Read 177th District Democratic candidate Sean Patrick Wayland's responses to the 5th Square 2018 Candidate Questionnaire. Visit our 177th District Campaign Page for more candidate questionnaire responses, event listings, and more.
Candidate Name: Sean Patrick Wayland
After the last presidential election I decided that yelling at my TV wasn’t doing much and I wanted to make an effort to do more. I attended the Women’s March in DC and that was where I decided to run for office. After doing some research I found that I lived in one of two state house districts in Philadelphia that were not controlled by Democrats.
My current career has me travel all over the country and I’ve seen urban development and public transportation implementation in many cities throughout the country. This is something that affects the lives of every single person in my city and it’s an issue that does not get the attention it deserves.
When we improve urban land use and public transportation it improves the lives of every citizen. More people using public transportation means less pollution and traffic for everyone. Intelligent city planning leads to less congestion and shorter commutes. More green space in the neighborhoods leads to happier and healthier citizens and that should be the goal for all of us.
1. Act 89 transportation funds have increasingly been diverted to the state police budget, reducing the funds available to pay for infrastructure projects. What is the best way to safeguard this revenue to ensure that Commonwealth residents see all the transportation improvements they were promised when state lawmakers raised the gas tax?
Both infrastructure projects and state police require funding. It’s important that they both receive their fair share and if the state police continue to siphon funds that should be going towards infrastructure projects than these funds need to be earmarked to ensure that they go towards their original purpose and we need to find an alternative way to fund our state police. As mentioned below, expansion of toll roads is one way that we could ensure that we fund both infrastructure projects and police.
2. U.S. DOT opened the door to state tolling of federal highways at the end of the Obama administration. Would you support expanded road pricing of state and federal highways to fund transportation and infrastructure maintenance?
I would support expanded road pricing of state and federal highways to fund transportation and infrastructure maintenance. I believe that this is one possible way to continue to fund state police while ensuring that infrastructure projects throughout the state continue to be funded.
3. What is your view of the Roosevelt Boulevard bus rapid transit (BRT) project that launched last year? How would you improve the quality of transit service in your district, and Northeast Philadelphia more broadly?
The BRT is the first step towards improving our public transportation system but more needs to be done. Making people’s commutes faster, easier, and safer should be a priority. This focus needs to be brought to the 177th District.
Aramingo Ave is another major thoroughfare that could benefit from a route similar to the BRT. When I lived in Castor Gardens and worked at PTR in Port Richmond it would take almost an hour to travel between home and work via public transportation but it’s only a twenty minute drive. This difficulty in moving from one part of the city to another is why different areas can feel so isolated.
The more we focus on improving public transportation the better life is for everyone and the more unified our neighborhoods will be.
4. In Pennsylvania, traditional taxi companies and Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) alike are not required to provide Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs), and the Philadelphia Parking Authority’s recent efforts to incentivize more WAVs have fallen flat. Meanwhile, SEPTA’s paratransit service is notoriously limited, requiring waits of more than a day. What should be done to create more accessible on-demand transportation options for residents who rely on paratransit services?
Uber and Lyft were required to provide a minimum number of WAVs for the city of Philadelphia. This doesn’t solve the issue but it is a step in the right direction. I would also support expanding SEPTA’s paratransit service. I believe that a combination of legislation requiring a minimum number of WAVs along with incentivizing companies to provide additional WAVs would be the best path forward. The number of required WAVs to support transportation for disabled citizens needs to be continually assessed and the required number of WAVs would need to be adjusted to ensure that we are continuing to provide adequate transportation for those that need it.
5. In 2017, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) called on states to implement automated enforcement measures to reduce speed-induced deaths and injuries. If elected, will you introduce or co-sponsor state enabling legislation to allow municipalities to pilot photo-enforcement speed cameras in School Zones and on High Injury Network streets?
I would be willing to introduce or co-sponsor legislation enabling municipalities to pilot photo-enforcement speed cameras in school zones and high injury network streets. Speeding is a dangerous issue that needs to be addressed. Pedestrians should be safe to cross busy intersections without having to fear someone speeding and anything we can do to save a life is worth pursuing. These programs should also be used to continue to fund infrastructure projects throughout the municipalities in which they are implemented. The money from these fines should support continued growth in the communities and not line the pockets of private companies.
6. Do you support the legislation HB1187, introduced by Rep. John Taylor, to pilot speed enforcement cameras along Roosevelt Boulevard? What else would you do to make the Boulevard a less dangerous street for drivers and pedestrians?
