Friday, November 22, 2013

Which Mayoral Candidate will best promote active transportation in Newark?

There are many issues at hand in Newark's upcoming Mayoral election, but getting more people on bikes is key to addressing lots of them. These include a more vibrant local economy, less traffic, less noise, better health, more parking for those who truly need it, and a whole host of other benefits that come with reduced auto dependency.

Dr. Amy Roe
The ideal candidate will think creatively in terms of reducing congestion downtown, not encouraging more of it as some would suggest - and even think is desirable. For example, if the City surveyed motorists parking on Main Street, they would find a large percentage that live within walking or biking distance. Converting just some of these trips would have a very positive impact on our quality of life downtown. The City should repair its apparently damaged relationship with the University of Delaware, and work jointly to offer serious car-free or car-lite incentives to students who live within a mile of Main Street. Car sharing services could also be offered. Ideas like these, and a strong backing of Newark's Bicycle and Transportation Plan, is smart thinking - and exactly why Delaware Bikes has endorsed Amy Roe for Mayor.

Here are some statements from Newark's Mayoral candidates, from both Bike Delaware and Delaware Online surveys, that might indicate how serious they are about bicycling and active transportation. 

Donald DelCollo
  • "Taking a 1960’s traffic infrastructure and reshaping in into something that is capable of handling our actual present and future needs."
  • Making downtown Newark a more parking friendly place."
  • "Adding more downtown Parking. To help the University show its good will toward the residents of Newark and since it basically surrounds Main Street stopping the possibility of us adding anymore ground level parking."
  • Noted that Newark Natural Foods donated $2,485 to the Newark Bike Project.
Robyn Harland
  • "[B]ad knees prevent me from biking. But I do support your [bicycling] efforts due to the large college environment."
  • I am NOT in FAVOR of building a Wawa on this corner."
Mark Morehead
  • “I have enjoyed bicycling since a very young age. My grandmother lived out in the country, so I had to bike several miles each way to buy penny candy at the one shop in her village. I rode my bike to school every day in good weather.  In college, I would often go out for a 20-25 mile loop, rather than studying some more physics. I eventually moved to Canberra, Australia, one of the truly great biking cities in the world.  I biked throughout the park system, exploring the far corners of the region. While Canberra has the luxury of being a planned community, I believe we can work towards building an interconnected path system in Newark and the surrounding areas. I welcome the opportunity to spread the word about the many benefits of biking.”
Rebecca Powers
  • "As mayor I will ensure that we proactively address both infrastructure challenges - such as storm water management, traffic and transportation - and land use, including student housing."
Amy Roe
  • "The implementation of Newark’s Bicycle Plan as part of a comprehensive transportation plan is a priority for me. I have been a bicyclist in Newark since my youth and I support bicycling for transportation and recreation.
  • The sharrows on Main Street have greatly improved bicycle safety and I would like to see those expanded throughout Newark, as well as a cycle track on Delaware Avenue to improve safety and the bikability of our town.
  • Newark’s Bicycle Committee is an important group that provides leadership and expertise on bicycle issues. I would like this group to receive the respect that it deserves by raising it to the level of a city committee. This would eliminate ambiguity in reporting and would enable plans developed by the Bicycle Committee to be better integrated into discussions by our City Council and implemented by staff for generations to come.
  • I am committed to improving access to affordable bicycles and bicycle repair, and am one of the nine founders of the Newark Bike Project.
  • I believe we should all share the street, and I support the integration of complete streets in city planning. Bicycling has been, and will continue to be, important to Newarkers."
  • "I oppose the development of new gas pumps on South Main Street."
Polly Sierer
  • "Overall quality of life is something that we as a City need to address - including environmental matters, parking and traffic, and helping the homeless."
Mathew Vento
  • "Traffic and Parking - specifically Main St. and Delaware Ave. If there are signals at the crosswalks the traffic would move more smoothly and it would be safer for the students who often prefer to text rather than look both ways while crossing the street."
  • "I support the Wawa being built with gas pumps."
  • "This [bicycling] is very important to our city."
Whatever/whoever you decide, if you live in the Newark, it is important you go out and VOTE on November 26th. Vote for bicycling and quality of life in Newark, and to make our streets safe and usable for everyone.
Amy Roe, fifth from the left, is one of the founders of the Newark Bike Project in 2011.

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