PA State Rep 184: Elizabeth Fiedler response to 5th Square questionnaire

Elizabeth Fiedler, running for State Representative - 184th District (Incumbent)


I am the parent of two young children, a strong supporter of public education, and a strong advocate for making our streets safe for everyone, and for investing in public space including parks. As an individual and with my family I often travel by foot or by bus. We need to make our streets safer for everyone. A lot of my close friends commute by bike, as I did for 15 years, so I am well aware of the benefits and challenges. I am a strong advocate for safer streets and am committed to doing everything I can to make safety a reality for everyone in Philly and Pa. One of those steps must include sufficient and reliable funding for SEPTA, which I have advocated for in Harrisburg and will continue to!


1 (a). Some of Philadelphia’s most dangerous streets for pedestrians and cyclists based on injury statistics are PennDOT-owned arterials, many of which are major downtown streets and commercial corridors running through densely-populated parts of Philadelphia. Would you use your position to support safer urban arterials by pushing PennDOT to adopt Vision Zero and complete streets policies? (


1b. What types of legislative and policy changes are needed to correct this problem at PennDOT?

Yes, I will continue to use my position to support advocates' calls for safer urban arterials. Specifically, we need to see PennDot embrace Vision Zero’s goal of eliminating traffic deaths and serious injuries and adopt an approach focused on the movement of people -- in all the ways they traverse our city including foot, bike, public transit and car. PennDot’s investments in multimodal infrastructure, coordination with local agencies and speed cameras on Roosevelt Blvd are all good steps. But to truly ensure we are doing everything we can to protect the lives of people in Philadelphia, we need to do more. As mentioned in the article, Philadelphians are six times more likely to be killed or severely injured on a PennDot street. This is a serious problem and it needs serious action. I would like to work together to discuss how this can be done, and what steps are needed from Harrisburg.

2 (a). Will you co-sponsor the ‘Vulnerable Road User’ Bill which increases fines for causing death, serious and bodily injury of vulnerable roadway users by careless and reckless driving? (


2 (b). Parking-protected bike lanes have a row of street parking between vehicle traffic and the bike lane. These kinds of lanes are allowed now on city streets, but not state roads, which are among the busiest and most dangerous for bicyclists. Will you co-sponsor the parking protected bike lane bill? (


3 (a). State lawmakers like Nikil Saval and Brian Sims endorsed the Safer Washington Ave campaign’s demands and played a helpful role in showing support from elected leaders. Will you join these other elected officials in publicly endorsing Safer Washington Ave and future road safety campaigns? (


3 (b). How would you listen and respond to constituents who oppose road safety measures out of fears of traffic congestion and gentrification?

Observing the difficulties the city has faced in their consideration of solutions for Washington Ave has highlighted that many individuals are worried about safety, traffic and congestion. Walking, public transit and bicycling are viable, sustainable options for many people and families. All our neighbors deserve to feel safe regardless of what mode of transportation they use to move around our neighborhood and city. Philadelphia should be accessible to all, and making our roadways safer for all - including cyclists, pedestrians, and transit riders - should be a true, top priority. To be successful, these conversations require openness, a sharing of information and concerns, listening, leadership, and an ongoing dialogue rooted in the community to continue the conversation and address new challenges.

4. Pennsylvania passed legislation enabling automated speed enforcement on Roosevelt Blvd and highway work zones. Do you support the expansion of automated speed enforcement to School Zones and on other High Injury Network streets throughout Philadelphia? (



Yes, and I support having revenues that are generated from the cameras go to funding transportation safety projects. It's unacceptable for nearly 100 people to be killed on our streets every year. That number should be zero.

5. Do you support state-enabling legislation for congestion pricing, permitting municipalities and regions to institute tolls on cars entering into the most congested areas, and using the funds for improvements to transit, and for infrastructure for walking and bicycling? (




6. Transportation is the third-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Pennsylvania. While many elected officials are relying on people adopting electric vehicles, we would like to see the commonwealth play a more active role in reducing car dependence. What do you see as the solution to combat these emissions, enhancing mobility and improving safety in your district and Pennsylvania more broadly?(

We need to provide increased, sustainable mass transit funding so that people can count on reliable mass transit to take them to work, school, appointments, and other trips. This is not the case currently. I have been fighting for sufficient reliable funding for SEPTA it in Harrisburg and will continue to do so. As mentioned above, we also need to take measures to make sure everyone feels safe regardless of what mode of transportation they use. That includes making sure roadways, sidewalks and crosswalks are safe for pedestrians and cyclists.

