Charlottesville City Council Candidates Weigh-in on "Broken" Transit System
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville City Council candidates are sharing their ideas on how to help make the city more environmentally-friendly. At a candidate forum hosted by the Sierra Club on Tuesday night, the five Democrats on the ballot weighed-in on the matter.
Each candidate supported a ban on single-use plastic and discussed ways the city can plan around the impacts of climate change. They also shared their ideas on how to improve public transportation in hopes of encouraging more people to swap their car keys for bus passes.
Several of the five Democratic candidates described the public transportation system in Charlottesville as "broken." Sena Magill says the city can learn something from the University of Virginia.
When I was a UVA student, I used the bus system there and when I lived in Charlottesville I've used the bus system here and I always got to my classes on time at UVA and I never got to work on time when I used it here," Magill said.
Lloyd Snook says the first step toward making the system more reliable is having buses run more frequently.
"We have to make a commitment...to running the buses every 15 to 20 minutes," Snook said.
Bob Fenwick added that increasing the number of bus stops around the city will also encourage people to more regularly take the bus, which will help cut down on carbon emissions.
"If we were to double or triple the number of shelters, I think that would make a huge difference," Fenwick said.
Brian Pinkston believes more than just the nuts and bolts of the transit system need an update. He says the city needs to change the perception surrounding public transportation.
"It's just not for people that don't have cars or can't afford cars," Pinkston said. "It's part of the way, part of the network, part of the ligaments that hold the city together."
Michael Payne wants to take that a step further. He believes a fully integrated regional transit system incorporating the counties surrounding Charlottesville will make the biggest environmental and logistical impact.
"It's really important for us as candidates and councilors to continue to advocate for this because right now, there's not mass ridership that's advocating for it but there's not mass ridership because the system isn't good," Payne said.
The five Democratic candidates are set to square off in two debates on Monday and Tuesday of next week. Also running the the race are two independent candidates: Paul Long and Bellamy Brown.