Detailed Responses - County Council District 5
Do you support the Locally Preferred Alternative selected by Gov. O'Malley for the Purple Line, including an at-grade light rail line with a trail alongside it on the Georgetown Branch right of way between Bethesda and Silver Spring?
Valerie Ervin (D) I voted to recommend that the Governor endorse a Locally Preferred Alternative for the Purple Line in January 2009, which, among other things, involve “medium investment” light rail using the Georgetown Branch right-of-way as the preferred alignment. As you may know, the alignment will run right through my neighborhood in Silver Spring.
Since my election, I have and will continue to work with MTA, local officials, and residents to ensure this proposed route retains the residential character of adjacent neighborhoods; improves the overall mobility of County residents, and delivers the economic and environmental benefits associated with other light rail projects throughout the Country.
Incumbent voting record Jan. 27, 2009 vote to recommend at-grade light rail - Ervin voted yes.
Which is a higher priority: maintaining Ride-On Service or building the $80 million parking garage in Bethesda?
Valerie Ervin (D) The national fiscal crisis has brought about many difficult budgetary cuts at the local level, and elected officials had to make tough choices that reflect priorities. Year after year, I have opposed cuts to Ride On service.
In November 2009 and February 2010, the Council approved two savings plans of approximately $100 million. However, in reviewing these reduction proposals, I opposed cuts to what I view as essential government services, such as Ride On routes. In the FY11 budget, I once again opposed cuts to Ride On. These buses, along with Metro buses, are key links in our transportation network, helping residents get to their destinations, and for some, providing a sole means of transportation.
Incumbent voting record Feb. 9, 2010 vote to preserve Ride-On service, using cable TV funds to cancel proposed bus cuts - Ervin voted yes.
Do you approve or disapprove of County traffic engineers' current policy of giving equal priority on the road to autos that carry a few people and buses that carry many people?
Valerie Ervin (D) An effective, safe, multimodal transportation network is one of my highest priorities. I work with local officials and the community everyday to ensure that residents can walk, bike, and ride transit. We have to prioritize multi-modal options for residents and look at prioritizing projects like bus rapid transit for the future of Montgomery County.
First, I am the Council’s representative on the County’s Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Advisory Board and the cosponsor of the County’s Pedestrian Safety Plan. Second, I have constantly stepped up to oppose any proposed Ride On service reductions. Third, I sponsored Expedited Bill 3-10 (passed 8-1) that makes it easier for sidewalks and bikeways to be built in communities that want and need them. Finally, when the Executive’s FY11-16 CIP only included design funding for the Metropolitan Branch Trail, I felt a lack of progress and a lack of commitment to non-automotive modes of transportation. As a result, I asked for a review of the project and championed the request for federal funding via a letter from the Council to Rep. Van Hollen’s office. In the end, the budget has been doubled for the project and the Trail’s progress has been expedited because of my work.
Should any money be spent on increasing highway capacity associated with the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan before a light rail Corridor Cities Transitway from Shady Grove to Clarksburg is fully funded for construction?
Valerie Ervin (D) I voted to support the final version of the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan, as it will bring needed jobs, will secure a place for the growing biotechnology industry in the County, and will help enhance the tax base for future generations. I believe that an effective transportation network must rely on a multimodal approach and that transit infrastructure should be built first. The plan will have a multimodal approach, as indicated by the phasing of the project that I voted to support.
Should approval of Transit-Oriented Development near Metro stations be tied to the movement of cars?
Valerie Ervin (D) I believe that as our County’s population grows, we must plan carefully where future jobs and housing will be located. Transit-oriented development should play a critical role in addressing future growth. For transit-oriented development in the County to be successful, such as in Silver Spring, Wheaton, White Flint, and Twinbrook, it must emphasize pedestrian and other non-vehicular connections to the station, as well as the inclusion of affordable and workforce housing. We have to continue prirotizing ways for residents to get out of their cars, such as creating connections to reliable bus service, easy pedestrian access to metro, and efficient bikeways.