It was my understanding that these cameras were installed years ago when I lived on the boulevard and I am surprised to hear that they are not yet implemented. That being said I do support HB1187 as it addresses the ongoing dangers of speeding on the boulevard. The Boulevard continues to be one of the most dangerous corridors in the country. I believe that we need to look at traffic light timing along specific stretches of the roadway in an attempt to reduce the number of accidents at the most dangerous intersections. We also need to continue to improve public transportation options along the boulevard. If we can reduce the volume of traffic on the roadway we will reduce the number of accidents.
7. Pennsylvania is the only state in the U.S. that bans local law enforcement from using radar for vehicle speed enforcement. Recently a Mayor's Radar Coalition has formed to support lifting the state ban. Will you co-sponsor legislation to lift the ban?
I would co-sponsor legislation to lift this ban. I believe that it should be up to the individual municipalities to determine if they support radar for vehicle speed enforcement. Pennsylvania is a very diverse state and I don’t believe that this decision should be taken out of the hands of the local municipalities.
8. How do you resolve the tension between regional planning goals and local zoning powers in cases where local sentiment is out of sync with sustainable planning objectives like sprawl containment, desegregation, or concentrating housing development near transit? Does state policy strike the right balance, or are changes needed?
I have come across a significant amount of people concerned about additional development in their neighborhoods while I’ve been campaigning. I believe that educating the public on the policies and the reasons behind them as well as listening to their concerns are important. The state policies exist to protect the city and its citizens from issues that can arise from unchecked city development. It is important that these policies are followed. Citizens may not understand the big picture and continued education and a two-way flow of information between people and their representatives is important.
9. Do you support amending the state's Municipal Planning Code to encourage transit-oriented development near state-funded transit and commuter rail stations similar to California's recent pro-transit bill SB-827, which removes most zoning restrictions on dense housing construction near high-quality transit?
I would support an amendment to encourage transit-oriented development near state-funded transit and commuter rail stations. We need to improve our public transportation so that we can highlight it as a positive reason to move to this city. Encouraging transit-oriented development will bring people to the city while limiting an increase in traffic and increasing the use of our public transportation. I continue to believe that Philadelphia’s public transportation system can become one of the greatest in the country and this is a resource that we must harness moving forward.
10. Due to a Corbett-era rule change, Pennsylvania’s building code is no longer automatically updated to reflect the international building code, causing us to fall years behind on code updates. This has hard harmful effects on building sustainability, public safety, and insurance costs. State lawmakers recently passed a one-time carve-out for the city of Philadelphia, allowing us to update our building code, but only for commercial development. Will you support or introduce legislation to allow Philadelphia to continually update our building code for both commercial and residential development?
Building codes must stay up to date with the international standards. Failure to keep up with new standards puts people and property at risk. I would support or introduce legislation to allow Philadelphia and the rest of Pennsylvania to continually update our building codes. It is imperative that our buildings are safe and sustainable. Rolling back regulations is a dangerous mistake. The hurricanes of 2017 showed us how much zoning and building regulations matter and I would fight to ensure that construction is required to follow international standards.
11. The century-old Separations Act requires multiple bids for all different parts of public construction projects in Pennsylvania, making public works projects unnecessarily expensive and inefficient, and precluding Design-Build firms from bidding on public construction projects. Will you support and advocate for repeal of the Separations Act?
The Separation Act adds inefficiency and cost to public works projects in Pennsylvania. I would support repealing this ancient act and reevaluating how bids for public works projects should be handled. The goal is to provide the improvements that the state needs while being as cost effective and efficient as possible. This outdated legislation is obviously not the answer and changes must be made.
12. 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?
I was raised in Philadelphia and didn’t own a car until I was 27 years old. I utilized public transportation for the vast majority of my life. SEPTA is a staple of life in Philadelphia and after seeing public transportation in so many other cities I am a firm believer that it is key for us to focus on making Philadelphia’s public transportation system one of the best in the nation.
I will work with PA legislators to ensure that Philadelphia gets its fair share of funding and that projects and programs to increase public safety on our streets and to improve the quality of life of Philadelphians continue to be supported. Programs such as speed enforcement cameras on Roosevelt Blvd and the Roosevelt Blvd Rapid Bus Transit project are steps in the right direction but there are many more opportunities out there to improve urban land development, safety of pedestrians and motorists, and public transportation. Progressive ideas such as these must be applied citywide and I would fight to move us in that direction.