The 5th Square Candidate Questionnaire

Below please find the digital version of the printed questionnaire we sent your campaign office. You may elect to fill out this digital version in lieu of the printed version. In order to fill out this digital version, you must sign into this website with the official candidate email, Facebook or Twitter accounts in order for us to certify the validity of responses. 

This questionnaire is not directly linked anywhere on our website in order to minimize the risk of non-candidates responding. This questionnaire has been paid for by The 5th Square PAC (5thsq.org) It is not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Responses to this questionnaire must be received by Friday, May 1st, either in digital or printed form. If you are sending in the printed form please send it to:

The 5th Square
Attn: Geoff Kees Thompson
2217 Kimball Street
Philadelphia, PA 19146

Please feel free to call The 5th Square Chair Geoff Kees Thompson at 215.352.5456 with any questions. You can also email The 5th Square at 5thsq@5thsq.org. If you do, Please CC g.k.thompson@gmail.com.

Name of Candidate:

Showing 117 reactions

  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 18:06:42 -0400
    Q: We invite you as a candidate for political office to reach out to the voters of Philadelphia by speaking to them directly. We will host your thoughts on one of the following 9 topics below if you so choose. Please choose one topic and detail 3-5 policy changes you would make to achieve this goal. 1. Reducing the number of motor-vehicle crashes and conflicts among street users with appropriate infrastructure or roadway design changes, automated traffic law enforcement, or street- or neighborhood- specific changes in traffic rules 2. Ensuring thorough investigation of, and appropriate consequences for, drivers who commit traffic offenses that result in injury or death 3. Encouraging Philadelphians to use public transit, walk or bicycle within the city, instead of driving 4. Repurposing street space to better meet transportation needs (please specify particular streets) 5. Making land assessments accurate, and keeping them accurate 6. Increasing the amount of public space for non-transportation use, such as plazas and street closure programs (e.g., open streets and play streets.) 7. Expanding the on-street bike network in the most heavily-biked areas 8. Investing in walking and biking infrastructure outside of Center City 9. Getting our most popular bus and trolley lines out of congested mixed traffic
    A: 5. Assessing land is so much easier than assessing improvements. Right now, with improvements over assessed and land under assessed, we actually give people an incentive to make their property look worse. Also, we currently need assessors to patrol neighborhoods, keeping an eye on the changing reality on the ground. Clearly, it’s imperative that we get it right with land assessments. Doing so would be remarkably easy, we just need the will.

