Mayoral Candidate Daniel Harrop Responds to Questions about Biking and Walking in Providence



Mayoral Candidate Daniel Harrop Responds to Questions about Biking and Walking in Providence

Daniel Harrop (R)


1. How do you feel about the current conditions for biking and walking in the city of Providence? Should you become Mayor, what are your top three priorities to improve biking and walking in the city, including safety, enjoyment, and/or connections between the urban core and greater Providence?

I think that the city and state has made tremendous strides in making Providence a more bicycle accessible city given the great abundance of side-walks and bicycle transport apparatuses on the front of the RIPTA buses. Also I think that the Blackstone Avenue neighborhood has provided cycling enthusiasts like myself a great place for leisure riding. While I would certainly like to see more of this in the city the problem is that like most great ideas it requires money which the city is desperately lacking at this time given our terrible and unjust fiscal situation. The chief initiative of my administration will be freeing the city from it’s current unjust pension and tax stabilization liabilities given out during the past forty years of Cianci corruption and Democratic incompetence. If we elect an outsider to City Hall who is willing to make these tough choices over the next four years, it will give us the opportunity to consider investing in our community both in modernizing our public schools to ensure that they are “safe, warm, and dry” as well as urban beautification which would involve creating more bicycling lanes. We must however right our fiscal house first.

2. According to the League of American Bicyclists, the U.S. bicycle industry contributes approximately $133 billion annually to the U.S. economy by supporting over 1 million jobs; generating nearly $18 billion in federal, state, and local taxes; and providing nearly $47 billion for meals, transportation, and lodging purchases during bike trips and tours. How can Providence take advantage of the increasing interest in bicycling?

I need to get better informed on these statistics before I can formulate a suggestion.

3. Many cities, businesses, and universities participate in the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly America program. What steps would you take, if any, to earn the city a rating above Honorable Mention? What steps would you take to encourage businesses and universities within the city to participate and earn recognition?

As I previously stated there are currently no public monies available to invest in these worthy projects, that said I do believe that there is a way in which the Mayors’ office can help, that being by use of the “Bully Pulpit.” Similar for my notion of how to continue to help funding the public libraries I propose that my administration would promote and advocate for private initiatives to raise funds for paving of bicycle lanes and other such things.

4. Please comment on how you will carry out the recommendations made by the new Providence Bicycle Plan. What, if anything, would you suggest to improve the bicycle plan?

Again, for want of public money I would use the soft power of my office as Mayor and my social contacts in Providence made over a lifetime to encourage private initiatives to help follow through with any recommendations that your  organization might make.

5. How do you feel about replacing on-street parking with bicycling facilities such as dedicated bike lanes, protected bike lanes, bike corrals, and so on? As Mayor, how would you work with local businesses to change their attitudes toward bike parking and bicycle infrastructure such as protected bike lanes?

Given the current premium placed upon parking in Providence a middle sized city, I do not believe replacing on street parking with bicycle lanes would be entirely appropriate at this time.

6. A bicycle sharing program has been announced for launch in 2015, pending sponsorship. Do you support bike share in Providence, and what would you do as Mayor to aid the success of such a program?

I fully agree with the notion of a “share-a-bike” program as a great initiative to promoting individuals to get more exercise and time out in the fresh air. I would again use the “soft powers” of my office and social contacts to encourage private initiatives.

7. With less available federal transportation funding for biking and walking projects, how do you propose the city of Providence acquire the necessary funds needed to make the city more bike/walk friendly?

Again, we currently are facing hard budgeting choices from the federal government down to our local communities and I deeply believe as a civic minded individual that we must look for private sector solutions to problems.

8. What will you as mayor do to participate fully in transportation decisions made in the state so that the needs of Providence residents – not just commuters – are addressed?

I will keep in frequent contact with the representatives, senators, and state elected officials to make sure that the needs and desires of the citizens of Providence are heard and addressed as best as is feasible.

9. City Council passed a Complete Streets resolution in 2012. How do you propose to ensure that Planning, DPW, and RIDOT fully utilize Complete Streets designs when working on city streets? Would you consider supporting a new ordinance to codify and strengthen the city’s position on Complete Streets?

Yes. I would support such an ordinance.

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  • barry
    Aug 26, 2014 at 11:50 am

    while Harrop is to be commending for replying, what he is saying is that he would spend nothing on bike programs, parking is more important than bike facilities, and any improvement for bicyclists would have to come from private sources.

  • Susan Marcus
    Aug 27, 2014 at 2:49 am

    What an excellent forum! Thank you so much, RIBike, for the intelligent questions and thank you so much to the candidates who took the time to answer.
    I'm a resident of South County so I will not be voting for the mayor of Providence. I hope any mayoral candidates reading will bear with me nonetheless for one more comment.
    I lived in Washington DC for 25 years. I participated in the city's rejuvenation over that time. Many factors contributed to DC's return to splendor but the promotion of biking played an important role. Biking builds healthy communities. Healthy communities find all kinds of ways to thrive. A pro-biking mayor of Providence could encourage that kind of civic pride — actual joy in the place where you live — and the city would reap the benefits in untold ways. Let's try it1

  • Jen
    Aug 27, 2014 at 10:42 am

    I really appreciated Dr. Harrop taking the time to respond to these questions & responding honestly, even though I think he is mistaken in not wanting to make any improvements for cyclists. He is clearly fiscally conservative, so I think he should take some time to appreciate all the financial benefits investing in cycling infrastructure can have for cities. Bike infrastructure has played a key role in attracting businesses, increasing business profits, and attracting residents in cities around the U.S. (see just a few example links below). All of these things could increase Providence's tax base. Additionally, bike lanes require far less upkeep than auto lanes given the much reduced wear. The contributions of cycling to improving health & the environment are also notable. Sometimes an initial financial investment is necessary to recognize gains. I do support the city pursuing private funds (e.g., an outside sponsor of bike share) in addition to investing city monies.

    Thanks again for participating!

    Some links about bikes and finances: