One of the measures of a great city is how well the benefits of a healthy economy and a high quality of life are shared within the community. In addition to fundamental needs like food, shelter and basic health care, a great city creates opportunities for all who wish to work hard toward achieving the American Dream.
Affordable housing is becoming more and more needed in Raleigh as many previously mid- and low-income neighborhoods are being supplanted by new condos and fashionable urban living. Raleigh currently has a shortfall of affordable housing units. We must change this to allow citizens of all income levels convenient access to work options and the great amenities the city has to offer. With good design and a reliable funding source, we can set realistic goals to produce quality, affordable housing for a variety of family sizes, ages, and incomes. Russ is Council’s leading affordable housing advocate, mobilizing a coalition of faith-based and non-profit citizen groups to lobby for reliable funding and clear affordable housing goals.
Convenient and affordable transit is essential to creating pedestrian-friendly, vibrant urban neighborhoods and workplaces in our growing city. Russ has led the way in setting citywide policies to promote healthy and convenient transportation options. Russ led efforts to include a series of Complete Streets policies in Raleigh’s Comprehensive Plan. Those strategic policies expanded the city’s traditional transportation thinking and have guided major infrastructure investments. Those investments have included sidewalks and pedestrian safety projects, bike lanes, road diets, traffic calming, bus shelters and transit infrastructure planning, including a bike-share program and major transit investments.
Creating job opportunities. Raleigh was voted the #1 city in the nation to find a job by focusing on the fundamentals. By cooperating with the Wake County Public School System and area universities, Raleigh has benefited from excellent educational opportunities at all levels and a highly trained workforce. By delivering excellent city services and amenities at a very competitive price, the city is attracting high-quality companies. What those companies find is that Raleigh is working hard on all fronts to provide an educated workforce, competitively priced housing, and authentic city charm with a broad range of cultural amenities. Throughout his 12 years on Council, Russ has been committed to the fundamentals that have brought Raleigh to the top of national rankings as a place to find a job, start a company, raise a family and retire.
Healthy communities and healthy environment are vital to maintaining the vitality and beauty of our city as we grow.
As an architect and urban designer, Russ understands that designing our city for people, rather than cars, is a fundamental strategy for achieving shared prosperity. Putting people first ensures that our growth decisions will produce walkable, bikeable and transit-friendly options. Expanding these options will improve the health of all our citizens, the health of the air and water we depend upon, and the natural environments we all love.
Russ was one of the original Council signers of The US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, committing Raleigh to reducing our city’s carbon emissions. That action initiated the creation of Raleigh’s Office of Sustainability and the implementation of a range programs promoting energy efficiency, renewable energy use and production, and waste recycling. As a result, Raleigh was named by Forbes and Siemens Corporation as the Most Sustainable Mid-sized City in America.