Are You Bike-Friendly? Eric Garcetti Responds

February 6, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Posted in Bike News, LACBC Events | 6 Comments
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Photo: LACBC

LACBC asked each of the candidates running for mayor of the City of Los Angeles to respond to our questionnaire.  We hope our members will find the candidates’ answers insightful into how each candidate proposes to make our streets safe, balanced, and livable.  Responses are posted in the order they were received.

1. Please share a memory involving a bicycle that has had a lasting effect on you (whether or not you were the one on the bicycle).

I grew up on a flat street in the Valley, and I remember the freedom of being able to bicycle safely to the park, to Little League, and to the bus stop.

2. Just a few months ago, Los Angeles was honored as Bronze-level Bicycle-Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. Do you believe the city should pursue a Silver-level designation, and if so, what steps would you take in the first year of your term to move LA up to the Silver level?

I am proud to have been a leading proponent of making L.A. more bicycle-friendly. I installed the city’s first sharrows in my district, and now these safety markings are citywide and are a key part of the recently adopted bicycle plan. I played a key role in launching CicLAvia and in installing the first showers and bicycle lockers at City Hall to promote bicycle commuting.

I would push L.A. forward toward Silver and even higher as Mayor. First and foremost, I would focus on increasing cyclist safety. The key metric that I would focus on is bicycle ridership, and I would focus on incentives to increase, including monthly Ciclavia’s, better on-and-off-street bike parking, and planning and innovations designed to increase cyclist safety.

3. The Mayor controls four votes on the Metro Board of Directors, which makes transportation funding decisions for the entire county. In LA County people walking and bicycling make up nearly 20% of all trips and 39% of roadway fatalities, yet these modes only receive 1% of transportation funding. What steps would you take to rectify this inequity?

I would build on my record to better align funding based on how people are actually getting around. As Councilmember, I led the way to establishing the city’s first Pedestrian Coordinator at the Department of Transportation, which has led to an unprecedented focus on pedestrian issues that are based on innovation, metric based planning, and results.

As Mayor, I would continue to elevate the importance of bicycling and walking not only within the City of Los Angeles, but regionally as well. Traffic and mobility transcends city limits and so I would examine County and Metro transportation financing through that lens. I would also appoint Metro Board members who share my view that there is no silver bullet to solving our traffic challenges. We must improve bus, rail, bicycle, and pedestrian transportation, and also focus on innovation. I’m proud to have deployed car sharing in my district, an app that helps people find parking and get off the road quicker (up to 30% of traffic can be caused by people circling for parking), and to have been a proponent of bike sharing.

My commitment to active transportation advocacy is also reflected in my past appointments of Herbie Huff and Joe Linton to the City Bicycle Advisory Committee and Deborah Murphy to the City Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

4. The Department of City Planning is in the process of updating the City’s Mobility Element for the first time in decades. What policies would you prioritize for inclusion in the Mobility Element? What role do you see bicycling playing in the City’s transportation system, if any?

The update of the former Transportation Element, now named the Mobility Element, is long overdue. For too long we have been prescribing the same one size fits all approach to our transportation challenges and expecting to get different results. Clearly, the status quo must go.

In Hollywood, we worked with local stakeholders to survey every street and created new street standards that take into consideration our transit system, our major transportation corridors, and our historic resources.

The Mobility Element must expand the toolbox that our planners and engineers have to address transportation related impacts and to encourage bicycling, walking and other alternative solutions. In my Council District, I have led the way in prescribing innovative solutions that were outside of the current menu of options. We installed the city’s first bicycle sharrows, prioritized on-street parking spaces for car-sharing vehicles, unbundled parking and promoting shared parking, created a parking app to help drivers find available parking spaces, and directed LADOT to begin evaluating the establishment of a pedi-cab program. I have led on transportation through the application of practical solutions. The Mobility Element must do the same.

As Mayor, I will approach cycling as a key part of our city’s transportation system. First of all, bicycles are already on our streets, and we must address that fact in terms of infrastructure, safety and planning. Looking ahead, our next Mayor must support bicycling as a viable option for short trips and as a way to link with public transit.

5. In 2011, the City Council unanimously adopted the Bicycle Plan proposing a comprehensive 1,600-mile bikeway network across the City. What steps would you take to ensure implementation of Bicycle Plan projects continues during your administration? How many miles of new bicycle facilities will you commit to implementing each year?

As Mayor, I would continue to support the work of the Bicycle Plan Implementation Team to educate, inform, and gather input necessary to implement the Bike Plan. I am committed to seeing the adopted Bicycle Plan through and pushing even farther. We must challenge ourselves, innovate and draw from best practices across the globe to make L.A. a bikeable city.

