Council District 4 Republican Candidate: Samuel J. Hurst
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1. Do you use a bicycle (or walk) in the city? If so, for what purposes (commuting, recreation, errands) and how often?
I own a Bicycle and I love taking my daughter on the South Water, Eliza Furnace and Montour Trails. When I bike, it is mainly for recreation/exercise.
2. What roles do you think city council can play in making cities safe, accessible and friendly for biking and walking?
We need to understand the vehicular lanes, Bike Lanes and Sidewalks all serve a purpose in keeping everyone safe. When new streets are designed/repaved using the Complete Streets design, City Council can create mandates that bicyclists are to remain within “Bike Lanes”, unless obstructed by, but not limited to, snow, loading vehicles and “stopped” cars (such as, but not limited to Paratransit, Taxis and Limos loading and unloading passengers with disabilities, the elderly, etc).
To keep Bicyclists safe, City Council can also introduce legislation requiring that like cars, bicyclists must pass on the left and left ONLY.
City Council can also work with Law Enforcement to make sure Cyclists who blatantly disregard Red Lights, “Yield to Pedestrian” Signs and Stop Signs are ticketed appropriately. Every time a Bicyclist disregards these laws, they put themselves, Pedestrians and Motorists’ lives and well being, including children, at risk.
3. In what ways can enhanced bicycling and walking facilities and opportunities benefit your district and the city as a whole? Are there any specific projects that you’d like to see accomplished?
Enhanced Bicycling and Walking can make it easier for Residents and those visiting within District Four to get from Point A to Point B safely.
I would not oppose any Share Bicycling Plan for the City of Pittsburgh simply because there weren’t enough/any stations within my District.
4. Pittsburgh was chosen to host the 2014 Pro Walk/Pro Bike Conference, which is expected to draw 1,000 biking and walking planners, engineers, government officials, and advocates from around the country, the largest gathering of it’s kind. Their focus is on biking and walking as means of getting around, with less focus on recreation. If you could put one project in place to “show off” your district, what would it be? Will you direct your staff to attend the conference to further their professional development?
I don’t see District Four being a prime District for Bicycling Projects. I wouldn’t object to any staff member of mine attending the conference. I would, however, like to address some of the deteriorating pedestrian staircases throughout District Four so that it is easier and safer to get around District Four.
5. In just about every neighborhood throughout the city, one of the top concerns is drivers driving too fast, aggressively, and not yielding to pedestrians. What ideas do you have to calm traffic and make our neighborhoods safer and more comfortable in which to walk and bike? Feel free to talk about particular problem spots in your district.
These are legitimate concerns.
I blame speeding in District Four on two major issues.
One is the lack of actually highways. Many people believe that roads like SR 19 (Banksville Road), Truck SR 19 (West Liberty Avenue), SR 51 (Saw Mill Run Boulevard) and SR 88 (Library Road) are highways. They are not. They are 35 MPH roads which are choked with traffic daily. Somehow, the South End and South Hills received the short end of the stick when it comes to highways. We need a Parkway South.
Two, is our inability to have lights timed. I believe it was the 1970s when Forbes Avenue in Oakland became one way eastbound. At the same time, someone decided it was a smart idea to time the lights so that those traveling the speed limit would hit every green light. Two lane roads are a bit harder to time, but I believe with 21st Century Technology, we can do it. We should give timing priorities traveling with Peak Directions (ie, inbound along Brownsville Rd, Saw Mill Run Blvd, West Liberty Ave, Brookline Blvd and Banksville Rd in the AM Commute, and reverse that in the evening commute and after major events.)
Another issue is that in Carrick there are three schools within a mile either on or near Brownsville Road, forcing traffic to a near standstill during rush hour traffic. As the Speed Limit is dropped to 15 MPH at three locations along this major corridor, I believe it may lead motorists to speed elsewhere to make up lost time. Add to this dozens of school bus stops force traffic to a grinding halt. I believe City Council should work with the Pittsburgh Public Schools to encourage future Schools and current School Bus Stops to be located away from Major though fares and be place on Secondary Roads. However, I would like to make it perfectly clear that I am NOT proposing we move any current schools at this time.
I believe working to keep major though fares at their posted Speed Limits as consistently as possible will help reduce aggressive driving and speeding.
Encouraging Pedestrians to use Crosswalks and not to cross during a DON’T WALK sign, especially when traffic has the right of way via a Left or Right Green Arrow, should help reduce Pedestrian Vs Bike/Automobile related incidents. Ticketing Bikes and Automobiles who blatantly disregard Pedestrians who look both ways, have the right of way and are clearly within a Crosswalk should help protect Pedestrians as well.
6. Given Pittsburgh’s relatively low rate of car ownership and the recent transit cuts, what specific ideas do you have to make active transportation choices like biking and walking more appealing?
I feel some are concerned about the Safety in their neighborhood. No matter if someone chooses to bike, walk, drive or skate to their destination, I believe everyone has the right to feel safe. As the residents’ of District Four voice in City Council, I have promised to work on Police Staffing issues so everyone feels safe in their neighborhood at home and in transit.
I would have no objections to putting Bike Racks or even a Bike Corral in any area of District Four where there isn’t serious protest/concern.
7. What do you think is the number one risk to walkers and bicyclists both in your district and the city as a whole? What will you do as an elected official to remedy it?
I see some Bicyclists and even Pedestrians erratic and blatant disregard for traffic signals/stop signs as the number one safety concern. I also see Pedestrians just walk out into the streets in the Central Business District, E Carson St in South Side on Friday and Saturday evenings and near the Stadiums during special events.
As a City Councilman, I would like to work with Law Enforcement to make sure that all Traffic Signs, Cross Walks and Traffic Light Laws are being obeyed.
8. What are your ideas for securing funding sources for biking and walking projects?
I would have no objection to private donations/endowments/funds being used for Biking and Walking Projects.
I would also like to find funding to repair crumbing roads, sidewalks and public stairs so that all residents, including Bicyclists and Walkers, can be able to use. I believe that Transportation Funding, including funds to re-pave roads, should be at the top of the Budget List, not the bottom. We should not spend money on Feel Good Funding, and after a budget is completed, then demand higher taxes and fees to fund Government’s Core Functions, such as Transportation.
9. In conclusion, why do you think people who care about bicycling and walking issues should vote for you?
I think that those who care about safe streets, sidewalks, public stairs and safety in general should vote for me because I will strive hard to focus on Government’s Core Functions, such as Public Safety and Transportation.