1. In countless published lists of the best places to live, a common characteristic is a vibrant walking and biking culture. Why do you think that is?
A vibrant walking and biking culture indicates several healthy qualities of a city:
1) Healthy Economy—Resources necessary to maintain a vibrant walking and biking culture such as: paved trails, sidewalks, lights, and bike lanes are considered a municipal luxury. If a city can afford this luxury that is a clear indication that their other finances are in order
2) Safe neighborhood—the walking and biking culture can only be vibrant if the streets and sidewalks are safe for residents.
3) Happy community—Having resources for walking and biking allows people the option for including these healthy leisure activities into their everyday lives, which relieves stress and adds to the overall positive wellbeing of the community.
2. Do you consider Newark a walkable, bikeable community? Why or why not? If yes, how do you plan to sustain this? If not, what can be done to make our city more walkable and bikeable?
Absolutely. I plan to sustain this by supporting the Newark Bike Plan’s goals and objectives and to consider them whenever changes local infrastructure are being discussed. I also plan on supporting local bicycle shops such as Trek, Wooden Wheels, and Newark Bike Project by helping them promote their business.
3. What do you see as the opportunities for bicycling to make a positive impact in Newark? What do you see as the problems associated with bicycling in Newark?:
1) Every bicycle on the street is one less car in traffic. We all know that our city is growing and traffic will likely get worse unless we look to alternative modes of transportation like biking.
2) Improved community outreach. Our city has hundreds of trails for all skill levels. I think our city needs to improve on promoting our local trail riding to surrounding communities as well as the university.
3) Working with our neighboring communities. In order to truly make this city bike-friendly we need to have conversations with adjacent communities in order to expand our bike paths beyond our city limits, allowing more people to bike to work.
1) The city has made many investments into the roads and sidewalks in order to accommodate biking as a mode of transportation, but there are still some streets that need improvement (Cleveland, Delaware Ave, Rt 72, etc.). Several of these areas are already in the Newark Bike plan therefore it is the responsibility of new leadership to maintain this vision.
4. What are your ideas (if any) for how to improve the bicycling experience in Newark for occasional cyclists, bicycle commuters, recreational cyclists, and avid (very experienced) cyclists? (Please be as specific as you can for each group mentioned.)
Being an avid mountain biker myself (Strava-BrandonFarzad), I am constantly thinking of ways to improve the city for my fellow Bikers.
For very experienced cyclist- Many of the trails in white clay are separated by roads and there are sometimes not any road crossings at those locations. I think we need to bring attention to these locations and try to mark the roadways appropriately or create an easier way to cross these roads. I would suggest learning from our neighbors in Elkton who have similar issues with their trails at Fair Hill. They have decided to add bike bridges that cross the roadway in high bike traffic areas.
For occasional cyclists-Reach out to UD clubs and organizations in order to help plan community biking events (charity races, learning clinics, etc.) that engage the community and strengthen the bond between City of Newark and UD.
For those who are new to biking- We need to promote local bike shops to our community. With the recent closure of Performance Bike’s, it is critical that we preserve what remaining biking resources our city has.
5. If elected, what criteria will you apply in order to decide whether to support a major road project (like the Main St. rehabilitation or the Cleveland Ave. improvements)? What about for small road projects (e.g., addition of bike lanes, low-stress bike-route signage, or crosswalks)?
For major road projects we will need to firstly consider the traffic demand and flow rates for cars and cyclists. We then need to ensure that there is a clear path available during construction. As a biker, I cannot count the number of times my path has been impeded by a car, bus, or construction equipment. Unfortunately, most people do not respect bike paths to the same extend as roadways, but this can change. As mayor I will ensure that we keep our cyclists in mind whenever large construction projects are proposed. We can do this by adding signs in these areas indicating that there are bike paths and also by speaking with our city law enforcement officials so that they may be able to monitor the paths.
6. Are you familiar with the Newark Bicycle Plan? If so, what do you think are its most important recommendations?
Yes, I am very familiar with it. I believe the most important recommendation is to add bike lanes to South College Ave especially on the bridge crossing the railway. South college is already heavily congested during sporting events, and with the growth of the STAR campus, it will become the main artery connecting this area to the rest of the city. The time is now to get ahead of this issue.
7. Briefly describe your experience as a bicyclist (if any) over your lifetime and specifically in Newark.
I learned how to ride when I was 3 years old and it quickly became my main mode of transportation. In my teen years I discovered mountain biking with my father. We would utilize every chance we had in order to hit the trails after school and work. When I went to college I used my bike for transportation and was not able to ride the trails as often as I wanted to, but I knew that wherever I found a career I would need to have trails nearby. This is one of the main reasons why I fell in love with Newark. I knew of White Clay, Fair Hill, and Iron Hill years before moving here and I was excited to know that my job was going to be located in this area. These days I have been riding more than ever before and I’ve even recently gotten into racing. I have a small bike shop in my garage complete with everything I could ever need to feed this hobby and I currently own a Trek Remedy, Superfly, Fuel, and two custom bikes.