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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Complete Streets Champions

On October 21, the Trenton Green Team (several TCR members are representatives) was honored at the New Jersey Complete Streets Summit with a “Complete Streets Champions” award. We are grateful for the recognition and thank the summit facilitators for the honor. We are very proud of the nationally ranked complete streets policy that Trenton passed in 2012 and we’ve been supportive of the early steps toward implementation, which many community stakeholders encouraged and helped facilitate.

Particularly as we have just accepted an award for championing this policy, we must remain vigilant and speak loudly about the need for REAL implementation here in Trenton.

With state, county and city policies effectively covering every inch of street in Trenton, ALL streets projects within city limits need consideration for what the complete streets policies mean, during design, redesign, engineering, paving, repaving, striping processes. In every phase of every project, are the needs of all users being considered? If not, why not? Are the state, county and city coordinating with each other and outside entities (like the DRJTBC) on streets projects in Trenton?

Yet on a recent trip to city hall, we couldn’t help but notice the posters hanging throughout the atrium, possibly touting the street project “successes” of the administration. Unfortunately, these posters illustrate the immense work that still needs to be done to make our streets complete. In fact, photos of the posters are included here, with some commentary:

The new crossing on Market Street near Mercer County Community College Kerny Campus, with lane width reductions achieved through striping and plastic barriers, is encouraging and an example of the innovative street design Trenton could embrace in multiple locations throughout the city. More of this, please:

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Not Quite Complete

I usually try to use this space to talk about positive things happening on the streets of Trenton. We catch more flies with honey, right?

But lately, it has been increasingly frustrating to witness absence of care for our city’s streets and total lack of attention to detail. Here are just a few examples:

 

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We have been very supportive of the South Market and South Warren Street project that added bike lanes to our downtown. However, several months after the project was completed, cars park freely along South Market Street on a daily basis. Why haven’t the meters been installed yet? Would it be asking too much to install electronic meter boxes that cities like Philadelphia and Asbury Park have started utilizing? Probably. Maybe that is why  the meter poles have stood empty for months. We’re waiting on a state-of-the-art electronic system.

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Another unfinished remnant of the project can be found just two blocks away on John Fitch Way. There has been a very clear drainage issue since the project was “completed” yet this bucket sat in the puddle for months. News flash: this bucket isn’t working to fix the problem.

Also noticeably unfinished, the street lamps have still not been installed. You can see the spot next to the sign post. Now to be fair, this may not be the city’s responsibility. But should someone at the city be insisting that the utilities come and do the installation? It seems that leaving the bases exposed creates a potential electrical hazard. Or we could just wait months and months and months…

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Speaking of electrical hazards and months of inaction, this situation on Market Street near the corner of Jackson Street makes me the most angry. I remember clearly the day that a truck brought down the wires by making a terrible turn. It was right after Hurricane Sandy, probably a week later. Everyone had just gotten their power restored and the truck took it away again. THIS is how the street was left. Can anyone imagine this being acceptable nearly a year after an accident in a suburban town? Would the utility dare to leave the sidewalk, bricks, wires like this on a busy thoroughfare? Would the elected officials do something to fix the problem? Or notice?

 

 

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Celebrating ‘Pedal-Power’ in Trenton on Bike to Work Day

The Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association (GMTMA) and Trenton Cycling Revolution (TCR) hosted a “Brunch for Bikers” on Bike to Work Day, Friday, May 17 to celebrate bicycling and call for more designated bicycle lanes in Trenton.

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The organizations offered free food and drinks to anyone riding a bike at the corner of Market Street and South Warren Street in Trenton. GMTMA and TCR also used the occasion to join with other bicycling advocates and organizations to commemorate the recent establishment of designated bicycle lanes in Trenton and advocate for further bicycle-friendly facilities and projects in New Jersey’s capital city.

Trenton recently completed a multi-faceted “Trenton Gateway Project” that made a series of roadway, sidewalk, transportation-safety and streetscape improvements along portions of Market Street, South Warren Street, New Warren Street, and Lincoln Highway.  The project included the establishment of designated bicycle lanes in downtown Trenton, as well as bicycle rack installations in a new pocket park across from the newly opened Mercer County Courthouse.

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The project was carried out by the city with a grant from the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (DRJTBC).  To commemorate the inaugural network of bicycle lanes, Bridge Commission representatives officially conveyed project-designation signs to Trenton City Councilwoman Marge Caldwell-Wilson.

Yuki Moore Laurenti, DRJTBC Commissioner, noted the special occasion,

When the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission launched its Compact-Authorized Investment program in 2005, it made its largest grant, and one of its earliest, to Trenton – for $5 million in improvements to the approach leading to the Commission’s iconic “Trenton Makes” bridge.

Scripture says, “The first shall be last,” and that certainly seems to have been the case with the Trenton project, but here it is—with completed streets.

It provides a gateway to Trenton’s historic center.

Yet, passing these acres of State parking lots, it is a reminder that we have yet to realize the ambitious hopes of urban renewal.  This area teemed with fading tenements and factories when the Great Depression hit, along Bloomsbury Street and Fair Street and Decatur Street.  They were all swept away in the clearance phase of renewal.

This project creates a suitable entry way to the capital.  We now have to work on filling in the streetscape.

Most important in this project is the inclusion of bike lanes, a first for Trenton’s historic core.  I commend the city administration for having them in the project design.

This city is blessed with unusual access to transportation corridors, and not only rail and road.  We have off-road cycling trails on the Delaware and Raritan Canal to Princeton and New Brunswick, to Lambertville and Frenchtown, and—with a gap that this project starts to fill in—to Bordentown.

Cross our bridges, and you arrive at Pennsylvania’s Delaware Canal, running south to Bristol and north to Easton.

The Bridge Commission has provided the first installment in tying together these long-distance biking and walking trails.

What “Trenton Makes” unites, let no indifference put asunder.

“Bike to Work Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle, the many reasons we love to ride, and highlight why bike riding is so great for your health, your community, and the environment,” said Rebecca Hersh, GMTMA’s Transportation Program Coordinator.

“Trenton is slowly but surely becoming a bike-friendly city,” said Dan Fatton, Chair of the Trenton Cycling Revolution. “With the city’s Complete Streets policy recently being ranked 8th best in the country, there is a real opportunity for Trenton to showcase proper implementation and create streets that work for everyone.”

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Trenton’s Nationally Ranked Complete Streets Policy!

Great news today from the National Complete Streets Coalition, the City of Trenton’s Complete Streets resolution, has been ranked 8th best in the country for 2012!
Please read our full press release on this recognition of Trenton’s significant achievement!

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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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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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D&R Greenway through Trenton

Trenton Cycling Revolution was proud to support the City of Trenton’s recent application for bikeway funding from NJDOT. We submitted a letter of support for the NJDOT Bikeway funding application.

One piece of our letter:

“According to the American Community Survey of 2005-09, more than 6% of Trentonians commute to work each day by bike or foot, which is notable. More than 30% of the city’s households do not own a car at all. The road conditions in Trenton are not ideal for bicycling and walking: the bike lane system is fragmented; and parks in our community need serious upgrades.”

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