New Haven Safe Streets Coalition 2023 Questionnaire

Click to read Shafiq's responses to the New Haven Safe Streets Coalition 2023 Questionnaire.

  • In a typical month, what percentage of your travel time do you travel by public transportation (bus, train, etc.)?

  • In a typical month, what percentage of your travel time do you travel on foot or by sidewalk-legal mobility vehicle (wheelchair, etc.)?

  • Bicycles, E-Bikes, and Motor-scooters are all examples of street-legal micromobility vehicles. In a typical month, what percentage of your travel time do you travel by street-legal micromobility vehicle?

  • Cars, vans, and trucks are examples of private, large-scale vehicles. In a typical month, what percentage of your travel time do you travel via private, large-scale vehicles?

  • Did you double check your math on the above four questions, and did the percentages you provided add up to a total of 100%?

  • Vision Zero is the goal of fully eliminating road deaths. Do you support Vision Zero?
    Absolutely I support Vision Zero (VZ) and believe that we need to be talking about the violence on our streets more. We need to set clear goals as a City and there is nothing more clear than a 0 when it comes to my goal for the number of preventable deaths I want for our City. 

  • Do you support automated traffic enforcement implementation in New Haven?
    Without commenting if cameras keep us safe all ways, when it comes to traffic enforcement, the use of automated cameras to issue infractions is a safe, efficient, and proven way to in completing the goal of compliance with traffic safety laws when done correctly. Cameras keep us honest and tell the story from the perspective of the camera's lens. There will always need to be a review, oversight, and due process in the issuance of fines and infractions to ensure that the process is fair. There is an epidemic of dangerous driving in this town, and we can't afford to leave tools in our toolbelt when it comes to safe streets.

  • Do you support reducing speed limits to 20 mph or less in New Haven?
    Yes, particularly in our neighborhood streets which should be a safe places for children to ride bikes and play. Every crash has speed as a major factor. Speed limits alone won't bring our speeds low enough for safe streets, we will also need to design our streets for 20mph if we want 20mph. That includes more traffic calming both temporary and permanent. 

  • Do you support eliminating parking minimums in New Haven?
    I absolutely believe that after 100 years, our zoning code is outdated and in need of an overhaul that centers people and place over needs for parking (over more productive real estate). We don't need to wait for our zoning code to be overhauled. I believe a good start to changing our zoning would be to start with parking minimums as a tool to help in producing more housing. I believe making the minimums 0 or replacing "minimum" with "maximum" in the text would be a good start to a broader overhaul in zoning. 

  • Do you support establishing parking maximums in New Haven?
    Eventually, we will want to create parking maximums in order to better support transit and a shared economy. However, I am more interested in eliminating minimums first to see how this works and then working towards parking maximums in a broader, larger overhaul of the zoning code.

  • Do you support measuring transportation impacts by VMT (vehicle miles traveled) instead of LOS (level of service)?
    VMT is a better way at determining the impact of a project than LOS because New Haven does not want 100% free-flowing traffic everywhere, always. Traffic delay is not something to be feared in the way in which the LOS model and associated funding would have us believe. I would be open to advocating for this change at the State level, particularly in how it is interpreted by the Office of State Traffic Administration and the local City Plan Commission in land use reviews. When making a change, it will be important to focus on the training of staff and the professional fields of planning and transportation engineering in order to make a switch like this effectively. Presently, it is my understanding that a majority of funding opportunities New Haven applies for utilize LOS as criteria - something we would all work on changing from the top down as well as from the bottom up.

  • Do you support New Haven becoming a Pedestrian Safety Zone?
    Yes, it is worthy of study for New Haven to become a "Pedestrian Safety Zone." Ultimately, I support New Haven being a safe zone for pedestrians, and to do that, we will need to do more than accept the liability for the speed limits in our city. We will need to accept liability for the harm done by our transportation system to our lives as well as the environment. 

  • Do you support the decriminalization of biking on sidewalks in New Haven?
    Yes, I believe it should not be a jailable or finable offense to ride on the sidewalk. I also believe that certain behaviors on bicycles can be dangerous on the sidewalk (or roads), and we should figure out how best to handle these rare occasions. We should have a safe and accessible network for pedestrians and cyclists to move throughout all of New Haven, and we should remove unnecessary laws that act as barriers to this movement.

  • Do you support the decriminalization of mid-block pedestrian crossings?
    Yes, similar to the prior question, mid-block pedestrian crossings should not be a jailable or finable offense. We should instead be focusing our government on engineering and education in mid-block pedestrian crossings rather than enforcing our way to compliance.

  • Do you support the legalization of the Idaho Stop in New Haven?
    Yes, similar to the prior two questions, we should continue to find ways in our code of ordinances that reduce overall walking and biking in New Haven. Rolling carefully through a stop sign on a bicycle is not the equivalent movement while in a car, and we can afford to allow cyclists the ability not to come to a full stop to preserve some momentum to get through the intersection safely and expeditiously.

  • Do you support fare-free bus service in CT?
    Yes, and I also support fare-full bus service in CT. There is a time and place for each, and I want a robust public transportation service that will have all types of fare options.

  • Do you consider painted mobility lanes to be protected micromobility lanes?
    No, paint does not provide protection

  • Do you consider flexible delineator-marked micromobility lanes to be sufficiently protected micromobility lanes?
    No, we want a system of micromobility lanes that offers protection and a safe experience for riders ages 8 to 80. The safest system is a system removed from vehicular traffic. 

