Thursday, October 25, 2007

Grading the unchallenged incumbents

The League of Women Voters posed three questions to all candidates for alderman. The TAB published the answers from the candidates in the contested races in the paper (p.25) and all candidates in an online Voter Guide.

In this post, the grades on question 2 -- How would you encourage safe walking and bicycling in the city, especially during the winter? -- for the unchallenged incumbents. In the previous post, question 2 grades for the candidates in contested races.

Ward 1 ward alderman

Scott Lennon—B+
Short on specifics, but articulates the broader picture: we need to look at the traffic ecosystem (not his word) overall and take care of all users.

Ward 2 ward alderman

Stephen M. Linsky—B
Short on specifics, but gets what's at stake: health and the environment. Bonus points for focus on school kids and for actually having attended BPTF meetings.

Ward 4 ward alderman

John W. Harney—A
Gets it: "The best way to encourage walking and bicycling in the city is to make the roads and sidewalks safer." And, safer means slower; he advocates traffic calming (with a record to back it up). No deduction for promoting stop signs on Grove Street.

Ward 6 ward alderman

George Mansfield—A+
If you want good bike and pedestrian access, it's got to be the law. If you want to reduce driving, you have to make walkability the law. Enforce existing business obligation to clear sidewalks and re-enact resident obligation.

Ward 7 ward alderman

R. Lisle Baker—C- F
Says "small actions can help" and lists minor ward alderman accomplishments. Wearing the board president hat, what should the big actions be? No mention of biking from the one-time bike commuter.

Torpedoed provision requiring bike and pedestrian improvements in PMBD.

Ward 8 ward alderman

Cheryl Lipof Lappin—C-
Good point that we need to update the sidewalk plowing plan, but doesn't articulate how. More plowing? Different plowing? Both? Wants better street clearing, though the city does an excellent job in this regard and any more effort would cost money, possibly diverting resources from sidewalks. Wants to encourage people to clear sidewalks out of civic pride. They should, but it's not a recipe for success.

Ward 2 at-large candidates

Susan S. Albright—A
Excellent point about bike safety in numbers. (Alderman Albright, it's not a "might" it's a "will.") Concrete about bike paths and signs. Concrete about raised crosswalks. Would have been nice to have a mention of funding to tie it all up. (Alderman can't set funding, I know, but they can lobby for it.)

Marcia T. Johnson—C- A+
Good sentiments, but nothing about what the aldermen should do.

Updated: Alderman Johnson submitted an extra-credit performance on the draft Comprehensive Plan.

Ward 4 at-large candidates

Leonard J. Gentile—Incomplete

Amy Mah Sangiolo—A
Another money committer. Textured sidewalks. Bike paths. Signs. Also, very good about a significant pedestrian issue: plowed snow blocking crosswalks.

Ward 5 at-large candidates

Brian Yates—A+
NS&S award winning answer. The branch library beautifully captures the civic value that a pedestrian-friendly environment could provide. Bonus points for commercially revitalized village centers and creative suggestion of aqueducts as off-road facilities.

Paul Edward Colletti—Incomplete

Ward 6 at-large candidates

Kenneth R.L. Parker—A-
Smart growth=smart answer. We also need improvements where there is no new development pending. Could use more concrete and direct improvements. Vague on how what better snowplowing means. Notes crosswalk-blocking problem.

Victoria L. Danberg—A-
Good concrete proposals: raised crosswalks, pedestrian bumpouts, increase city-plowed sidewalk mileage. Good on requirements for future developments. No residential plowing requirement.

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