At Large: Allan Domb Response to 5th Square Questionnaire

Read At-Large Democratic candidate Allan Domb's responses to the 5th Square 2019 City Council Candidate Questionnaire. Visit our 2019 City Council Campaign page for more candidate questionnaire responses.

Candidate Name: Allan Domb

Candidate Introduction

In 1976, I made Philadelphia my home and started my fight for the people of our city. Through my business, Allan Domb Real Estate, and his work on City Council, I have created thousands of jobs for Philadelphians and been at the forefront of the push to make our city the best that it can be.

As president of the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors (GPAR) in 1990 and from 2013 to 2015, I built on the individual success of my real estate business by collaborating with key stakeholders and citizens to protect the rights of property owners and invigorate the Philadelphia economy.

In 2015, I was elected as an At-Large member of City Council. I immediately got to work for Philadelphians by drawing on my unique experience as an accomplished real estate broker and businessman. As a councilman, I have focused on holding the city government accountable, collecting delinquent property taxes, and investing in our children and public school system. Because I believe in leading by example, I have donated my entire salary to the School District of Philadelphia every year since entering office. I have also made it a priority to develop Philadelphia into a place where local entrepreneurs can thrive and where there are growth opportunities for all. As I seek a second term, I look forward to building on the progress and accountability I have fought for on City Council and to working with constituents to build a Philadelphia in which everyone can succeed.

Streets

The below questions are related to policies that reflect use of the streets are used by all Philadelphians including pedestrians, as well as bicycle, bus, car riders and drivers. A priority of 5th Square is placing front-and-center the concerns of the elderly, children, and residents utilizing mobility assistance.

1. Many curb cuts and sidewalks in the city are blocked by parked cars, resulting in inadequate and unsafe crossings for seniors, residents utilizing mobility assistance, and parents with small children. In your view, what should City Council do about this problem?

All walkways in Philadelphia should be safe and accessible to all citizens, and it is not acceptable for parked cars to block anyone’s access to designated travel space. The fines and penalties that the City has in place should be enforced and even strengthened in areas where the issue is particularly dire.

2. What is your opinion of the Kenney administration's progress on their Vision Zero street safety initiative? Is the current pace of progress acceptable to you? If not, what would you do differently? How would you use your Council position to accomplish this?

Vision Zero is an incredibly important initiative. It is the responsibility of our city government to protect the citizens of Philadelphia and make our streets as safe as possible. While the implementation of the Vision Zero Street Safety Initiative has seen progress in pedestrian and cyclist safety, more work needs to be done. I will use my position on City Council to encourage collaboration with communities across the city to find what implementation strategies are most needed and readily achievable in their areas, especially when it comes to protecting the areas around our schools. I will also continue my work of holding City Hall accountable, in this case making sure that City Hall sets realistic goals so that we can track the initiative’s progress and where it can continue to improve.

3. Will you support “daylighting” intersections to restore clear lines of sight near crossings for drivers and pedestrians through the use of plastic bollards and curb bumpouts, with prioritization for school zones, intersections with high pedestrian volume, and high crash intersections? How many intersections should be "daylighted" each year?

Further reading on daylighting: https://www.streetfilms.org/daylighting-make-your-crosswalks-safer/

Yes. Clear lines of sight are imperative for improving street safety across Philadelphia, and daylighting is an important step towards preventing avoidable incidents. We should be ambitious in our goals for implementation of daylighting.

4. Philadelphia has some of the lowest per-capita spending among our peer cities on basic street maintenance, slowing down the rollout of life-saving design changes that are part of Mayor Kenney's Vision Zero initiative. If elected, will you advocate for a larger Streets Department repaving budget?

Yes.

5. Will you support a Mayoral initiative to create a municipal street sweeping program, even if it means motorists will need to move their vehicles a few times a month?

Yes. The needs for motorists to move their vehicles a few times a month is a minor inconvenience when compared with the benefits of a municipal street sweeping program.

6. Will you vote to repeal Council's 2012 legislation requiring a Council ordinance to remove travel or parking lanes, and once again empower Streets Department safety professionals to make these decisions administratively?

Further reading: https://bicyclecoalition.org/lawsuit-takes-on-city-council-bike-lane-ordinance/

Yes.


Transportation

Our goal is to shift the city's overall transportation mode share radically toward transit and active mobility, and away from single occupancy vehicles, for the benefit of public health as well as the environment.

1. Philadelphia currently only funds around 11 percent of SEPTA's budget, with the state and federal governments funding the majority of the operating and capital budgets. This is one of the lowest local contributions in the country, per-capita. If elected, will you advocate for increasing dedicated local transit funding? If so, what revenue source is best?

Yes. More local transit funding should be dedicated to the SEPTA budget, but we also need state and federal funding support to make SEPTA as efficient as we know that it can be. There are a number of revenue sources worth considering, but we should first consider revenue sources related to the enforcement of our city’s parking and transit laws.

