Why I'm Running

Being an active part of the community means that you become a resource for the people around you. I’ve listened to friends and neighbors voice frustration with our city because they haven’t been able to find the answers they need and felt like no one was willing to help them. They've been ignored and are looking for someone to not only listen, but to help. The growth we're experiencing is exciting but also has highlighted some of the places where Raleigh needs to improve. I've heard a lot of the frustrations this brings and have been happy to roll up my sleeves and find the answers and get people connected to whomever can help them. As this has happened, more and more people have asked why I couldn’t be the one who represented them.

 

That's why I'm running for Raleigh City Council - because we need someone to work hard and be a resource for all residents. Raleigh needs someone who will listen and act for all.

 

Part of being a resource for the people around you is understanding the systems in place and how to navigate those systems. Participating in the Raleigh Neighborhood College, the Raleigh Citizen Leadership Academy, and my local Citizen Advisory Council has given me good insight into how our City works. Serving on WakeUp Wake County’s Housing, Transportation, and Land Use Committee, I've been able to better understand how our policies have to be better connected to make a meaningful difference. As a board member of the Glenwood South Neighborhood Collaborative, I've heard how we can better support our local business community and have focused on bringing businesses and residents together to make our neighborhood better. 
 

As I look around and see the growth that’s happening, I frequently think of Nashville, Tennessee. I moved to the Triangle from Nashville almost 13 years ago and see it as an example of why we need to put strong plans for growth in place now before growth gets ahead of us. It’s hard to play catch up after the fact. It's hard to put in great infrastructure that is people-focused and accessible after all spaces have been developed. It's hard to protect areas from storm water damage after the development that can contribute to the damage has already occurred. It's hard to have a robust transportation system if the streets are not designed to support it, sidewalks and safe cross-walks are not available or accessible, and plans for non-car traffic aren't in place. It's hard to have a place where people feel at home if there aren't options that are affordable and if there are severe limits on the types of buildings and uses for the homes. It's hard for residents to be safe and secure if there aren't enough well-trained first responders. We have to build with a solid foundation for growth that supports the people of Raleigh now. We cannot continue doing the same things we have done for the past 5 years and truly be ready for the future.

My husband and I have put down roots here in Raleigh. For us, this isn’t just a place to live, work, and play - it’s a place to call home. I want Raleigh to be a place that is truly home for all our residents.

I look forward to getting to know you and your vision for Raleigh! Please join me at an upcoming free event or reach out via email.

Priorities

 

To ensure that all Raleighites can truly call Raleigh home, we must provide more options for housing and address affordability in a meaningful way. To do that, I support:

  • Adjusting our building codes and plans to allow more variety in housing types that enable more neighborhoods to have improved walkability and increased affordability throughout Raleigh. Some examples include tiny homes, duplexes, triplexes, and cottage courts.

  • Allowing Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) - often referred to as granny flats or basement/garage apartments - by right instead of with an extremely restrictive overlay process like City Council recently established. Research shows that when ADUs are allowed by right that neighborhoods are not drastically changed. They do allow for homeowners to earn a bit more income (especially if we revisit the home-share policies to allow more flexibility), provide for aging parents, and help provide more options for people. We can enact policy that addresses the bad actors that many fear without taking away options for homeowners.

  • More flexibility in our building code to promote density in a sensible way that helps us avoid the problems that come with sprawl. This can be done in core areas for housing, like our downtown area, the Blue Ridge corridor, and along the proposed Bus Rapid Transit lines.  Additionally I support requiring more green infrastructure in building so that we can build a sustainable Raleigh.

  • Addressing the housing affordability for our communities and bringing EVERYONE to the table to shape that plan. It is not enough to simply increase our housing stock. We must create communities with services and affordable homes. Mixed income developments that include housing, grocery, medical services, parks, and are located along transit lines are key. We must also start looking at ways to provide more than just low income rental units - there should be more plans available for home ownership as well. We can achieve this by bringing together community members and groups like DHIC, housing developers, nonprofits working with homelessness and poverty, alongside government officials to form a task force with clear goals for developing a Housing For All plan for Raleigh.

  • One of my favorite examples of something similar to this is the Paseo Verde community in Philadelphia. It incorporated environmentally friendly mixed income housing with green roofs, on-site gardens, community spaces, fitness facilities, access to affordable childcare, and a health clinic - all located near transportation lines. Walkability is key for success here as well with safe sidewalks allowing residents to easily get to community-focused places like grocery stores.

