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Northside – 3rd District

For the 2016 City of Richmond elections, Bike Walk RVA administered a candidate questionnaire to each person running for City Council to see where they stand on issues relating to biking and walking in Richmond. We asked questions on the following five topics, and the responses from candidates running in the 3rd District are recorded below:

Transportation Equity
Complete Streets
Vision Zero
Infrastructure Projects
Funding
Parks

Note: Sports Backers is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and does not support or oppose candidates or political parties. Bike Walk RVA’s candidate questionnaire is strictly educational in nature.

QUESTION 1 – TRANSPORTATION EQUITY

Biking and walking not only improves public health, but it is a prevalent form of transportation for people who can’t afford a car and/or gas, are too young to drive, or are not mentally or physically able to drive. According to Census data, nearly 22 percent of Richmond households do not own or otherwise have access to a car. The challenge for Richmond is to increase access to safe biking and walking opportunities for all citizens.

What measures can we expect your administration to take to expand access to safe walking and biking infrastructure for all residents?

Milondra Coleman: In my effort to expand access to safe walking and biking infrastructure for all Richmond residents, I would (1) revive and push for the adoption of already existing biking and walking resolutions; and (2) work with others to secure the local, state and national funds necessary for increased biking and walking infrastructure in Richmond.

Dorian Daniels: No response.

Hassan Fountain: No response.

Chris Hilbert: Our sidewalks are in dangerous disrepair. We have many elderly citizens and, frankly, small children, who could trip and hurt themselves. We need to repair our sidewalks and we need to invest in building new ones. I supported the Bike Master Plan as a way to expand access. We also have initiated BikeShare and building more bike racks.

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QUESTION 2 – COMPLETE STREETS

In October of 2014, Richmond City Council passed a Complete Streets Resolution (No. 2014-R172-170) that states the City will – within one year – modify street design and construction manuals, codes, ordinances, and standards to reflect that “all transportation improvement projects in the city be planned for, designed, and constructed to provide appropriate accommodation for persons of all ages and abilities, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit passengers, and motorists, while promoting safe operations for all users.” Nearly two years later, these changes have not been adopted.

If elected to City Council, how would you work with the administration to help implement the City’s Complete Streets Policy?

Milondra Coleman: I would engage in several actions to help implement the City’s Complete Streets Policy. First, I would ask that we revisit the resolution. Subsequently, I would engage in the work necessary to move the policy from a resolution to an ordinance. A resolution is less formal than an ordinance and typically it is just an expression of the Council’s opinion whereas an ordinance is a rule established by authority. As a part of working to move the policy from a resolution to an ordinance, I would work with the administration to let as many of the citizenry know about the benefits of a Complete Streets ordinance–not a resolution.

Dorian Daniels: No response.

Hassan Fountain: No response.

Chris Hilbert: I supported and continue to support the Complete Streets resolution.  With a bike coordinator in place, I will work closely with him on implementation of the plan. I will advocate for accomplishing the goals of this resolution expeditiously. I am happy to assist and work with any departments that need assistance to prepare for implementation.

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QUESTION 3 – VISION ZERO

Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all. On March 7, 2016, Richmond City Council passed a Vision Zero Resolution (No. 2016-R011) that “supports the development of a Vision Zero program for the City of Richmond with the goal of reducing traffic fatalities and serious injuries in road traffic to zero by the year 2030.”

If elected to City Council, what additional policy steps would you work to put in place to improve education, engineering, enforcement, and emergency response with the purpose of achieving zero traffic-related deaths and serious injuries by 2030?

Milondra Coleman: As Ross Catrow shared in an article in RVANews, I would do the following to move toward the goal of achieving zero traffic-related deaths and serious injuries by 2030: (1) look at existing danger zones and put traffic engineers to work to make them safer; (2) push for increased enforcement of existing laws, especially speeding,  which help prevent fatalities and injuries and (3) educate, via social media and television, the public on the present number of Richmond traffic fatalities and serious injuries and how to maneuver safety while moving about the City.

Dorian Daniels: No response.

Hassan Fountain: No response.

Chris Hilbert: I supported Vision Zero. We want our bike riders, our pedestrians and our car drivers to be able to navigate Richmond streets safely. We need to enforce our traffic laws and ensure we are protecting our citizens, particularly bike riders and pedestrians who are so vulnerable on streets with cars. We need to provide bicycle education so bike riders understand the law and know how they can ride most safely. We need to increase barrier protected bike lanes.

