Images from the Fenty and Gray campaigns.
With so much happening around local budgets and WMATA, we haven’t focused very much on politics, including the race for Mayor in DC. But it’s time for that to change.
As Ann Marimow discussed in Sunday’s Post, there are a lot of new voters in DC, who have decided to settle in the city because of its improving quality of life, retail options, housing choices, transportation, and schools. Many of these voters read Greater Greater Washington, though we also have plenty of long-time residents as well.
From talking to many new residents, the dominant theme I keep hearing is: The variety of mini-scandals involving Mayor Fenty trouble many people, but ultimately, they want to know that the schools will be better, the streets safer, the neighborhoods more vibrant, and the transportation options more diverse in 5, 10, and 20 years as they and their future, unborn children need jobs, schools, playgrounds, nice neighborhoods, ways to get around, and places to eat and shop.
The process by which government makes decisions is important, but the decisions they make are even more important. Gray is running on process, Fenty on results. Which matters more? Reader Martin wrote in recently pondering this very question:
I simply LOVE the renaissance we are experiencing here in DC. Much of those changes are driven by the mayor through DDOT: Great Streets, streetcars, express buses, bus priority, bike lanes, sidewalk improvements and streetscaping.
These projects are reconnecting our neighborhoods and injecting them with new life. All this is happening at a time when folks in the burbs are experiencing the terrible traffic an reduced quality of life. Suddenly, after decades of decline, the city is looking pretty good. I believe DC has developed incredible momentum and that the mayor has the right DDOT projects in place to keep it going.
I assume that, if Mayor Fenty is ousted in this next election, Gabe Klein (and most of the city administration) will be a casualty. If our transportation projects are vital to DC’s renaissance, how will a change in city administration affect those projects? Will Gray promise to connect us with street cars? Will he continue to make our streets a priority? Or is it all just wasteful spending to him? What would he do different?
What does our vote mean for transportation in this next election?
I’m trying to arrange to meet with both Fenty and Gray to discuss this very question. Since, as I’ve repeatedly emphasized, Greater Greater Washington is not just a transportation blog, it won’t be confined to just DDOT, though that’s certainly a part.