7. Would you support prioritizing the East Coast Greenway multi-use trail system by accelerating the completion of gaps in its network, improving safe walking and biking connections to underserved neighborhoods, and creating a dedicated maintenance funding source to upgrade existing trails in need of repairs? (


8 (a). State gas tax revenue has been decreasing due to improvements in fuel economy and a switch to electric vehicles. Of the options in Gov. Wolf's Transportation Revenue Options Commission Report, which recommendations do you support the most? (

The alternative funding strategies that have been explored are essential to making sure we keep our roads and bridges in good repair. The input given starting in 2020, including nearly 6,000 people discussed suggestions to raise additional funds, opposition to tax increases, suggestions for budget cuts/layoffs, opposition to tolls and support for tolls.

8 (b). Should our commonwealth continue to fund highway expansion projects as a means to combat congestion?

I am open to talking more with 5th Square about the options and to hearing which approaches you support.

9. What are some of your own ideas for enhancing mobility and improving road safety in your district and Philadelphia more broadly?

I support increased and reliable funding for SEPTA, making major arteries safer for everyone (pedestrians, public transit riders, drivers, cyclists), designated space for buses and trolleys, high frequency rapid transit and the investment in more homes and jobs near public transit routes. All of these steps would make a big difference in the lives of people in South Philadelphia.


10 (a). Do you support the Transit For All PA funding platform to generate $1.65 billion dollars/year to replace Act 89's funding for transit? (


10 (b). Do you support legislation enabling local governments to implement new transit funding mechanisms, while ensuring that local funds are supplemental and not used to replace a shortfall from the state? (


10 (c). How would you propose raising the necessary funds for Pennsylvania's public transit going forward?

I would like to discuss this. I am committed to helping ensure public transit is fully funded, accessible, and safe.

11 (a). SEPTA is undergoing several projects to reform the way it currently operates including redesigning its bus network, improving its wayfinding, reimagining regional rail, and modernizing its trolley system. Do you support these efforts? (

Please see my comment on 11b.

11 (b). If so, how would your district benefit, and what will you do (or have done) to ensure that SEPTA can advance these changes? If not, how should SEPTA spend its capital budget instead?

Many of my constituents have expressed concerns about this redesign, specifically including seniors who worry about the loss of bus stops. With limited funding, it makes fiscal sense to prioritize high use routes and at the same time I am pushing for more funding so that we can make sure our transit serves all of our neighbors and is available and reliable.

12. Do you support dedicated bus and trolley lanes and legislation enabling automated enforcement cameras to deter other vehicles from using these lanes? (




13. What are some of your own ideas for solutions to improve the quality (frequency, speed, and accessibility) of transit service in your district and Philadelphia more broadly?

I support increased and reliable funding for SEPTA and will continue to advocate for it in Harrisburg. I support making major arteries safer for everyone (pedestrians, public transit riders, drivers, cyclists), designated space for buses, and public investment in affordable housing and employment near public transit routes. All of these steps would make a big difference in the lives of people in South Philadelphia. I support eliminating transfer fees, eliminating all fares for people under the ages of 18 and for people with low-incomes. I believe we should drop fees to $1 a ride and explore a pathway to free service, dependent on funding (SEPTA currently relies disproportionately, in comparison to other transit systems, on fares and fees). We should also be moving aggressively to electrify our bus fleet, following the successful roll-out of the 29 and 79.