  • Would you as mayor be willing to use your executive power (as given in the Safe Routes For All Bill) to implement a street safety improvement even if the alder for that street was not in support?
    This would depend on the improvement and the Alder and whether the cost was worth the price.

  • On a commercial street, would you prioritize a micromobility lane over on-street parking?
    I believe that we can both listen to our businesses and to our neighbors to get the shared future we want in our streets. I would work with our local business owners to realize a shared vision for greater convenience to their stores. This means more micromobility lanes for greater bike and scooter access as well as a larger focus on delivery and commercial traffic that clogs our right of way as well. If we have commercial vehicles blocking our micromobility or travel lanes, it creates an unsafe environment for all users - especially the vulnerable ones.

  • Please describe a time you felt uncomfortable or unsafe while moving throughout the city of New Haven. What would you like to do to address the issues your experience highlights?
    As a retired New Haven Police Sergeant, i know firsthand the importance of public safety and reducing fear or crime and I hope to bring that experience to City Hall. 

  • What do the phrases "transportation justice" and "mobility justice" mean to you?
    It means being able to move freely, quickly, and without prejudice in my City, State, Country, and throughout this Earth. It means that a bike lane in West Rock is more important than a bike lane in East Rock. It means that the Civil Rights Act and Americans with Disabilities Act are always under-invested, under threat, and under attack. It means Rosa Parks did not sit down in Montgomery so that Yale Students can ride separate but equally from the residents of New Haven.

  • What are the top three priorities of your administration. Do these priorities intersect with transportation/mobility justice, and if so, how?
    Education, Public Safety and Leadership. These priorities intersect with transportation justice in myriad ways. Safe streets while on the surface a public safety issue that requires we stop the epidemic of traffic violence, it needs to be addressed holistically. Implementing walking school busses and a strive for five programs for students (school pick ups and drop offs a five-minute walk from schools at designated zones) Helps students perform better, gain health benefits and learn self-dependence, and improves traffic safety by making use of active transport. However, without transportation justice, these benefits are only available to some communities since our traffic calming measures and hence walkability is decidedly uneven throughout the city’s various neighborhoods. Of course, nothing happens to improve any of this without the vision and leadership to bring the city together to achieve these goals.    

  • Mayor Elicker recently released a budget proposal. If you are running against him, what, if anything, would you like to change in the budget priorities as proposed?
    More sidewalk dollars. Everywhere I go in New Haven, our neighbors want their sidewalks taken care of so they can get to the corner, to the doctor, and to the bus. We need to build new sidewalks in New Haven and do it with small businesses from New Haven that can help circulate the dollar through the economy.

  • New Haven has adopted the Safe Routes For All Citywide Active Transportation Plan. Do you support the plan? If so, how would you implement it? If not, how would you change it?
    Yes, I support the Safe Routes for All Citywide Active Transportation Plan. I believe that the best part of a plan is the coming together of a community to address and solve a problem together. To implement, we will need to do the same process of coming together and rolling up our sleeves. To lead that work, I would craft a Traffic Violence Emergency Taskforce with standing members as well as a broader community invitation - much like our CompStat meetings. This taskforce would be charged with monitoring the traffic violence epidemic and the various mitigation strategies in our tool belt.

  • As mayor, how would you grow the mileage of micromobility centered travelways in New Haven and work to form a connected network?
    As a former Alder, I know that the best way to get things done is in partnership with our community and neighborhood leaders, including but not limited to our elected officials. I also know that it takes leadership and showing up to do the work. I show up, and I do the work, and in the case of growing micromobility lanes, it's about a vision and taking the steps needed to get it implemented. I can't just tell staff to do it - I have to show up and be in the room to sell this to the electorate. 

  • Do you have ideas for re-prioritizing any public space that currently centers privately, low-occupancy vehicles?
    I want to work with more restaurants to turn more parking lanes and parking spaces into restaurant seating for customers and bike racks. I also think that Whalley Avenue needs to implement bus lanes and think about removing the parking from most, if not all, of Whalley Avenue in the portions East of Fitch.

  • What do you believe are the biggest barriers to transportation/mobility justice in New Haven and how do you plan to overcome these barriers?
    Ableism, Racism, and Ageism. Sidewalk first mentality and strategy. Just like a walking beat - if you can rule the sidewalk, you can rule the streets.

  • What, if anything, would you do to improve public bus transportation in New Haven?
    To start, I would work to make sure there are signs and stickers that have a QR code for customers to report issues via SeeClickFix. Both CTtransit and the City are on the platform. It's a perfect way to engage more riders in their service. Next, I would implement the Move New Haven study and focus on getting the cross-town services implemented. CTtransit is the workhorse of our economy, and partnering with the region and the State of Connecticut to improve the system is a big victory for equity in transportation.

  • What, if anything, would you do to improve safety on state roads in New Haven?
    The first thing on my mind is to work on the safety of pedestrians on state highways. The distance between the crosswalks on Route 10 between Ellsworth and West Park is treacherous. We need another signal to cross pedestrians around Hobart Street.

  • Any additional information or survey feedback you'd like to add?
    I run throughout the city streets (4-8 miles at a time) weekly for exercise.