Safe, Affordable Transportation for a Connected City
Helen knows that transportation means mobility and connectedness. Her vision for safe streets and accessible transit ensures that in a Gym administration, transportation operations and infrastructure unlock opportunities for employment, economic development, education, good health, cleaner air, and even joy.
When a parent takes the Broad Street line to drop a child off at daycare, a delivery worker carries groceries on their bicycle, a senior takes daily walks with a friend, or a wheelchair user rides the bus to work each morning, they deserve to feel confident, safe, and supported. Helen will lead a people-centric mobility agenda that prioritizes safety, accessibility, affordability, and reliability for all. By encouraging the use of public transportation, bicycle transit, and making our city more friendly to pedestrians, Helen will reduce toxic emissions and move our city forward into a greener, brighter, more connected future.
Helen has long championed a citywide vision to make it safer and easier for all Philadelphians to travel and move through our city. She passed laws to require safer sidewalks around construction sites and to save workers money with pre-tax commuter benefits, and she led efforts for transit equity planning and to end transfer fees and youth fares. As Mayor, she will build on this track record to grow SEPTA ridership, reduce traffic fatalities, and ensure everyone can easily, affordably, and confidently travel across the city.
Split Transportation and Sanitation into two departments so both get the resources and attention they need
The nation’s sixth-largest city has a 20th-century approach to transportation. It combines transportation operations with sanitation in the Streets Department and consequently, neither critical need gets the focused attention and resources they need. Splitting these functions into separate dedicated departments will improve services and ensure a clear mission, leadership, and accountability. Helen’s transportation department will center equity in its planning and operations, make sure Philadelphia is positioned to capture funds for visionary projects from highway capping to subway expansion, and train the next generation for family-sustaining careers in green transportation and infrastructure.
Increase public transit use by making SEPTA clean, safe, reliable, and service-oriented
Helen’s administration will focus on making SEPTA service reliable and attractive to all riders so that this critical service can truly meet the needs of our city. She will support daily cleaning and make safety on buses, subways, and in stations a top priority, increasing coordination between SEPTA and City police and ensuring a special focus on the times children are commuting to and from school. She will make young people lifelong riders by providing free SEPTA passes for all students, removing arbitrary hours and distance restrictions so kids can safely attend school, get to jobs and extracurricular activities, and see extended family. To expand ridership and bring additional resources into the system, Helen will strongly champion SEPTA’s new institutional pass program, and work for broad adoption including by area universities. A Gym administration will also make using public transit more comfortable and enjoyable through increasing bus shelters and seating, and renovating major stations. As mayor, Helen will ensure joint planning with SEPTA, leverage city contributions to achieve key goals, and appoint riders and transportation experts to the SEPTA board.
Save lives by reducing speed and ending dangerous driving
Philadelphians should not have to risk their lives simply by crossing the street. In 2021 more than 550 people were killed or seriously injured in traffic crashes, with these devastating losses disproportionately harming low-income residents and people of color. It doesn’t have to be this way. Helen’s administration will seek authorization to expand speed cameras to roads where there is regular speeding, to improve traffic safety while minimizing interactions between police and drivers and keeping our police focused on violent crime. A Gym administration will accelerate the city’s Vision Zero plan, and make it easier and faster for neighborhoods to access traffic calming measures like speed cushions. As mayor, Helen will lead a comprehensive and proactive effort to clear intersections and slow speeds on routes to schools, parks, playgrounds, and institutions relied on by seniors.
Provide well-paved streets that accommodate everyone
Every Philadelphian benefits from well-paved streets, whether behind the wheel, riding a bus, on two wheels, or walking. Helen will increase Philadelphia’s paving capacity by adding a third dedicated crew, so no one has to risk injury or expensive repairs when riding or driving on our streets. A Gym administration will embrace a “complete streets” approach, ensuring that when we design and repair streets, we make sure they work for all users. That includes making it easier to cross at busy intersections, especially with children, better supporting those who use mobility devices like wheelchairs, and expanding our network of protected bike lanes to both protect the many diverse Philadelphians who depend on bicycles to get around and making this clean transit mode a more viable option for others.
Make sure sidewalks are accessible and in good repair
Our sidewalks must be accessible to everyone who uses them. As mayor, Helen will create a Sidewalk Safety Program to improve enforcement of requirements for clear, well-maintained sidewalks and ensure use of protected and covered walkways during construction. This effort will include remediating dangerous sidewalk conditions, pursuing payment from well-off owners and providing low-income repair grants to reduce the city’s liability for otherwise inevitable injuries. A Gym administration will ensure businesses and community organizations have clear, user-friendly ways to create lively uses of public space from streeteries to parklets, while ensuring safety and mobility for all who pass by or use them.
Address the traffic and congestion clogging streets and polluting our air
A Gym administration will prioritize getting Philadelphians out of traffic whether they are riding a bus or behind the wheel. Through a mix of policy solutions and enforcement, including full use of newly-authorized non-police Public Safety Officers and revamping loading zones, Helen will take on the growing problem of delivery trucks overwhelming Center City and neighborhoods alike. She will also lead comprehensive efforts to reduce mobile emissions and improve air quality, including promoting vehicle electrification, and will support mass transit by expanding and enforcing dedicated bus lanes. By focusing on sustainable transportation solutions, a Gym administration would work towards a cleaner and more efficient transportation system for the benefit of Philadelphians and the environment.
End the courtesy tow madness
Thousands of Philadelphia drivers have lost time, money, and even risked arrest as a result of an absurd system where the City authorizes cars to be moved to accommodate repair work and events without providing any way for owners to locate their vehicles. In a Gym administration, this will end, and the City will ensure that the location of any vehicle subject to “courtesy towing” is centrally tracked.