As the community gets ready for election day on November 6th,
is preparing to mail our non-partisan voter guides featuring the results of interviews with each of the candidates for
Charlottesville City Council
Albemarle County Board of Supervisors
Over the next few weeks, this blog will feature some of the questions that did
make the cut for the voter guide, but which still offer important insights into the candidates’ views on local growth and development issues.
Election Watch 2007 website
includes the complete audio and written transcript for each candidate interview.
Subscribe to our e-mails
to get immediate notification of the availability of the
2007 Voter Guides
. The content below are excerpts pulled from the verbatim transcripts.
CITY COUNCIL, THIRD IN A SERIES
What are your views on working more closely with the County and the University of Virginia to jointly operate a regional transit system? What will you do to promote the use of public transportation, pedestrian trails, and bicycle paths?
David Brown (D)-Incumbent
: I think that working more closely with the County and University is critically important to expanding transit and I think that we’re moving in that direction with the Regional Transit Authority. I think the trade is that the City be willing to give up sole control over the transit system but in return, the County has to dramatically increase funding…
The University of Virginia may or may not be part of a regional transit authority but we shouldn’t overlook the fact that the University and the City Transit System currently work very well together…
The second question—to promote transit transportation. You know, I think the best way to promote the use of public transportation, pedestrian trails and bicycle paths is to improve them…. I think we need to expand bike lanes so people feel like they have a safe commute on their bike and not a mostly safe commute on their bike and we need to have more sidewalks and we need to make sure our crosswalks are safe and I think we’re taking strides in that direction…
Holly Edwards (D)-Challenger
: As I mentioned in the previous response, a joint transportation [system] ideally will only work if all the key players are at the table. And I think that promoting the use of public transportation, pedestrian trails, bicycle paths, is consistent with the health and wellness message that I like to promote to encourage more physical activity. If people would just get out of their car they would increase the amount of time that they would just be moving which would be a plus. Even if people never change their eating habits, just moving more will make a big difference.
Barbara Haskins (I)-Challenger
: …[T]he Meadowcreek Parkway should be having bike and pedestrian trails so that will open up some miles of usage, and I just talked about intersections where non-vehicles have no clear access lanes… UVA is sort of like the big castle on the hill, and it has a drawbridge and it lets that bridge up and down as it sees fit and… right now I can understand UVA saying we have a system that works well, and what, what is the guarantee that by joining a larger system we’re not just hurting ourselves?…
…I think you have two different populations you’re talking about. One are the people that lack access to a vehicle and for them, buses or taxi cabs are their main way of wheeled transport. For those people, the goal would be to give them enough access to their destinations in somewhat of a user-friendly fashion including Sundays, which I know they’ve just started, which is a good thing…
Now you can punish people by really making parking more expensive, or you can incentivize it by having really juicy parking spaces for car-poolers…
And lastly, if I were going to do a pie in the sky thing, I would wonder about jitneys, because when you go to foreign countries there’s always jitneys which are just like minivans run by private individuals, and they just cruise a road, and if you stand on the corner, you know a jitney is going to be here within five or ten minutes…
Satyendra Huja (D)-Challenger
: Well, we are one community in many ways, so I think a joint transit system would be very useful and very good, because then you don’t have to have three systems running around, and it can be one community. But a joint system needs to be a system in which each jurisdiction has an equitable share of revenues and costs for operation. There is a major expense, and we can get a lot of money from capital equipment, but not for operations, so we need to share equitably…
As to the bike and trails and sidewalks, I support those also, but also not only support in philosophy and principle, but also in support of the funding for those facilities so that we could have a network, an interconnected network, of bikeways and sidewalks.
Peter Kleeman (I)-Challenger
: …We do have a Metropolitan Planning Organization of which the City is a member and we have two City Councilors that sit on the policy making board of that and I would certainly be a strong promoter of actually expanding that body to have much more cooperation. Right now, the University is not a voting member of that body…. The University has some influence, so my feeling is clearly all of these parties would have to get together and work out a meaningful relationship within their own charters and their own objectives, but I would like to see some real active partnership where there’s more of a discussion.
…I am a strong believer in looking at new technology as it becomes available… when I was part of the ACCT, the Alliance for Community, Choice and Transportation, there was a Blue Moon Foundation-funded project to look at a transit option which is the Downtown Trolley, a rail-based system that was originally designed or considered to link the city center and the University… I certainly would support expanding coverage of transit in the community and I would also certainly link the notion of walk-ability and bike-ability to transit, so all of those I think enhance the use of transit for people who want to get to places in the City.
Some of the other things that I would do… Well, I think that, again, the idea of using some of the flexible dollars to enhance some of the trails and to maintain them. One of the things that we don’t do a very good job of probably anywhere in the United States is to build in the cost of maintaining facilities. I am an avid walker and I know a lot of the infrastructure is challenging and if you were a handicapped individual or a special needs person, some of the City streets and sidewalks are not really passable…