Mayoral Runoff Questionnaire

 

 

MAYORAL QUESTIONNAIRE

December 1, 2017

 VIEW EASY TO READ PDF HERE

 

 

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 Keisha Lance Bottoms

 

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Mary Norwood

Do you support establishing a citywide goal of zero traffic deaths and serious injuries through Vision Zero or a similar program?

YES

YES

As mayor, will you support asking the state legislature to authorize use of automated speed cameras to reduce high-speed traffic crashes?

YES

UNDECIDED

The city currently sponsors Atlanta Streets Alive. As Mayor, will you commit to continuing that support?

YES

YES

Will you commit to allocating $2.5 million in the General Fund to maintain eliminate gaps in the bike lane network and to maintain bike facilities?

YES

YES

Do you support standardizing the speed limit for residential streets to no higher than 25 mph, to improve safety, prevent road fatalities, and influence future design changes?

YES

YES

As mayor, will you support a fee on private, paid parking spaces in order to raise money for active transportation projects and to encourage people to choose transit?

YES

UNDECIDED


 1. The population of Atlanta is likely to double in the years ahead. What transportation-related policy changes and investments will you make to enable Atlanta to handle the expected surge in population, jobs, and traffic?

 

Keisha Lance Bottoms

Mary Norwood

I think the City needs a smarter, more nimble, stand-alone Department of Transportation. Currently, transportation is divided between the City Planning and Public Works Departments. This split has been a hindrance for us and I will change that. I commit to having the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition at the table as this new Department is stood up and staffed.

 

Significant planning and community engagement has already gone into the City's Atlanta City Design book. My administration will be guided by the framework established in that book. Additionally, I believe strongly that development must be concentrated around (within 1/2 mile) of MARTA stations. The projected growth in people cannot come with the same number of cars.

The MARTA referendum TSPLOST mass transit funds should be invested for purposes such as:

 

  • Campbellton Road and Clifton Road light rail projects;
  • Greenbriar and Moores Mill Transit Centers
  • Service frequency improvements;
  • System-wide bus route improvements;
  • I-20 West Hard Rail Expansion; Rail station enhancements;
  • Improving traffic light and highway meter synchronization by upgrading outdated and obsolete technology;
  • Improving pedestrian safety through the installation of additional crosswalks and code enforcement;
  • Increasing the number of bike lanes and enhancing bike lane safety to allow for more usage and improve traffic flow;
  • Increasing bus network to better accommodate those who work in the city but reside outside Atlanta;
  • Improving existing roads and highways to create more highway connectors around Atlanta and within the city to provide alternative routes to reduce heavy congestion.

 

2. Atlanta often focuses more on big signature projects than on little things that can make the city more livable, accessible, and safe. What will you do in the first 90 days to improve biking, walking, access to transit - or all of the above?

 

Keisha Lance Bottoms

Mary Norwood

In the first 90 days, I will commit City funds to expand access to the city's bike share program. The growth and usage of Relay has been impressive and that has happened without direct city funds. I applaud the public-private partnership model, but know that we can make the bikes more accessible to city employees and others through subsidized memberships. When the new Mayor takes office, the City will begin planning for the FY2019 budget. I will double the City's funding support for Streets Alive to allow the Atlanta Bike Coalition to double the number of Streets Alive events. When Atlantans experience our streets in a car-free way, they begin to understand the possibilities of other modes of transportation. We need more champions in Atlanta of car-light living. Streets Alive allows us all to experience that in a tangible way. Policy is important, but experience is transformative.

There will be a full review and reassessment of current city policies regarding biking and pedestrian safety and related access to transit followed by development of a revised plan to address identified needs in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders including MARTA, the Atlanta Departments of Public Safety, the Atlanta Public Schools and other relevant city departments and neighborhood associations.

 

3. What is more important to you: mitigating automobile congestion or facilitating bicycling and walking?

 

Keisha Lance Bottoms

Mary Norwood

I think they go hand in hand. Mitigating auto congestion, in my mind, does not mean building more roads. I understand that more roads, wider roads, etc. mean more cars and more congestion, not less.

We support achieving both objectives and any feasible solution to automobile congestion certainly must include effectively addressing biking and pedestrian concerns.

 

4. Traffic fatalities, especially among people walking and driving, are soaring in metro Atlanta and elsewhere in the state. What strategies will you use to reverse that trend and increase safety for all transportation modes?

 

Keisha Lance Bottoms

Mary Norwood

I have committed to making Atlanta a Vision Zero city. I will commit to making this initiative central to the portfolio of a senior policy staffer in my Administration. Where we can reduce traffic speeds to below 30 mph, we should do that immediately. And on high-accident thoroughfares likes DeKalb Avenue and Memorial Drive, I will direct the COO to convene a team of City and GDOT engineers to determine immediate and near-term corrective measures that can be implemented through T-SPLOST or Renew dollars.

