cart
The VACU River City Half & 5k is nearing sellout! Register today >

South Central – 9th 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 9th 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?

Leon Benjamin: No response.

Michael Jones: I will work with the city administration to develop policies that encourage alternative transportation throughout the city. We need to make public transportation more affordable, and convenient to living, working and playing in Richmond. We need to have parking regulations that balance resident, visitor, and business needs. While also developing bike lanes where possible, that maintains car driver and bike rider safety.

Germika Pegram: No response.

Marcus Squires: I will seek to adopt the Complete Streets Resolution in order to bring a better quality of life to the citizens of Richmonds’ 9th district who do not have the proper infrastructure which they deserve. Citizens of Richmond and any modern American city deserve safe walking and biking infrastructure.

Back to top

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?

Leon Benjamin: No response.

Michael Jones: Budget needs need to be prioritized and city infrastructure has to be at the top of that priority list.

Germika Pegram: No response.

Marcus Squires: I would take into account the limited space in certain areas of the city and would push that our new council seeks to adopt this resolution after reviewing the cost.

Back to top

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?

Leon Benjamin: No response.

Michael Jones: I want to work with the administration to develop a timeline and budget forecasts to work through each of these areas to reach our shared goal by 2030.

Germika Pegram: No response.

Marcus Squires: Vision Zero is a great ideal I would support it’s implementation but would also try to put an end to small traffic circles and resort back to four way stops due to the fact that many people do not know how to use them. I would also push for more speed bumps in residential areas to deter speeding in the 9th as well as lowering speed limits.

Back to top

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?

Leon Benjamin: No response.

Michael Jones: Yes, I support the Bicycle Master Plan, but we need to balance budget needs to make sure we can fulfill all needed infrastructure improvements in the city. City Council needs to clearly communicate its priorities to the administration to give guidance on which projects to work on first

Germika Pegram: No response.

Marcus Squires: I will support a bicycle master plan, but the final development of the plan and implementation would require funds and if at the time we have funds I will work with the council and mayor in order to show them that bicycle infrastructure is needed across the city.

Back to top

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?

Leon Benjamin: No response.

Michael Jones: I support providing any needed funds to all CIP projects.

Germika Pegram: No response.

Marcus Squires: This issue is very important to me and my constituents in the 9th many of whom feel that the city of Richmond has been neglecting our district for years when concerning the CIP budget. When dealing with the implementation of new sidewalks, road updates, and crosswalks. I can not say at this time for sure as to the amount money that could be allocated but understand this is a very important issue and is one of the reasons I am running for council.

Back to top

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?

Leon Benjamin: No response.

Michael Jones: No, I do not support converting these small parcels into parks. Yes, I do support increasing park maintenance funding. Because we have done such a poor job maintaining the parks we currently have to add more would overwhelm the parks department. The city need to look for alternative ways to help these communities…. Like using existing school buildings as afternoon and weekend recreation centers.

Germika Pegram: No response.

Marcus Squires: Currently the city in my opinion can not afford simple services such as mowing the grass, bulk pick up and leaf collection. This would cost the city more money which we do not have, once we can get our public services under control then this could be researched further.

Back to top

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