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This year, Broken Sidewalk asked each Metro Council candidate to respond to a survey of questions related to the topics we cover here on the site: urbanism, transportation, health, and the environment. Broken Sidewalk will make no endorsements this year for Metro Council candidates, but we hope these survey responses—published verbatim—are helpful to voters in making up their minds.

We will be publishing the results by district. Below is District 16. Our survey included two types of questions: 1. multiple choice answers about personal behaviors and views, and 2. longer responses on a range of topics. Each candidate was also given an optional open field to expand upon a topic of their choosing, if they so desired.

Louisville Metro Council District 16 comprises Prospect, Glenview, Indian Hills in the far northeast corner of the county.

Current District 16 incumbent, Kelly Downard, has decided not to run. The candidates for District 16 include, in alphabetical order, businessman and filmmaker Gill Holland (D), printing company executive and former Tea Party leader Scott Reed (R), and online news network co-founder William “Chip” Sobel (R).

 


Gill Holland

Have often do you walk to work or for basic errands?
No response.

Have often do you take transit to commute to work or for basic errands?
No response.

How often do you ride a bike to get to work or for errands?
No response.

How often do you drive in a personal motor vehicle?
No response.

How safe do you feel as a pedestrian walking on Louisville’s streets?
No response.

Louisville’s transit system should expand service, infrastructure, and offerings.
No response.

The city should invest in complete street design that promotes safety for all road users.
No response.

Walkable and transit-oriented development should be promoted over auto-oriented development.
No response.

Louisville should repair and maintain its existing transportation network before widening or building new roads.
No response.

Historic architecture promotes the economic vitality of the Louisville region.
No response.

Describe your favorite walk OR your favorite place to hang out in your neighborhood.
No response.

What’s the biggest issue facing your district and how would you address it?
Transportation infrastructure improvements and investments are crucial to families of the 16th District and the area as a whole. The uncertainly regarding how the East End Bridge will impact the community, an increasingly difficult commute to the downtown central business district and, just like communities across Louisville, a transportation infrastructure in desperate need of upgrades all need to be addressed in sooner rather than later.

Additional issues that need require quick attention include smarter zoning to grow our community intelligently, improving and clarifying Jefferson County’s property taxation process and continued investment in our parks and green spaces. The 16th District must also work to encourage better integration and relationships between all the towns and 6th-class cities, and others, greater Metro Louisville.

In three sentences, what does Metro Council do?
Louisville Metro Council is the legislative branch in our local government and approves and helps administer the budget and shape policy for our community.

While our city has what it referred to commonly as a “strong mayor system” I think Metro Council is not presently as effective as it could be and could provide more pro-active leadership and collaboration with the Mayor’s office.

However, the single most important responsibility of individual members of the Metro Council is to be an advocate for the citizens they represent and help them navigate the channels of their government through quality constituent services.

Louisville is among the most dangerous cities in the country for pedestrian collisions and fatalities. What would you do to improve street safety for all road users in Louisville? Please cite specific examples.
One common sense solution would be to actually hold cars to the posted speed limits and, in some places reduce the speed limit. One downtown example is East Market Street which turns from an urban street into a super highway during rush-hour each day.

Prospect is working on a very interesting streetscape with QK 4 Architects which will is aimed improve the pedestrian experience and safety. If it proves to be a success it could be held as a model for other communities dealing with pedestrian safety issues.

What does responsible development look like in Louisville and in your district? What would you do to promote responsible development in Louisville?
I have been meeting with the mayors and leadership of each of towns and cities in the 16th District along with the leaders of homeowner associations to hear their thoughts on development and what kind of community the citizens they represent want to see us become. In doing so I’ve found common themes: more green spaces, smarter traffic planning, development that encourages locally owned small businesses

Louisville is among the fastest warming cities in the country. Please describe your stance on fixing Louisville’s Urban Heat Island Effect. What specific steps need to be taken to solve this problem?
Louisville needs to commit itself to a 10 year, one million tree planting which will help address the issue of urban heat islands as well as benefit the health of the city’s population and economy. Additionally, we must improve zoning ordinances to discourage the development of vast, treeless surface parking.

How would you strike a balance between preservation, development, and economic development in Louisville?
As Louisville begins a multi-decade growth cycle, the balance between development – both community and economic development – and preserving our unique character and history is one of the most important issues facing our town.  To grow without losing our character and what makes Louisville special is a challenge we must tackle before it’s no longer an option for us.

Cities like Austin and Nashville, have experienced tremendous growth, both in the their urban landscapes and in population, but I think they have lost some of what made them cool and unique in the first place.  We have great history, great building stock from the late 1800s, great cultural heritage with arts and parks, and also a great entrepreneurial and independent mindstreak that wants to do new innovative things.  Adaptive reuse (see The Green Building) is one way, renovating old buildings creates more jobs as more money goes into labor than materials for building.