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QUESTION 4 – INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS

In May of 2015, the City of Richmond finished work on the city’s first Bicycle Master Plan, which calls for the implementation of 135 miles of new bikeways by 2025. By the end of 2016, the city will have 25 miles of bikeways on the ground, all of which have been “low hanging fruit”. However, the Bicycle Master Plan has yet to be officially adopted by Richmond City Council. In addition, few if any of our new bikeways connect to each other or major destinations.

If elected to City Council, would you support adoption of the Bicycle Master Plan? If so, how would you work with the administration to grow the mileage of bikeways in Richmond to fill in the gaps and form a connected network?

Milondra Coleman: I love that Richmond’s first Bicycle Master Plan is billed as a living document. As such, I can easily support adoption of the Bicycle Master Plan because that means it can be edited and revised as necessary. Regarding the issue of editing the document, I would be more than comfortable going to the authors of the Bicycle Master Plan and asking them to create connected networks that would make the bikeways even more useful to all who were using bicycles for transportation. Subsequently, I would seek local, state and federal funds in an effort grow the mileage of bikeways in Richmond; fill in the gaps; and form a connected network.

Dorian Daniels: No response.

Hassan Fountain: No response.

Chris Hilbert: I support the Bicycle Master Plan. We can use a combination of bike trails that are not adjacent to roadways, increase barrier protected bike lanes to make them more attractive to bikers and institute contra flow lanes where they are advisable.

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QUESTION 5 – FUNDING

Establishing safe and accessible places for people to bike and walk for transportation will require additional funding for capital projects, either in the form of Federal grants, State revenue-sharing, or the City’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP). In May of 2016, Mayor Jones proposed $500,000 in the FY2017 CIP budget for bicycle infrastructure – more than any previous fiscal year – in addition to funding for sidewalks, crosswalks, and traffic calming. Furthermore, City Council added $300,000 to the FY 2017 CIP budget to fully fund the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge, a walking and biking bridge from Brown’s Island to Manchester.

Do you support pursuing additional funding (in the CIP or other sources) for biking and walking infrastructure? If yes, how much?

Milondra Coleman: If Richmond is going to be a City that promotes equity (fairness and justice), then we must establish safe and accessible places, for the 22% of our population who do not have cars,  to bike and walk for transportation. As such, I completely support additional funding for biking and walking infrastructure. After using the $800,000 already proposed by Mayor Jones and the current City Council members, I would support another $800,000 of funding for this project as I know that the currently proposed funds will not be enough to complete the project.

Dorian Daniels: No response.

Hassan Fountain: No response.

Chris Hilbert: I am particularly interested in increasing funding for the sidewalk repair and building I mentioned above. We also need better road maintenance. There is no excuse for the craters and potholes that pock our streets and can cause accidents and car and bike damage.

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QUESTION 6 – PARKS

Parks and recreation facilities provide opportunities for physical activity and can help people of all ages lead a more active lifestyle. People who live near parks are more likely to be active. However, some lower-income communities and communities of color tend to have less access to quality parks and recreation facilities. While park use has dramatically increased in the City of Richmond, the funding for maintaining the parks has stayed level or dropped.

Do you support the conversion of small parcels of city owned land into parks that serve the immediate neighborhood? Do you support increasing park maintenance funding? If yes, by how much?

Milondra Coleman: In an era where many people are working to combat obesity, I am definitely in favor of building more facilities, such as parks, that will provide opportunities for physical activity and a more active lifestyle. At present, it seems that some of Richmond’s park and recreation facilities are in need of maintenance funding. And while there may not be many funding opportunities currently available at the local level, funding is potentially available at the state and federal government levels, via grants, endowments, trusts as well as through fees and charges. Two potential federal funding sources are the Community Development Block Grant for capital improvement and federal funds that come through the highway administration. Those funds are administrated by each individual state through the Community Transportation Enhancement program. Armed with that knowledge, I would be willing to request whatever amount was necessary to adequately maintain our city’s parks.

Dorian Daniels: No response.

Hassan Fountain: No response.

Chris Hilbert: I have been and continue to be a big supporter of Richmond’s park system. I think it would be wonderful for neighborhoods to have small parks within their confines. However, we need to recognize that city funding is limited and we would need volunteers to clean up and maintain those small facilities. We could provide limited help and supplies for neighborhoods willing to engage in that. Richmond has a wonderful system of neighborhoods associations and I am confident they could fulfill this role.

My one caution would be that some of these vacant lots are usable and could be sold. The city, again, in need of resources, could gain a profit and the ensuing building might provide jobs and/or pay taxes back to the City. This potential use of any vacant lot has to be considered in these very tight financial times. We just need to ensure that any potential use or building on the lot conforms to the master plan.

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Want to know how other City Council candidates responded to our questionnaire? Review their answers here!