As part of a reassessment of city policies regarding biking and pedestrian safety we will develop new strategies to make our city streets safer by continuing to install smart pedestrian crossings, left turn arrows on traffic signals, additional turn lanes on major streets and continuing to replace out of date traffic signaling and installing additional signals and four-way stop signs where needed. Additional traffic cameras should be installed at key intersections for use in prosecuting violators.

 

 

5. Many people resist changes to their streets, even if they increase safety for the most vulnerable road users. Some fear road diets will increase traffic congestion. Others are concerned bike lanes will trigger gentrification. As mayor, what will you do to build consensus on implementing projects that make our streets safe for walking and riding bicycles?

 

Keisha Lance Bottoms

Mary Norwood

People will only stop fighting us over street changes when they understand that their quality of life will be improved when a number of Atlantans decide to get out of their cars for even just one trip a day. I think the best way to educate Atlantans and have more of us clamoring for safer walking and biking options is to have them experience Streets Alive.

As mayor I will work with NPUs and neighborhood associations in collaboration with the police department, Atlanta Public Schools and organizations such as yours to make out streets safer for all of us no matter where we live in Atlanta. Plans for a specific neighborhood will only be implemented following public forums where all stakeholders have had the opportunity to present their point of view and a final plan has been developed that best conforms to the needs of that community.

 

6. What will you do to make sure bike share is both available and affordable in low-income communities?

 

Keisha Lance Bottoms

Mary Norwood

See my answer to the second question. This has been on my mind for some time now. I will prioritize expansion of the program in low-income communities and commit to engaging families in bike awareness and safety through the City's Centers of Hope.

 

We will offer incentives for bike share providers to install bike racks in all neighborhoods adjacent to major city parks. There must be a commitment on the part of vendors to a citywide installation of bike racks based on a feasibility study that will determine goals and how best to achieve related objectives that will satisfy the needs in a specific neighborhood.

 

7. The Atlanta BeltLine project has fallen far short of its goal of providing affordable housing. Meanwhile, the soaring cost of homes and apartments in surrounding neighborhoods has created risks that the project will displace the city's poorer residents with wealthier ones. As mayor, what changes will you institute to fulfill the promise of an equitable BeltLine where Atlanta truly comes together?

 

Keisha Lance Bottoms

Mary Norwood

I believe the recent adoption of inclusionary zoning around the Beltline will have a significant positive impact on this issue. Through this legislation, Atlanta is requiring developers who want to build in the best areas to embrace our commitment to affordability. We have to demand more of developers. And, the City will have to be aggressive in leveraging our own assets to co-develop with those who are willing to partner, as in the case of the Lofts at Reynoldstown Crossing.

 

There must be a renewed conversation that will include Beltline officials, neighborhood associations, developers and other relevant stakeholders initiated by the next mayor to update the original plans for the Beltline and bring Beltline community objectives back into focus with targeted plans for implementation. Key goals such as for affordable housing have received little attention from city planners or developers and this trend must be reversed. New and renovated Beltline developments will be expected to comply with the city's stated objective of at least 20 percent affordable units in all Beltline residential developments.

 

8. Do you support allocating part of the MARTA sales tax funding to affordable housing near transit stations? Why or why not? If not, what other ideas would you propose?

 

Keisha Lance Bottoms

Mary Norwood

The city and MARTA need to be aligned on an affordable housing strategy that does more than "promote" affordability. I think MARTA's Transit Oriented Development policy around affordable housing should be more aggressive. And I am very interested in exploring the legal possibilities of earmarking MARTA funds for housing.

 

Taking office we must first conduct a full forensic audit of all city funds and accounts. Once this process is completed anyMARTA T-SPLOST funds that remain uncommitted will be needed to address public transportation priorities identified in our response to Question One. Affordable housing needs adjacent to MARTA stations can be addressed in collaboration with Invest Atlanta, the Atlanta Housing Authority, MARTA, developers and neighborhood associations and we commit to doing so.

 

9. Reducing parking requirements for new developments would increase the safety and competitiveness of walking, riding bicycles, and using public transit. Do you support reducing parking requirements? Why or why not?

 

Keisha Lance Bottoms

Mary Norwood

I support reduced parking requirements 100%. Our zoning and building codes should reflect the new realities of urban living and transportation.

 

City parking policy requires a complete reassessment. This process will include the development of a new parking zoning and parking policy in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders including [the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition]. Yes, reducing parking can encourage people to utilize alternative modes of transportation but any decision regarding parking policy must attempt to balance this objective with the economics of encouraging new businesses and sustaining existing ones in our neighborhoods where we live and enjoy the diversity and choices made possible by a high quality of urban life.

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