    - We would need to look at arms length transactions for land sales in every census tract as a starting point. Square footage and zoning will also need to be taken into account to create a base number for land value. Lots on the same block that are the same size will have uniform assessments.
    - With baseline assessments created, a team would need to examine the data, block by block, to ensure that abnormalities are identified and other location-by-location quirks are taken into account (eg if a property across the street from a power plant).
    - After this process concludes, we would have reliable land value data across the city. With that, we could look toward citywide housing value trends moving forward, making sure that the land values across the city keep up with reality.
    - With the implementation of this plan, it would be imperative that the assessments on improvements decrease by the same value that the land assessments increase. It would be incredibly unfair to raise someone’s property taxes by correcting the ratio of land to improvements.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 17:52:17 -0400
    Q: Should City Council be the approving body for traffic alterations to Philadelphia's citywide street network, e.g. removal of a traffic lane, turning lane, parking lane, etc.? Or should this be determined by the Streets Department, MOTU, PennDOT and other street-related agencies?
    A: This effort needs to be coordinated among many different city agencies, but ultimately traffic measures should be determined by the experts, not individual council members.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 17:51:16 -0400
    Q: Philadelphia provides municipal trash service to residences, but businesses are left to contract with private vendors, resulting in multiple large dumpsters in the public realm (e.g., alleyways). Do you think the City should change this current trash collection strategy? If so, how?
    A: I would like to see a more organized effort to collect commercial trash in Philadelphia. I would support dividing the city into different sections and bidding out those sections to private vendors. In this scenario, different trash collection companies would have their own exclusive territories, reducing costs and prices, and increasing efficiency dramatically. This would make our city prettier, and it would smell better too.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 17:43:37 -0400
    Q: What is your position in regards to creating an integrated protected bike lane network throughout the city of Philadelphia? Are there areas in the city that you believe should be addressed first?
    A: Philadelphia needs an integrated protected bike lane network yesterday. I would start building protected bicycle lanes in neighborhoods most lacking direct access to Center City. We can look to other cities that have successfully implemented protected bike lanes for lessons on how to get it done.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 17:23:16 -0400
    Q: What is your position about vehicles parked on the City Hall apron/sidewalk?
    A: Cars should not be parked on the apron of City Hall. Those who insist on doing so should have their cars covered in peanut butter.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 17:21:51 -0400
    Q: At 16% of total land area, Philadelphia has one of the lowest tree canopy percentages among large U.S. cities. Comparable cities exceed 30%. Do you believe Philly needs to increase this percentage? If so, how? Please be specific about how you would fund this.
    A: For every new home built in Philadelphia, I would require the developer to cover the costs of two street trees, one in front of their property, and another in another location.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 17:18:38 -0400
    Q: Do you support increasing funding for Parks & Recreation throughout the city as a means to improving public health and the economy? If so, how would you better fund our parks? If not, why not?
    A: I would like for developers to pay storm water impact fees instead of maintaining their own onsite storm water. This would generate millions of dollars each year to improve public spaces. In addition, I would like to see more funding to Parks and Rec activities, to enrich the lives of children in our city.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 17:16:38 -0400
    Q: What kinds of zoning and land use policies can best help our neighborhood commercial corridors and small businesses?
    A: I’ve often said it’s easier to open an illegal business than a legal business on many commercial corridors. I would support broad remapping of commercial corridors in the 2nd District, in a process that brings neighbors and community groups together to express their vision for their neighborhood. It’s important to keep an eye toward economic realities, and keep those in mind when considering each corridor.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 17:13:26 -0400
    Q: What is an appropriate legal speed limit on a neighborhood street in Philadelphia? On an arterial street? What are some policies and/or physical alterations that can be implemented to help ensure drivers obey speed limits and other traffic laws?
    A: I’m no expert, but 20 mph seems reasonable for a neighborhood street and 30 mph seems acceptable on an arterial street. Speed bumps, chicanes, and circles would all reduce the speed on city streets and increase public safety.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 17:10:19 -0400
    Q: The current cost for an annual parking permit for car owners to store their private vehicle on public streets is $35. Do you think this price point should be revisited?
    A: Yes. It should be increased.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 17:08:33 -0400
    Q: Is regularly scheduled street sweeping of Philadelphia's streets more important than preserving the convenience of residents who prefer not moving their vehicles?
    A: Yes it is.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 17:08:19 -0400
    Q: Would you support pedestrianization of street space that may currently be used for parking or vehicle transit?
    A: Yes. Spaces like the Triangles at 23rd & Grays Ferry have taken a superfluous section of street and created a wonderful public space. Parklets add seating for businesses without blocking the sidewalk. Assuming that near neighbors are supportive and traffic engineers believe the project can work, I would support similar efforts in the future.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 17:01:56 -0400
    Q: Do you support revising the zoning code to remove minimum accessory parking requirements?
