Saige Martin is a candidate for Raleigh City Council’s district D. Find more District D candidate responses here as available.
The Raleighites Agenda, a community-powered questionnaire, includes questions from Raleigh residents. For more questions on the process, visit this post.
QUESTION 1: For district candidates: What is your vision for your district and the city as a whole? (What will Raleigh look like in 10-20 years?) Once in office, what actions will be your priority to achieve that vision?
I envision a Raleigh in 20 years that has met the demands of its people. A Raleigh that has invested in affordable and work-force housing and a Raleigh that has prioritized bike and pedestrian infrastructure instead of expanding roads. I envision a Raleigh where our transit system is efficient, convenient and equitable. And where our growth allows us an opportunity to build complete and walkable communities. Through this growth, I anticipate being able to steward the tough conversations that are required of our leaders. For instance, the effects of growth and displacement and gentrification or using our growth as a way to promote minority-owned small businesses. We have incredible opportunities right in front of us for our city if we are willing to elect the right city leaders who will advance our shared values.
QUESTION 2: What’s the impact on traffic of the rapid high-rise development in downtown, and what are you doing to avoid the gridlock we’re seeing too often? How would you improve walkability, especially in the urban core?
The city plays a key role in establishing and zoning areas that can concentrate our growing population.
Cars and parking are not the future of our downtown urban core; micro-transit and residents being able to safely walking are. Raleigh City Council has a moral obligation to our people, and to our taxpayers, to begin a strategic and methodical process of removing publicly subsidized parking and begin to refocus our resources and future planning on providing the necessary infrastructure for non-vehicular modes of transportation. When we incentivize and increase safety for those that want to walk, bike or take a scooter, we decrease the number of vehicles on our roads which decreases our carbon pollution and traffic congestion, while increasing revenue for businesses on those routes.
I am committed to pushing for investments in multi-modal transportation solutions that begin to reduce the number of cars in our downtown core and other appropriate focal areas. Most importantly, this includes developing a plan for the rapid deployment of separated and protected bicycle lanes, and improved pedestrian infrastructure. When cities are built to support a safe experience for pedestrians or cyclists or scooter riders or any other low-impact forms of transportation, more people will choose these modes which decreases traffic congestion and improves our health and the planet’s health.
QUESTION 3: According to the Arts & Economic Impact Study 5, the nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Raleigh generated $532 million in economic activity, representing 95% of the total activity for Wake County in fiscal year 2015. The creative economy also supports over 8,00 full-time equivalent jobs in Raleigh and generates $26 million in tax revenue for local government.
What is your vision for the arts and the role they would play in Raleigh’s overall economic development strategy?
The arts are incredibly important for our community. Artists need to be cultivated and supported. Raleigh’s buildings were created by artists who had the vision to make Raleigh beautiful. Artists make a positive impact on our daily lives and should be supported. There is no reason for us not to support our creative community so that they may be fully compensated for their work and can live comfortably in our city. Their presence is essential to a thriving economy and a vibrant city so I would like to increase funding for the arts in our city.
QUESTION 4: What is your vision for Raleigh 20 years from now? Development will happen whether you support it or not — so what is next? What is the big idea? What is YOUR big idea?
I want Raleigh to be the best place to use your bike or scooter or to walk in the south. To this end, I support multi-modal, low impact forms of transportation like walking, bicycles, and scooters and want to promote a safe experience for those people to encourage reducing the number of cars in the city. As we strategically increase development around the city we can ensure that the urban experience is one that provides residents with all of their needs within walking distance. Complete communities are part of the answer in getting people out of their cars.
QUESTION 5: With rising costs for parking and rent, what will you do to help keep independent, locally-owned shops in downtown Raleigh from being swallowed up by larger chains?
I will work to provide incentives to local businesses for providing a livable wage when possible. This is a key innovation that would support Raleigh’s short – and long-term economic growth moving forward. I support a restructuring of our internal processes so that small business owners can get what they need as quickly as possible without dealing with bureaucratic hurdles, increased costs, and fees and delays that impact their bottom line.
Raleigh can be better, in supporting our entrepreneurs and I plan to make us a city where our residents feel safe investing in their dreams by increasing learning opportunities, grants and partnerships to leverage our collective impact as a community and invest in our next generation of business owners.
Making our city more friendly to those on bikes and scooters instead of investing in on-street parking are proven methods to increase revenue for businesses on those routes.
Saige Martin is a District D candidate for Raleigh City Council. His campaign website is saige4raleigh.com.