 

​To ensure that Raleigh is ready for the future, we must invest in our safety, infrastructure, and economic development by:

  • Creating more diverse options for people to get around safely in Raleigh, with a strong focus on accessibility and a robust transportation system. This means:

    • Improving sidewalks and crosswalks for pedestrian convenience and safety. Raleigh ranks 31st in the nation on the Pedestrian Danger Index. We must do better.

    • Creating separated and protected lanes for bikes (and even scooters) that are apart from roadways so that everyone is safe.

    • Making sure bus stops have sidewalk access and shelters for riders as they wait. Many of our bus stops do not have sidewalk access and the majority do not have shelters. We need sidewalks and shelters for all bus stops so that people of all abilities can access the bus and not have to wait in the hot sun or rain. People should not have to choose between catching the bus and safety/comfort.

    • Establishing a more robust transportation system that is safe, convenient, reliable, affordable, accessible, and timely. Currently the bus system is difficult to navigate for many people and it can take hours for people to get from one point to another. I have heard from many in our communities that taking the bus means having to leave 2 hours before their work day begins. I have heard from others who want to take the bus, but it is too difficult to do right now because service isn’t frequent, routes do not easily connect, and purchasing a bus pass isn’t intuitive or easy.  We need to make sure that there is frequent service, routes that easily connect to many places, and sidewalks to get to/from the stops as well as shelters at every stop is a must. Now is the time to make a strong commitment to creating a robust transportation system to alleviate traffic congestion and to give people options for moving around the city in a way that fits their life. We can use data from our existing ridership along with input from our transit staff (including the bus drivers) and input from the community to help build a more robust system. The stops should be near areas with high amounts of housing and should be planned with the flexibility to expand as new housing areas are built.

    • Commitment to designing street systems that encourage safe walkability and livability in all our communities.

    • Commitment to support the Wake County Transportation Plan and Regional Commuter Rail 

  • Support for first responders and commitment to safe neighborhoods

    • As Raleigh grows, the need for our first responders grows. We need to ensure that our first response teams are well staffed, properly trained and equipped, and fairly compensated to keep Raleighites safe. I’m proud to know that currently our Raleigh Fire Department will be onsite within  four minutes of a call to 911. This is despite the fact that they are understaffed, underpaid, and in need of updated equipment. We need to work with, and support, our first responders to make sure that they continue to keep us safe.

    • We can employ Community Policing models like have been successful in other cities to encourage better relationships in our neighborhoods.

  • Promoting ways for local small businesses and entrepreneurs to thrive:

    • Local small businesses are the backbone of Raleigh. They increase economic prosperity, fight income inequality, and create strong community connections.

    • Currently though, there are a lot of barriers to starting and keeping up a small business here in Raleigh. From taking 15 months or more for a permit to finding affordable space to lease, we need to streamline our permitting processes and focus on strengthening and supporting our small businesses.

    • We can implement plans like Business Diversity Ordinances like has been successful in  many other cities. Working together we can create a place for innovation and productivity that lets our community thrive.

 

Improved Community Engagement:

When making decisions about our community, we need to truly engage the community. Our Citizen Advisory Councils are a great start (find yours here), but we can do more. Research shows that the more you engage a community - and truly include all residents to be part of the decision-making process - there is more buy-in for the end result. We can improve community engagement by:

  • Seeking feedback from renters as well as property owners

  • Increasing use of online options for participation like what Savannah, GA  and Fayetteville, AR are doing with their “SpeakUp” online engagement tools. These incorporate a variety of media to show options for projects and allow residents to comment and ask questions all in one platform. Instead of just seeking responses to surveys, residents can easily find information on all proposed projects and participate.

  • Allowing more city staff time dedicated for engagement.

  • Having meetings at times that are convenient for a variety of people - this may mean having input meetings at multiple times to encourage participates. Meeting locations should also be easy to access, and preferably near a bus line. 

  • Providing child care options during public meetings

  • Video streaming all meetings in a mobile friendly and interactive environment

 

Strong and Healthy Communities:

  • Studies show that people who live near “greenspaces” (urban natural areas - pocket parks are some of my favorite examples) have improved mental health. They experience lower levels of anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Some studies have even shown that life expectancy increases as well. Creating more areas where residents can enjoy nature has sustainability benefits too. 

  • Public art can make people feel more connected to their city and community, it adds to the economic development of communities by supporting entrepreneurs, and also have health benefits for residents.

  • These contribute to the overall liveability and enjoyability of a city and are great ways to encourage residents to participate in their communities.

 
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Paid for by Friends of Brittany Bryan | David Donovan, Treasurer

info@brittany4raleigh.com

618 North Boylan Ave, Ste 732

Raleigh, NC 27603