Meet the Candidates: Maria Quiñones Sánchez


Quiñones Sánchez served as the 7th district City Council member from 2008 until 2022, when she resigned to run for mayor. She came to City Council after a career as a nonprofit leader and community activist.

On protecting trees and natural spaces

In my administration, the Water Department will take responsibility for our environmental justice and climate resilience strategy, as part of our comprehensive public safety agenda, which includes implementing our tree plan — removing failing or invasive trees, replacing them with appropriate species and repairing sidewalks. These investments will prioritize neighborhoods with dangerously high heat indices, high rates of health disparities and historic disinvestment. Previous efforts to improve our treescape have fallen short, in part because of capacity and funding issues within the Parks & Recreaction Department. This critical environmental justice investment is more appropriately situated within the Water Department’s $500 million budget.

On flooding in Eastwick

We must improve proactive cleaning and intervention to limit flooding in areas with known risk, and target our stormwater infrastructure investments in neighborhoods of higher need and historic disinvestment.

In my administration, the Water Department will take responsibility for our environmental justice and climate resilience strategy…”

Photography by Chris Baker Evens.

On improving bicycling in Philadelphia

The bulk of Vision Zero funding is best used for traffic calming measures, which most effectively reduce fatalities by reducing the speed of traffic flow. Our bike lane network must be better aligned with our full portfolio of public transit infrastructure, creating more functional and usable pathways and reducing the dangers created by a patchwork map. The useful metric is not just total miles of bike lanes, but how useful and usable those bike lanes are for Philadelphians getting where they need to go, and better connectivity will ensure better and safer utilization.

On sustainable development and the understaffed L&I

After serving as chair of the Committee on L&I for my first three terms, I am well aware of the capacity challenges in the department as well as the tremendous opportunity for L&I to play a key role in a citywide public safety strategy. As part of that strategy, L&I will be tasked with implementing a new pathway of proactive building inspections, prioritizing vacant properties in neighborhoods experiencing higher crime. To address capacity issues, as mayor I will engage a comprehensive review of leadership structure and staff compensation, to align Philadelphia with national best practices and support our city workforce to lead this critical work.

On addressing the city’s backslide on waste management

Clean streets, picking up trash and reducing dumping is a public safety issue. As part of my comprehensive public safety strategy, the Streets Department will overhaul trash pickup practices and build out a citywide CCTV system to deter and improve enforcement against illegal dumping. We will look to invest in a more efficient vehicle fleet, along with providing standardized, lidded trash and recycling bins for all residents. As part of the Freshman 15 Good Government reforms I co-authored in my first term, we introduced key conservation and waste reduction practices, and as mayor I am committed to continuing that effort to reduce waste and invest in a cleaner Philadelphia.

On using vacant lots to improve the community

One of my proudest accomplishments from over 14 years on Council is the creation of the Land Bank. Additionally, I developed workable and transparent pathways to protect community gardens. But the Land Bank has never been fully funded, frustrating operations in its first years. As mayor, I will fully fund Land Bank operations and will enforce Land Bank reporting requirements to provide transparency to the entire city and ensure equity as we provide land for green space and resident use. Under my leadership, the 7th district leveraged more public land for community gardens and resident side lots than the rest of the city combined. As mayor, I will make sure this historic achievement can be put to work for the entire city.


Grid Magazine’s Mayoral Voters Guide is a part of Every Voice, Every Vote, a collaborative project managed by The Lenfest Institute for Journalism. Lead support is provided by the William Penn Foundation with additional funding from The Lenfest Institute, Peter and Judy Leone, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Harriet and Larry Weiss, and the Wyncote Foundation, among others. To learn more about the project and view a full list of supporters, visit www.everyvoice-everyvote.org. Editorial content is created independently of the project’s donors.


  1. Why would she put PWD in charge of environmental issues? Is she not aware that there is already an Office of Sustainability?

  2. Maria, you claim to be proud of *your* creation of the Land Bank, when it was actually a warping of an original concept by the PCAC. It is confusing how you can be proud of a body that regularly sells off garden spaces to developers, and is currently moving to implement a policy that will make land security even more difficult. This isn’t a funding issue, it’s an ideological one: in which the mantra of economic growth supersedes what people need to thrive. You claim that the “7th district has leveraged more public land for community gardens than the rest of the city combined” — a claim I don’t think will stand up to scrutiny, and which is largely the work of regular people operating outside of state intervention — and yet, it is garden/farm parcels in the 7th district that are the most actively under threat from the same Land Bank you claim as your “proudest accomplishment”.

    Gardens and side lots are merely lures for development. I know firsthand, having had your support (ostensibly) for a garden project, only to learn that it was scheduled to within a few years to be annexed into capital projects and redeveloped. Not sure how much you know about gardening and farming, but hardly anyone puts in the work expecting it to only last a few years.

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