Land Use

14. The price of a typical home in Philadelphia was increasing at a faster rate than the ability of a typical Philadelphian to pay for it. Do you see a major component of this problem as constrained housing supply due to restrictive zoning laws? (



Yes, zoning plays a role in housing supply. My office and I have worked with many people who have struggled to pay their rent or mortgage, and their utility bills. As we see prices rise further, more people will fall behind on their payments – pushing major changes in our neighborhoods. I think these two sentences from the referenced article, sum up the incredibly difficult housing challenge facing Philadelphia: “[And] with Philadelphia’s current median house price of $223,000 and (projected) median household income of $50,100, the current ratio is 4.5. That is a whopping 36% increase in housing unaffordability in just five years.” As the article goes on to point out, if housing unaffordability continues to increase, we need to increase the supply of affordable housing and/or increase residents’ incomes.

15. Would you support state-based efforts to preempt local zoning and land use controls to encourage housing development particularly in affluent and transit-rich areas? (



In general, I do not support pre-emption, as it is often used in Harrisburg to limit the ability of our local (elected) officials to act and to govern, including when it comes to taxes, gun control and other issues that significantly impact the daily lives of people across Philadelphia. Any decision to support preemption for me must be very carefully examined. I would be glad to talk further about this specific situation.

16. If elected, what will you do to make housing, both market-rate and subsidized, more affordable?

We all deserve a warm, dry, safe place to call home. Rising housing costs, and the fact that so many jobs pay too little, have made realizing that reality very hard for many people. Across our district, city, and state, many people struggle just to pay their rent or mortgage, while also affording groceries, medical bills, prescriptions, and childcare. We need to raise the minimum wage, pass our Fair Work Week legislation, strengthen unions, and implement comprehensive housing reform, including increasing funding for public and affordable housing that is safe, as well as pass a Tenant Bill of Rights.

17 (a). An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a self-contained home with its own kitchen, bathroom and sleeping area on the same lot as the main house. They can be used to keep multi-generational families together, to give homeowners the option to rent part of their property, and to give seniors more options for aging in place. Do you see permitting ADU construction as an important element in increasing housing supply? (

ADUs are a good option for homeowners who would like to supplement their income or boost their ability to stay in their home. It is important we ensure developers do not take advantage of any new ADU codes that may be created, and that instead the code is geared towards increasing the ability of homeowners to stay in their home.

17 (b). What efforts will your office take to ensure seniors can age in place?

Everyone should be able to age at home. Creating an ecosystem that is accessible and open to seniors is important, including making sure SEPTA vehicles are accessible, sidewalks and crosswalks are maintained and safe, and ensuring housing and healthcare is accessible.

18 (a). Philadelphia is currently experiencing over 1,000 overdose deaths annually, a significant public health crisis. Do you see supervised injection sites as an important element in the battle against addiction deaths? (

The solution to substance use disorder is treatment, not incarceration. Many people in our community have lost loved ones. Trauma, poverty, and mental health issues are often at the heart of addiction and people need to be offered support and help to address these challenges. Philadelphia should increase investment in harm reduction strategies while also increasing access to mental health and addiction treatment, trauma and grief counseling, healthcare, and stable housing.

18 (b). Why or why not?


19. Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania DEP are moving to participate in a program that would limit harmful carbon pollution from power plants in Pennsylvania. This program is called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and it would have power companies pay for the pollution they generate while setting caps on future pollution. Different interest groups within the Democratic Party have taken different positions on this, with some building trades unions on one side and environmental groups on the other. If elected, would you support joining RGGI? (



Yes, and I will continue to do so.

20. Tell us more about what you bring to the table as an ally for urbanist politics in Harrisburg. What makes you the right person to advance the urbanist movement's goals politically or substantively at the state level? How would you build support for pro-urbanist policies among your colleagues from outside our region?

As a legislator and as an individual (commuter, parent, neighbor), I am 100% committed to doing everything I can to make it as easy and as safe as possible to traverse our city. I am committed to working with community members and with advocates to this end. I am also committed to making sure that the cost of paying for increased public transit is not put on the backs of working and poor people but instead must be paid by the very wealthiest and by the big corporations that are currently not paying their fair share because of things like the Delaware Loophole. In just two terms in office, I have worked hard to build relationships with lawmakers from across the state and across the aisle. I am committed to continuing to build those relationships with the goal of building a state budget that reflects all our needs and that prioritizes at a minimum: ensuring we can all live without fear of being injured or killed while trying to get to work, school, the store or daycare.