City Council District 1 Candidates respond to biking and walking issues

Since 2009, BikePGH has been educating our members and facebook and twitter followers on how committed the candidates are to improving your experience and safety while biking and walking.

We’ve collected questionnaires from nearly every City Council candidate for the upcoming general election in November. If you are unsure what district you live in, please see the City’s website. You can also find your polling location here. You must be registered in order to vote.

BikePGH is not allowed to endorse candidates. Answers have been lightly edited for formatting, otherwise these are their words.

Bike Walk Vote the General Election on Tuesday, November 5

District 1 Candidates:

Malcolm Jarrett

Chris Rosselot

Bobby Wilson


Question 1: What roles do you think the city council can play in making cities safe, accessible and friendly for residents to walk and bike?

Malcolm Jarrett: No response

Chris Rosselot: Infrastructure is key. Without a strong advocate for improved sidewalks and roadways, walking and biking is not going to become easier.

Bobby Wilson: City Council has control over the capital budget and there are multiple projects and infrastructure improvements that can be done to address the needs of walkers and bikers. A City Councilor can also be an outspoken advocate and a source of ideas to improve the scope and quality of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. As leaders in our city, members of the Council must take advantage of their platform to ensure that multi-modal transportation infrastructure remains at the top of the city’s agenda. We can forge partnerships between the advocacy community, our neighborhoods, and the government to build a cohesive push for improved safety and accessibility.

I have some ideas for how we can achieve these important goals. We must add more bike lanes and improve connectivity between our bike trails and on-street bike lanes to expand access between local business districts, recreation opportunities, and residential areas. We must invest more in street maintenance and repair, and view all construction as an opportunity to engage in a complete street design review process with a focus on pedestrian and bicycle safety. We can also install more all-way pedestrian crosswalks to improve safety, and add traffic cameras at busy intersections to provide video evidence in the unfortunate event of an accident.

Question 2: We’d like to hear your thoughts on the expanding bike lane network over the past decade. What’s working? Where can the City improve?

Malcolm Jarrett: No response

Chris Rosselot: Any big city accommodates for bikers and I am glad that we are too. I do think that some of the bike lanes near schools and ‘off the beaten’ path could be improved upon so that drivers have much needed access to parking, etc. I also would like to see a clearer plan on where the bike lanes are to be put next. While I know these plans exist, I have received feedback from the community that the bikes lanes ‘just pop up overnight’. Perceptions like these are hard to combat after the fact.

Bobby Wilson: I fully support the significant efforts over the past decade to install more bike lanes throughout Pittsburgh. Incorporating the repainting of bike lanes when streets are repaved has been very successful. We should include the repainting of crosswalks with the repaving as well. There is certainly more to do so the streets are for everyone.

There must be better implementation of the complete streets design when we are repaving the streets. There are crosswalks and traffic calming measures that should be added that are currently being overlooked. We must continue the expansion of bike lanes in a thoughtful and strategic way that is sensitive to the needs of each community. My focus would be on adding protected bike lanes to the larger roads that still lack them, and filling in the missing sections of street to ensure uninterrupted safety and accessibility. On the Council, I would be a voice for bringing more funding to support these critical infrastructure investments. At the end of the day, bike lanes and trails make transportation safer not only for our cyclists, but for our drivers as well, ensuring that everyone can share the road and get where they’re going safely.

Question 3: Large parts of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail in your district is in desperate need of repair. For instance, the Chateau Trail is collapsing into the river. What steps can City Council take to address these issues before it’s too late?

Malcolm Jarrett: No response

Chris Rosselot: This is basic infrastructure improvement, not to mention safety. It also makes economic sense that we keep this connection between some of our neighborhoods viable.

Bobby Wilson:Restoring the Chateau Trail and other trails are just as important as filling potholes and repaving roads. Council can use Parks and Rec, and Public Works funds to repair trails.

We must include trail maintenance in the landslide section of the budget. By doing so, we can be assured that our main biking highways have long term protection from being washed away. I view repairing the Chateau Trail and others like it as equally important to repairing potholes and repaving roads. Both serve as vital transportation arteries. The residents of District 1 deserve world-class transportation infrastructure, and as the District 1 Councilman, I would be committed to delivering that by leveraging resources from the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Public Works to repair our bike trails.

Question 4: What’s a particularly dangerous problem or location in your district for walkers, bikers, or people with disabilities that you’d like to see addressed?

Malcolm Jarrett: No response

Chris Rosselot: Spring Garden’s sidewalk situation is a difficult one. One of the main reasons is that we have a lot of abandoned houses and elderly homeowners in our neighborhood. Redoing a sidewalk on a fixed income is not an easy task to accomplish.

Bobby Wilson: Complete streets are a fantastic program that have been very successful citywide in improving safety for bikers, pedestrians, and people with disabilities. However, we have little evidence of any repaved streets in District 1 that underwent a comprehensive analysis to implement the complete streets design. As the District 1 Councilman, I would be a strong advocate for bringing this program and its many benefits into our neighborhoods.

Question 5: In conclusion, why do you think people who care about bicycling and walking issues should vote for you?

Malcolm Jarrett: No response

Chris Rosselot: I care about infrastructure. Walkers and bikers alike will benefit from the attention I plan to give to this topic. For me, this is a plain view and common sense issue to address. If elected to City Council, you can bet this will be at the top of my list.

Bobby Wilson: I am a strong and consistent supporter of the expansion of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. I understand the power these investments have to make our communities more livable and vibrant. As a lifetime Northsider and a civic leader, I have spent years advocating for improving our community. As your representative on the Council, I would leverage that experience toward bringing more resources to double down on District 1’s bicycle and pedestrian amenities.


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