Read At-Large Republican candidate Drew Murray'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: Drew Murray
I am currently the President of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) and the Friends of Coxe Park. My success as the President of both these organizations and specifically LSNA (Center City RCO) is what led me to want to give back to my City and run for City Council. In my four years as President of LSNA, I have forged positive relationships with both elected and non-elected officials. These relationships will serve me well and help me to make positive change. In addition to my aforementioned roles, I am also a board member of the Center City District and work with Paul Levy. I will bring a fresh and unique viewpoint to City Council. As a Republican, I will also bring a balance of views that I believe are sorely needed in our municipality.
As the President of an RCO, I constantly deal with development. I believe that development is great for our City and needs to spread over more communities. The best way to promote affordable housing is to increase the supply and that comes through increased density. As the head of an RCO, I also believe that community input is needed, but when the City, RCOs and developers work together and communicate there is always a path to create an outcome that is beneficial to all. Speaking specifically to my neighborhood, I want to see more development on Broad Street north of Market. Increasing density near public transportation is the best to increase the City’s population.
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?
First and foremost, cars and trucks that block ADA ramps, crosswalks and bike lanes must be ticketed immediately. Council President Clarke has proposed an idea to for Public Safety Enforcement Officers. I would like the City to work with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) to see if this idea will work. I believe that if the FOP helps develop the plan, it will be a great benefit to enforcing laws meant to protect pedestrians, bicyclists and people in cars.
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?
I have heard much about Vision Zero and I believe that it is a good plan. I do not think that the pace is ever good enough. We need to work as soon as humanly possible to slow cars down through infrastructure improvements (shorter crosswalks, etc.) and protected bike lanes. I was n the task force vetting the protected bike lanes on Market and JFK Streets. I personally saw no detrimental effects to adding the temporary protected bike lanes and hope that they become permanent.
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/
I would support daylighting. However, other improvements need to be made such extending the curb to shorten the crosswalk. The addition of Public Safety Enforcement Officers could also help this issue. If additional measures are not taken, delivery trucks will end up parking in those area near the crosswalk.
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?
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?
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?
Our goal is to shift the city's overall transportation mode share radically toward transit and active mobility for the benefit of public health as well as the environment, 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 I would. There is currently overspending in the City of Philadelphia. The city needs to review the over allocation of funds and explore zero based budgeting to realize saving so investment can be made to schools, infrastructure and public transportation.
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 See "Other" below
- Automated photo enforcement of bus-only lanes and bus/trolley stopping zones No
- All-door boarding with off-board fare payment Yes
- Free transfers between buses, trolleys, and subways, funded by the City No
- Stop consolidation to speed up buses Yes
Other: I would support bus only lanes on major roads such as Market, JFK and Broad Street. I am not certain what would be defined as major roads.
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, I would support a pilot program.
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?
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 No
- Neighborhood-wide opt-in for permit parking, as opposed to block-by-block petitions No
- Blacklisting addresses of new buildings with no parking from eligibility for street permits No
- Employer permits for commercial corridor workers near residential permit zones No
Other: I would like to see the City increase the cost of permits, especially for those households with more than two cars.
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?
This is a comprehensive report. I personally would need to review it more in depth before truly commenting. I would also like to ask questions of those who wrote the report. Lastly, I would also like to hear feedback from those who ride the bus. City Council's approach should be as I state above: review the report, ask questions and solicit feedback from riders.
7. Do you support Council President Darrell Clarke's Charter change proposal to create a new class of unarmed officers to enforce traffic violations?
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?
This is a challenging question to answer across the entirety of Philadelphia. There are certainly areas that I believe need more density and more affordable housing. To place a general percentage across the entire City is too difficult.
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?
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?
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?
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?
I believe in supply and demand. If the supply of housing increases, than the cost will go down. Density will help make housing more affordable. I like the part of the affordable housing bill that allows developers to pay money into the housing trust to help with affordable housing. This approach will help develop areas outside of Center City.