2. The City Bus system works to improve air quality as well as reduce traffic congestion. Unfortunately, city bus ridership has fallen dramatically over the past few years, and route performance has become increasingly unreliable. Which of the following measures would you be willing to advocate for to increase bus ridership?

  • Bus-only lanes on more major streets Yes
  • Automated photo enforcement of bus-only lanes and bus/trolley stopping zones Yes
  • All-door boarding with off-board fare payment Yes
  • Free transfers between buses, trolleys, and subways, funded by the City Yes
  • Stop consolidation to speed up buses No

3. Will you support funding a City pilot program to provide free SEPTA transit to all children under 12 years of age?

The current cut-off is 4-years-old, after which children are required to pay the full fare

Yes. A program to provide SEPTA transit to all children under 12 years of age will encourage more of our young citizens to become acquainted with public transit and has the potential to dramatically boost lifelong ridership of buses and other public transit options.

4. Over 30,000 Philadelphia public school students are currently ineligible for subsidized TransPasses, because the School District does not provide passes to students living within 1.5 miles of their local school. Do you support universalizing student TransPasses so all students can use them?

Yes.

5. Residential permit parking needs an overhaul. The current cost for an annual parking permit for car owners to store their private vehicles on public streets is just $35, and many streets do not require a permit. Which reforms to permit parking would you be willing to consider, if elected?

  • Capping permits at the number of available spaces in each parking district Yes
  • Neighborhood-wide opt-in for permit parking, as opposed to block-by-block petitions Yes
  • Blacklisting addresses of new buildings with no parking from eligibility for street permits No
  • Employer permits for commercial corridor workers near residential permit zones Yes

6. SEPTA and the City are exploring a bus network redesign that could greatly improve bus service frequency and usability at little additional cost. Improving service will involve some trade-offs, however, like more stop consolidation and transfers. How should Councilmembers be approaching this initiative?

Further reading: http://planphilly.com/articles/2018/06/21/overhauling-its-bus-network-may-be-on-septa-s-schedule-soon

Councilmembers should have an open mind when it comes to ideas about how to make SEPTA more efficient and accessible. A bus network redesign such as the one mentioned above is worth considering as long as the trade-offs do not outweigh the benefits of the redesign and as long as the public is in support.

7. Do you support Council President Darrell Clarke's Charter change proposal to create a new class of unarmed officers to enforce traffic violations?

Further reading: http://www2.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/philadelphia-traffic-pedestrian-bicycle-safety-police-darrell-clarke-20180920.html

No.


Land Use and Zoning

Our goal is to promote the most efficient use of land in our city, fostering accessible, walkable communities in which all Philadelphians can reside, regardless of economic status. We believe in building more housing, reducing costs, increasing the vitality of our commercial corridors, and facilitating transit-oriented development. Philadelphia made great strides toward this vision with the 2012 Zoning Reform package, and the next City Council should defend and expand on that progress.

1. Only 13% of land in Philadelphia is covered by the multifamily zoning categories eligible for City Council’s new Mixed-Income Housing program. Do you believe 13% is the appropriate percentage? If not, what is the right number?

More research needs to be done to find an exact percentage that would be best, but certainly, more than 13% is appropriate. Expanding multifamily zoning and the mixed-income housing program is something that City Council should commit itself to.

2. In 2012, City Council voted to eliminate or reduce minimum parking requirements for many zoning districts, because parking minimums increase housing prices, driving, and traffic congestion. Will you vote to eliminate the last of the minimum parking requirements still remaining in the zoning code, which would mainly affect Center City, University City, and areas near the subways?

Yes, I will.

3. The same 2012 zoning reform bill contained language legalizing Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), which allow property owners to have an additional rental unit on their property. City Council unfortunately never finished the job, and didn't write in which zoning districts should permit ADUs. Where would you allow ADUs?

ADUs should be allowed throughout the city, and I will be happy to discuss best practices for relevant legislation with my colleagues.

4. In 2017, City Council revamped the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Overlay ordinance, which would allow greater density and less parking within 500 feet of designated transit stations. Will you support a citywide bill designating TOD overlays for all city transit and regional rail stations?

Yes, I will.

5. What should be Philadelphia's strategy for keeping neighborhoods affordable as they see more growth and development? Is City policy striking the right balance now, following City Council's recent affordable housing package? If not, what is left to do, in your opinion?

Affordable housing should be available to every Philadelphian. City Council’s recent affordable housing package is an important step, but there is more that we can do to keep neighborhoods affordable as growth and development continues. One way is to continue the work I have done to collect delinquent property taxes from out-of-town landlords. Making sure that this money is in Philadelphia, where it belongs, is the first major step towards ensuring all of our city programs are properly funded, including programs aimed at improving quality of life for our citizens.

 

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