Friday, April 03, 2009

Ben Kramer's Action Committee for Transit Questionnaire

Ben Kramer is running as a Democrat in the District 4 special election.

Action Committee for Transit Questionnaire for Candidates for County Council, District 4

1) How do we transform the auto-oriented suburbs of District 4 into liveable and walkable communities?

Future communities should be centered around our transit hubs. Town center communities are a great way of bringing business and residents closer together. When budgets allow, the most obvious policy is to push forward with the construction of new sidewalks for communities without them. Also, we need to look at how to encourage small retail centers to provide goods and services within a reasonable walking distance for residents.

2) Do you support building the light rail Inner Purple Line from Bethesda to New Carrollton, as recommended by County Executive Leggett and the County Council?


3) All bridges over US 29 have been designed so that light rail could run in the median of the highway. There are several possible routes for a connection from White Oak to the Red Line or Purple Line. Would you support detailed study of running a light rail line that connects White Oak to the Metro system and then runs in the median of US 29 to Burtonsville, as a future project after the Purple Line and Corridor Cities Transitway?


4) What should the county do to increase transit ridership?

Foremost, we need to keep fare increases to a minimum. In these difficult economic times, transit is an alternative that must be encouraged. Secondly, we need to do what we can to make sure our routes are going to where people need to be and do this in a way that minimizes transit time. As the economy improves, we can add routes with this philosophy in mind.

5) County master plans have stated a policy of focusing development around mass transit stations. Much development has occurred that has poor transit access, yet the county’s planning also deserves much of the credit for the emergence of Bethesda and the revival of Silver Spring as centers of activity.

A) What smart growth projects near Metro stations do you support even though they have had opposition?

I have supported projects in Bethesda, Silver Spring and Rockville. I would like to see a well thought out plan for the redevelopment of Wheaton to support and bolster Wheaton’s small business community.

It is vital to ensure that the residents of affected communities be heard with regard to their support or opposition of development proposals.

B) Do you support a requirement that development described as “transit-oriented,” such as the proposed Germantown and Gaithersburg West master plans, may only be constructed after rail transit access is built?

If federal criteria for funding the CCT will allow for the construction of the CCT in advance of the proposed development included in the aforementioned master plan areas, then I would support such efforts. Clearly, every effort should be made to have infrastructure in place to support future growth.

6) Do you believe that the decision by Governors Ehrlich and O’Malley to build the Intercounty Connector was wise or unwise?

Growth in the upper half of Montgomery County was predicated upon having a major east-west arterial to support that growth. We have had the growth and continue to have additional growth and the ICC reflects the envisioned east-west arterial. I was opposed to the deviations from the master planned alignment.

The ICC is well under construction, and I seek to minimize its impact on the residents who are affected by it.

While we grow as a community in the 21st Century, we should look towards transit as the organizing principle.

Name of Candidate: Ben Kramer