6. Leading cities for bicycling, such as New York and Chicago, are implementing protected bicycle lanes (a.k.a. cycletracks) to encourage“interested but concerned” people to ride a bike. During your administration, will you direct LADOT to implement such innovative bicycle facilities to incentivize more Angelenos to take up bicycling?

Yes. As Mayor, I will look at all ways to improve bike safety both to protect cyclists and to encourage more people to bike. That’s why I deployed the city’s first sharrows (road designations to increase bike safety) in my Council District. That led to the installation of sharrows citywide, and they are a key feature in the newly-adopted bicycle plan.

7. The LA Weekly recently wrote a feature story documenting that almost half of traffic collisions in the City of LA are hit-and-runs, according to LAPD records. Many victims of these traffic crimes are people walking and bicycling. What steps would you take to reduce the rate of hit-and-run and ensure perpetrators are prosecuted?

As Mayor, I will work with LAPD and the City Attorney to approach hit-and-runs not as simple traffic accidents but as crimes of violence – it is violent when tons of metal encounters a cyclist or pedestrian. I will also advocate for safe passing laws in Sacramento. I will prioritize cyclist safety as we build out our cycling infrastructure, from markings to barriers. A focus on safety not only protects cyclists, it encourages more people to start cycling.

8. In the event of a collision, the survival of those injured could depend on a prompt emergency response, yet it’s recently been disclosed that response times for the Los Angeles Fire Department frequently exceed national standards. What would you do to address budget and staffing cutbacks affecting the LAFD to ensure a faster response for all those who need emergency assistance?

I’ve been leading the way on response times. I introduced the legislation to bring the fire department back to full strength and stopped the plan to permanently cut 318 firefighters and paramedics.

In addition to resources, another problem affecting response times is the “junk data” the fire department has been relying on. I joined Councilmember Englander in launching an iniatitive called “Firestat,” which is modeled after former LAPD Chief Bratton’s innovative Compstat program that has played a key role in reducing crime in L.A.

I’ve also called for common sense fixes such as GPS units in all fire trucks and ambulances and the immediate dispatch when someone calls for help. Currently, city rules require the dispatcher to ask a long list of questions before sending help.

9. CicLAvia has transformed how Angelenos view bicycling and walking in their City. Will you commit to ensuring that CicLAvia continues to receive adequate City support to ensure its future as the largest open street event in the country?

As Councilmember, I have supported CicLAvia since the beginning, by leading the way on identifying city funds for the first CicLAvia, working with CicLAvia to provide outreach to my constituents during the first CicLAvia that went through my district, and dedicating my staff to help navigate the City bureaucracy.

As Mayor, I will support monthly CicLAvia’s throughout Los Angeles.

10. A recent proposal has been floated to assess all property owners to bring streets into a state of good repair. Do you support the proposed bond measure, and do you believe any changes should be made to the proposal to serve all those who travel on city streets, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users?

This proposal requires more study, and is currently being reviewed by the Public Works Committee. As with any transportation initiative of its kind, I believe it should address auto, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian travel.

11. Will you commit to meeting with bicyclists or their representatives on a regular and ongoing basis? Would you be willing to lead a regularly scheduled bike ride with your constituents?

Yes. Since I took office, I have met face to face with the people I serve by regularly walking door to door, holding open office hours, and making sure Angelenos always have a seat at the table. I set a rule that my office must return calls within 24 hours and I personally interact with constituents on the phone, on email, on Facebook and on Twitter. As an elected official, I was an “early adopter” when it came to starting a blog and a couple weeks ago, I did an AMA on Reddit. As Mayor, I will continue this approach of making government more accessible and will use technology to make it easier to get feedback from constituents.

12. Would you presently feel safe riding a bike in Los Angeles, and if not, what would it take to make you feel comfortable on our city streets?

I ride my bike on L.A. streets, but feel we can and must do more to improve bike safety, from markings to separation infrastructure as discussed above.

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  1. [...] the most important race, however, we can claim a clear victory as Eric Garcetti and Wendy Gruel both qualified for the May runoff election. Then again, victory in that race was a [...]

  2. […] Newton and the LACBC’s Civic Engagement Committee, Garcetti is on the record for his support for improved bicycling safety and infrastructure — including continuing Villaraigosa’s fight for a statewide three-foot passing law. As well as […]

  3. Good to see that our new mayor supports bicycling in Los Angeles!

  4. […] Are You Bike-Friendly? Eric Garcetti Responds […]

  5. […] exactly what you’d expect from our new progressive mayor, who seemed to get it when completing a questionnaire for the LACBC prior to this year’s election. Or new bike-friendly City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, who […]


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