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 is a common characteristic of the best places to live because it promotes a cleaner and safer environment, increases social interaction and also helps the local business community. A cleaner environment means less gas pollution in the air. A safer community means more people feel comfortable walking than driving. A vibrant walking and biking culture increase social interaction and improves inclusivity, which increases community spirit. People also have more money to spend locally when they choose to walk or ride their bikes over driving.
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?
The walkable and bikeable designation of the Newark community varies based on where you are in the City of Newark. Within the immediate University of Delaware area, it is the least with congestion and lack of designated roadways and signage. I believe we could do more to help out the biking and walking community. With neighborhood crimes increasing, fewer women feel comfortable walking alone especially at night Newark has room to grow to ensure the safety of walkers and bikers. With hit-and-runs happening, runners and bikers are feeling less safe on our streets in Newark. How we increase our walkable and bikeable community in Newark is by catering to and that demographic. Meaning safer road designs that allocate space for bikers to travel, improved sidewalks, enforcing neighborhood and speed violations and educating drivers in Newark on how to travel on roads with bikers.
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?
I see many opportunities for bicycling to make a positive impact in Newark such as:
A: A creative solution to the upcoming traffic problem from the Main Street construction project, The City of Newark would greatly benefit from providing both bikes and scooters for the public to use as optional transportation. This would provide revenue for the city as well as decrease congestion. A sample of a similar program can be found in the City of Philadelphia at https://www.rideindego.com/how-it-works/ . I believe this solution is imperative to getting our City through this period of hardship from the construction. I would work to implement this program immediately.
B: In my plan to prevent the City of Newark business owners from losing money during the summer months, I have developed several revenue-generating projects that will bring consumers to the area. One of those projects is to bring a Major Taylor cycling event to the City of Newark. I have reached out to The Major Taylor Association to start discussions around what it would take and to build up interest on their end. I feel this is a perfect fit for my City of Newark Summer Revenue plan for our local businesses to thrive during the summer months. This will provide entertainment for our biking community and also increase revenue for local business owners (Restaurants, Hotels, Rideshare, Etc.).
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.)
In order to improve the bicycling experience in Newark for each group mentioned, we must first improve the safety of our streets and educate drivers in Newark on how to share the road. For occasional cyclists, we can beautify the streets of Newark and educate them more on cycling in hopes of turning them into avid cyclists. We can work closely with bicycle commuters to figure out which roads need improvement to make commutes safer during rush hour times. The recreational cyclist would benefit from the bike share program I plan to implement as I mentioned in answer 3A, This would provide opportunities to ride a bike when one desires without the responsibility of owning a bike. For the avid or experienced cyclist, providing events like the Major Taylor events and securing the rights to have other major national cycling events for them to participate would be my plan to improving their bicycling experience. My goal is to bring more races through Newark during the summer months to improve experiences for recreational and experienced cyclists.
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)?
My campaign message has always been “For the people.” That is the criteria I will apply to decide major road projects. When considering “For the People” when assessing a road project both major and small, accessibility to all and safety of all must come first. Both the Main Street rehabilitation and the Cleveland Ave projects should be developed with walkers and bikers as a priority. Clear signage, areas designated for bikers, crosswalks with flashlights as well as the larger signage would all be mandatory.
6. Are you familiar with the Newark Bicycle Plan? If so, what do you think are its most important recommendations?
Yes, I am familiar with the Newark Bicycle Plan and my campaign aligns with its message. My top area of focus is the quality of life for residents, which means improving safety. The plan’s most important recommendation, in my opinion, is improving the infrastructure of Newark making its roads safer. Part of my plan is improving economic development for small business owners which aligns with the effects of a bicycling community. A vibrant bicycling community attracts new businesses, supports local businesses and promotes tourism. We must work together to improve our infrastructure for cyclists.
7. Briefly describe your experience as a bicyclist (if any) over your lifetime and specifically in Newark.
I have always been an occasional bicyclist, but my grandfather was an avid cyclist. He participated every year in the Bike to the Bay as well as other long-distance biking events. He always encourages us to live healthy lifestyles. I think the bike community is a great example of a community brought together because of their love for a common cause. I want to replicate the spirit of your community by bringing together the students, residents, etc. using their love for Newark as the common thread.