Scott Reed

Did not respond.


William “Chip” Sobel

Harrods Creek/Prospect

Have often do you walk to work or for basic errands?
Never

Have often do you take transit to commute to work or for basic errands?
Never

How often do you ride a bike to get to work or for errands?
Never

How often do you drive in a personal motor vehicle?
Every day

How safe do you feel as a pedestrian walking on Louisville’s streets?
There’s some risk

Louisville’s transit system should expand service, infrastructure, and offerings.
Agree

The city should invest in complete street design that promotes safety for all road users.
Agree

Walkable and transit-oriented development should be promoted over auto-oriented development.
Undecided

Louisville should repair and maintain its existing transportation network before widening or building new roads.
Agree

Historic architecture promotes the economic vitality of the Louisville region.
Strongly Agree

Describe your favorite walk OR your favorite place to hang out in your neighborhood.
Garvin Brown Preserve. Adjacent to Hays Kennedy, the only Metro Park in District 16 other than Historic Locust Grove, Garvin Brown Preserve maintains the flavor of this once pastoral part of the county. 46 acres with 1500 feet of scenic Ohio River shoreline, it is among the last unspoiled land in the district open to the public.

What’s the biggest issue facing your district and how would you address it?
Maintaining and improving quality of life; residents choose to live in this particular district. To amplify citywide business growth and development, district residents who are job creators have identified the need for a skilled workforce education and training facility to provide a pool of well qualified employable Louisvillians. Local government red tape presents ongoing impediments and bureaucratic obstacles discouraging even the most ardent entrepreneur because of excessive fees, permits and licenses. Business must be allowed to concentrate more on value and less on expense. Regarding issues Broken Sidewalk examines, within the 16th District preservation of remaining natural beauty and limiting commercial development and new high density housing are priorities. Additionally, exhaust, noise pollution, and traffic caused by future use of the east end bridge must be addressed and INDOT must account for unanticipated structural damage to property beyond the official 500 foot danger zone.

In three sentences, what does Metro Council do?
A better question is “What doesn’t Metro Council do?” Members should link citizens with local government, yet many residents don’t know their member’s name, their stand on issues, or available services. District 16 residents will be on a first name basis with me, and will always have an advocate championing their needs and best interests.

Louisville is among the most dangerous cities in the country for pedestrian collisions and fatalities. What would you do to improve street safety for all road users in Louisville? Please cite specific examples.
Better marked crosswalks, possibly color-coded. Use reflective paint or strips on all lane markings for improved visibility and safety at night and in the rain. Stricter enforcement of proper road usage and all existing traffic laws, possibly with increased fines and penalties. Use smartphone technology to disengage texting while in motion. Recreational bikers and walkers need more safe connections between streets and the Louisville Loop.

What does responsible development look like in Louisville and in your district? What would you do to promote responsible development in Louisville?
Louisville should look and feel like Louisville. Just because you can build it doesn’t mean you should. Public opinion matters. Strengthen the approval process with stricter architectural design standards. When possible, repurpose/rehab existing structures instead of new construction. Incentivize LEED certification/green technology such as solar, geothermal and water conservation. In District 16, two high-rise condos are more than enough. To encourage more suburban TARC usage, change to shuttle-sized busses running more frequently with expanded neighborhood routes and covered, seated bus stops.

Louisville is among the fastest warming cities in the country. Please describe your stance on fixing Louisville’s Urban Heat Island Effect. What specific steps need to be taken to solve this problem?
Mandate tree preservation, planting new trees and adding greenscape citywide. Greening of flat roof buildings including JCPS. Create center lane landscaped median with trees on widest downtown streets. Prohibit new surface parking lots. Develop formula for shade tree planting and permanent landscaping in existing large parking lots.

How would you strike a balance between preservation, development, and economic development in Louisville?
Encourage public/private partnership projects. View historic structures as assets not liabilities. Focus on renewing urban core over suburban sprawl. GLI should not stand for Giving Louisville to Indiana. Regional growth can wait until this city is on more stable economic footing.

Optional open response. Discuss any issue in Louisville relating to land use, development, transportation, preservation, or health.
Too many decisions affecting Louisvillians are reached through backroom deal making by parties who stand to profit from such decisions. Advocating for development should be encouraged however those with conflicts of interest should be exempt from all decision making. Elected officials cannot represent constituents if they are unable to vote on multiple issues.

Many of the suggestions made herein are expensive, and Louisville residents’ combined local tax burden is already among the highest in the country. We must do a better job to efficiently allocate limited resources so that collected dollars may be used to do for citizens what they cannot do for themselves.

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