    A: Yes, for all smaller parcels. Once you consider a parcel larger than, say, 10,000 sqft, parking could come into the conversation. In the heart of Center City, I don’t think there should be any parking requirements.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 16:58:19 -0400
    Q: Do you support raising millage rates on the land portion of the property tax, and lowering millage rates on improvements to the structure?
    A: No. I support properly balancing the valuations for all properties in Philadelphia. That means correctly assessing land and improvements. If the land were properly assessed, property taxes would be more fair for everyone. The system would remain unfair with different millage rates and maintaining the currently incorrect valuations.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 16:55:16 -0400
    Q: Do you believe that bike-friendly infrastructure is economically beneficial to a community’s commercial corridors & cities at large?
    A: Yes, when more people are on bikes and fewer people are behind the wheel, it’s easier for them to support local businesses rather than spend their time circling for parking.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 16:53:49 -0400
    Q: Do you believe that bike-friendly cities have a higher quality of life?
    A: Absolutely they do.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 16:53:35 -0400
    Q: Protected bike lanes on JFK and Market were piloted and found to be minimally disruptive to drivers in 2011. Will you support funding the installation of these protected bike lanes if elected?
    A: Yes, in theory. I like the idea of protected bike lanes on JFK and Market, especially because we saw that they would not have a significant impact on vehicular traffic. I would need to understand how much it would cost to set this up before offering my full support.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 16:49:21 -0400
    Q: Should the city make all data concerning street use, street conditions and traffic crash investigations available in a timely, digital format to the public?
    A: Yes, absolutely.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 16:49:05 -0400
    Q: Should the City Revenue Department release as much of its records as legally possible for independent analysis and overall transparency?
    A: Yes, transparency is critical.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 16:49:05 -0400
    Q: Should the City Revenue Department release as much of its records as legally possible for independent analysis and overall transparency?
    A: Yes, transparency is critical.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 16:48:00 -0400
    Q: Do you believe that universities, colleges and large non-profits should be encouraged to subsidize the cost of public transit for students, staff, administration, etc.?
    A: Yes, they should absolutely be encouraged to do this. I don’t believe though, that they should be forced to establish public transit subsidies.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 16:45:26 -0400
    Q: Philadelphia used to repave streets every 9 years. It now repaves every 15 years. Overall, the city has a 900 mile backlog of streets needing to be repaved. Do you support doubling the funding levels for Streets Department's paving budget by fiscal year 2017?
    A: No, not without additional information on where that funding would come from and whether other worthy programs would have to be cut as a result. Knowing the poor condition of many roads in my neighborhood, I would actively look for funds to pick up the paving pace.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 16:43:33 -0400
    Q: Do you support restricting commercial deliveries to late night and early morning hours, and banning the largest trucks from residential neighborhoods absent compliance with special permit and insurance requirements?
    A: Yes to restricting delivery hours, within reason. We can’t make it overly onerous to operate a business downtown. Yes to banning the largest trucks from residential neighborhoods- I’ve seen too many trucks get stuck trying to navigate narrow streets.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 16:38:27 -0400
    Q: Mayor Nutter created MOTU (Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities) in his first administration. Do you support continuing the overall mission of MOTU in the next 4 years?
    A: Yes.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 16:35:15 -0400
    Q: Do you support the installation of 30-minute loading zones on all blocks with high residential density and/or commercial activity?
    A: Yes. Loading zones on residential blocks provide drivers with a safe way to load and unload without blocking traffic. On commercial corridors, trucks regularly block traffic and additional loading zones could, in theory, alleviate that problem to some degree. I would, though, endorse time limits on loading zones, allowing people to park in those spaces overnight.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 16:15:35 -0400
    Q: Do you support giving buses priority over private cars on city streets?
    A: Yes.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 16:09:16 -0400
    Q: Would you find room in Streets Department budgeting for traffic calming devices?
    A: There is an opportunity to marry the resources the Water Department will receive through my approach to storm water management with the City’s need for traffic calming devices. As a result, while I believe the budget for traffic calming devices needs to be expanded, I do not believe that budget needs to come from the streets department.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 16:04:14 -0400
    Q: Do you you support the use of traffic calming devices, such as curb bump-outs, chicanes, speed bumps or garden medians?
    A: Yes. Safety must come before convenience on every residential street.
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 16:03:35 -0400
    Q: Should the Philadelphia Police Department do more to enforce existing traffic laws?
    A: Yes. That being said, leadership starts at the top. When our current City Councilman is ignoring existing traffic laws how can we expect the public to do anything different?
  • Ori Feibush
    answered 2015-05-01 16:02:07 -0400
    Q: Would you support enhancing penalties for aggressive, distracted and reckless driving, including speeding and DUI, in order to reduce road safety deaths and injuries?
    A: Although I would not object to increased penalties for aggressive and reckless driving, I do not believe that increased penalties alone will improve safety. Rather, I would actively work with planning and streets departments to introduce broad pedestrian and cyclist friendly remapping, protected bicycle lanes, enhanced public transportation, and regular street and alley cleaning City services.