Candidate Blogging: Anthony Hardy Williams On Encouraging Philadelphians To Use Public Transit

ahwilliams.jpgTwo weeks ago we sent The 5th Square 2015 Candidate Questionnaire to all candidates for City Council and Mayor. In that questionnaire we gave the option for candidates to reach out directly to voters via our blog. 9 different topics were offered. Below please find Anthony Hardy Williams' response to Topic 3. For the list of other topics offered and the entirety of Williams' responses to our Candidate Questionnaire, please see the link to the PDF at the bottom of this post.

Please Note: posting of Candidate Questionnaire responses does not constitute a 5th Square endorsement. Candidate endorsements will be released later today.


Anthony Hardy Williams on Encouraging Philadelphians To Use Public Transit

Author: Anthony Hardy Williams

Once again, Philadelphia is assuming its role on the world stage. With a significant number of high-level events over the next year, Philadelphia is positioned to become a destination of choice for Americans and citizens from across the globe. But we cannot forget about our own residents. Philadelphia is a walkable city of neighborhoods, whose rich diversity and history is a source of local and national pride, as well as economic vitality. Highlighting our neighborhoods as destinations for "local tourism" will lead to increased profits for small businesses on commercial corridors, and engender a deeper connection to the city we all love.  

In 2013, the William Penn Foundation provided financial support to Visit Philly to encourage tourism in 14 neighborhoods in and around Center City. This led to Food and Wine Magazine recognizing East Passyunk as among the "10 Best Foodie Streets in America." As Mayor, I will push to expand this campaign to additional neighborhoods outside of Center City's environs, and market it to residents across the region. I will encourage neighborhood-based tourism beyond Center City, and encourage partnerships with SEPTA and BikeShare that highlights public transit and bike-lane assets in neighborhoods, while providing neighborhood-specific messaging for businesses and landmarks. Partners can lead promotional activities to encourage residents to explore and find unique destinations across the city, aligning the city's arts, culture, historic preservation and other sectors to ensure every Philadelphia neighborhood is a destination of choice where small businesses thrive.

The coordination of tourism and conference/convention attraction is another crucial component of an effective economic development strategy. Connecting convention and conference attendees to neighborhoods is another opportunity to take vehicles off of the street. The Suburban Station Underground Concourse is 3.5 miles worth of underutilized space that could be used for interactive billboards and digital spaces for tourists to learn about prospective neighborhoods to visit on SEPTA or on bikes. Every dollar that SEPTA receives from advertising is earmarked for improving bus and rail operations, providing an incentive for SEPTA to attract tourists to neighborhoods all across Philadelphia. 

Finally, as Mayor I'll ensure a strong partnership between the Chamber of Commerce, Visit Philly and the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors' Bureau to focus on increasing local tourism specifically among diverse communities that harnesses public transit and bicycle trails as strategic economic assets. Philadelphia has significant historical and cultural spaces upon which to build a compelling narrative that can reach a broad population. A neighborhood-to-neighborhood campaign to brand Philadelphia's communities for Philadelphians is key to building civic pride and fortifying Philadelphia's image and strengths as a diverse, walkable and accessible City. 


For the rest of Anthony Hardy Williams' Candidate Questionnaire, please click the link below:

Candidate Questionnaire - Anthony Hardy Williams (D) Mayoral Candidate