mayoral Candidates

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.

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Thankful in Trenton

S. Warren Street improvementsBicyclists and pedestrians in Trenton have much to be thankful for this season.

In addition to Trenton’s city council unanimously passing a complete streets policy in March, tangible improvements have been appearing in our community this year!

When the connecting road between Memorial Drive and W. Lafayette Street, in front of Patriots Theatre at the War Memorial, re-opened this spring, a bike lane was incorporated into the design. This tiny segment may yet prove to be a critical component for a downtown bicycle route!

In October, the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids-Trenton organized a Complete Streets training session attended by council member Zachary Chester, city staff and volunteers from the Trenton planning board, green team and community. As the steering committee wrote in the Times of Trenton,

“NJPHK-Trenton looks forward to further improvements to our streets and neighborhoods that will benefit all Trenton residents.”

Trenton Complete Streets Training

Trenton Complete Streets Training

In a ceremony on October 23rd, the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission placed East Coast Greenway signage on their historic Calhoun Street Bridge, which links Trenton to Morrisville. We hope the official unveiling signifies a commitment to continued improvements on the NJ side of that bridge! Trenton Cycling Revolution members are ready and willing to support the necessary pedestrian and bicycle accommodations to connect the Calhoun Street Bridge to the D&R Canal trail crossing.

East Coast Greenway Signage Ceremony at Calhoun Bridge

East Coast Greenway Signage Ceremony at Calhoun Bridge

Another recently concluded project is the repaving of Market and Warren Streets. Although there is still room for improvement, the incorporation of bike lanes into the boulevard project is a laudable achievement. We think the new entryway into our city is beautiful, and would still love to see those lanes painted green in the future!

DRJTBC Commissioner Yuki Moore Laurenti enjoys the new bike lane on S. Warren Street

DRJTBC Commissioner Yuki Moore Laurenti enjoys the new bike lane on S. Warren Street

The Trenton Downtown Association recently coordinated a walking tour of the downtown business district to note conditions and consider sidewalk ramps, crosswalks, lighting, bike lanes and other potential street scape improvements. We will continue working with the participants to implement some of the ideas we generated on the walk!

Walking Tour with Trenton Downtown Association

Walking Tour with Trenton Downtown Association

In the East Ward, CityWorks has incorporated an innovative crosswalk design at N. Clinton and Olden Avenues, providing drivers a very visible reminder about the presence of pedestrians in one high traffic corridor. And thanks to a grant from Isles, additional trail improvements will soon be implemented along the D&R Canal in downtown Trenton.

New Crosswalk at Olden and N. Clinton

New Crosswalk at Olden and N. Clinton

 

 

 

We look forward to continuing our work with the city, county and state, as well as concerned citizens and other local organizations to ensure Trenton is a safe and healthy place for bicyclists and pedestrians. In the meantime, a special thank you to all our partners and friends for helping us achieve our vision.

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Bad Bill for Biking

New Jersey transportation groups issue Federal Transportation Bill Statement after conference bill details released.

“Despite a dramatic increase in bicycle and pedestrian commuters in Trenton and other New Jersey communities, the federal transportation bill heads in the wrong direction on bicycle and pedestrian funding. We should be replicating Safe Routes to School programs at almost every school in the country, and increasing the amount of money dedicated to bicycle and pedestrian projects. Unfortunately, despite widespread grassroots support for such policies, Congress has offered a bad bill that takes us in the opposite direction.”
Dan Fatton, Chairperson, Trenton Cycling Revolution

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Complete Streets SUCCESS!

Thank you to coalition partners and the administration for supporting, and special gratitude to City Council for unanimously approving a Complete Streets policy for the City of Trenton! We are elated by this great development, yet cognizant of the hard work yet to be done. We look forward to working with the city to make Trenton streets safer for all users.

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Complete Streets for Trenton

Trenton Cycling Revolution was proud to sign on to this community letter of support, urging the Mayor and City Council to enact a Complete Streets policy here in our city.

More than 30% of our city’s households do not own a car at all. Trenton has an active bicycling and pedestrian culture, with many residents biking or walking to work, to school or simply for leisure. Unfortunately, the road conditions in Trenton are not always ideal for walking and bicycling: crosswalks are poorly marked, the bike lane system is fragmented, and maintenance is spotty, but the city is well-positioned to capitalize on its traditional grid network.

Particularly as a group of residents dedicated to creating a safe and healthy environment for bicyclists in Trenton, we urge swift action!

Bicycle and pedestrian improvements can improve the economy of Trenton by making the city safer and more accommodating for residents, as well as tourists. These improvements will help make it easier for Trenton’s kids to get active. Nearly 1 in 2 Trenton children is overweight or obese!

Please help enact a Complete Streets now! Make our streets safer for everyone and let’s get more residents using bicycles for transportation.

 

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Federal Funding for Bike and Pedestrian Projects

With dedicated federal funding under attack this fall, Trenton Cycling Revolution sent a letter to Senator Lautenberg regarding the importance of transportation enhancements.

Here is one piece of the letter:

“Bicycle and pedestrian improvements can improve the economy of Trenton by making the city safer and more accommodating for tourists, as well as residents. Building bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure creates 46 percent more jobs than building road only projects, per million dollars spent. But these improvements will also help make it easier for Trenton’s kids to get active. Nearly 1 in 2 Trenton children is overweight or obese! These transportation enhancement programs are not inconsequential. The importance of their preservation cannot be understated.”

 

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Transit Crisis!

Photo Source: Transportation for America

Riders who rely on public transportation and transit workers across the country today launched a series of actions over several days to rally support for emergency funding to prevent draconian service cuts, layoffs and fare hikes in more than 150 systems nationwide.

The Transportation Equity Network (TEN), an alliance of local and state groups across the country, held a “Save Transit!” day of action as Transportation for America (T4America) launched a new and expanded online database capturing the thousands of service cuts and fare hikes across the country.

“At a time when our national economy is on the brink of recovery, and Americans across the country are demanding increased access to transportation options, transit systems should not have to cut service and raise fares, but should have the support of Congress,” said James Corless, campaign director for T4America. “This is a national crisis that needs a national response, now.”

In a headlining event in Atlanta, Georgia, where MARTA is faced with eliminating 30 percent of its routes, members of the local Amalgamated Transit Union, community leaders and transit supporters rallied and painted huge red Xes on buses and trains to illustrate what the severity of local cuts should the transit system receive no Congressional or state aid before June.

“America’s transit systems are in crisis just when we need them the most – for access to jobs, education, health care and opportunity,” said Laura Barrett, executive director of the Transportation Equity Network. “Service cuts and fare hikes are hitting low-income people, people of color, students, retirees and the disabled especially hard, and they’re robbing all of us of a proven engine of economic growth. TEN is calling on Congress to keep America moving by letting our transit agencies use federal funds for operating expenses.”

The “Save Transit!” rallies are being organized by TEN, a non-profit coalition that is raising awareness about the impact of service cuts and fare increases on mass transit riders around the country. For more information, including interviews with participants or photos from the events, please contact Paula Chrin Dibley at 202-478-6138 or pchrin@mrss.com.

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