Are You Bike-Friendly? Jan Perry Responds

February 6, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Posted in Bike News, Resources | 1 Comment
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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).

One of my best memories was when I joined thousands of Los Angelenos on bikes at the Los Angeles Marathon. Biking across our great city alongside other Angelenos helped remind me of the diversity of our city. It was a way to explore the city from the street level, enjoying the unique neighborhoods, architecture, and community that make Los Angeles like no other. It was a moment I will never forget.

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?

The City should always aspire to do better. Over the past few years, we have made great strides in making our city bicycle-friendly. From instituting new green bike lanes, to installing more bike racks, to parklettes, to larger initiatives like our bike plan—we are moving in the right direction. I would continue this momentum and look to leverage local dollars with state and federal dollars to see these initiatives expand tenfold throughout the city.

I would work closely with bicycle advocacy groups and hear directly from them how we can continue to make this city a more bike-friendly place. By doing so, we are supporting alternative transportation options, getting people out of their cars, and bringing people closer to their communities.

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?

First, I would make sure that my appointees as Mayor understand the importance of funding alternative transportation means such as biking and walking. Secondly, I would make sure that when Metro is funding a traditional transit project that there are sufficient pedestrian and bike amenities. This could be everything from ensuring safe walkways to transit stops, pedestrian level lighting, and comfortable waiting areas with seating, bike lockers and the provision of shade.

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 mobility element has to include provisions for bike riders and pedestrians. For the last decade, I have represented a primarily public transit-dependent population and know the importance of biking and walking. It is good for the City for people to get out of their cars. It helps reduce emissions improving our air quality and is a good form of exercise. The average person makes eight to nine car trips per day and if we can help them get out of their car for one or two trips by locating housing and jobs near transit centers that would support our shared goal of improving our air quality, reducing traffic and gridlock, and promoting community health.

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?

I am a strong supporter of the Bike Plan and am very excited to be launching the My Figueroa Bike Lane effort in the district I represent. I will continue to work with the Department of Transportation and community stakeholders to locate bike lanes in appropriate areas. I will work hard to make sure there is strong community outreach so when a new bike lane is proposed it is well-vetted and supported.

I believed in a phased-in approach to new bike lanes and would work to maximize our efforts to build bike lanes in a streamlined manner that expedites construction of bike lanes and respects the community process.

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?

Looking at new and innovative ways to integrate bike lanes, paths, and protected thoroughfares would be an important part of my transportation agenda as Mayor of Los Angeles. I believe we can integrate protected areas throughout the city. A one size fits all model is not the way to do it. I believe that we need to be flexible and direct our LADOT to work within community plans to integrate these lanes into every community where appropriate and respects the character of our neighborhoods. A good plan creates safe biking opportunities for everyone.

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?

Unfortunately, I am all too familiar with the aftermath of hit-and-run collisions. Pedestrian safety has been a huge issue in the District I represent especially along the Metro Blue Line, which was constructed with inadequate pedestrian amenities. I have worked to implement Safe Route to Schools passages and installed signaled mid-block crosswalks throughout the district.

Hit-and-Runs are senseless crimes that should be persecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I have worked with the Los Angeles Police Department to apprehend these criminals and have introduced several reward motions to provide an incentive for people with knowledge of the crime to come forward. Recently, I worked with law enforcement and community members to bring justice for a USC student who was killed in a hit-and-run accident.

The bottom line is that we need to educate our communities about pedestrian safety, especially our young people. We need to engage stakeholders in the discussion and ensure that we have safety measures in place like mid-signal crosswalks, bike lanes, and bike and street patrolling public safety officers. We must give people the tools they need to keep our roads safe. Part of this includes educating our public safety officers about the importance of ticketing and citing vehicles that fail to yield to pedestrian and bike traffic and educating the public to be mindful of the rights of our biking and walking community.

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?

As Mayor, I will make public safety a top priority, that includes providing the necessary resources to the Los Angeles Fire Department. I will also work to ensure that every community has reasonable access to hospitals and emergency rooms care. There are parts of the city that have to travel much too far in order to access care and that is why it was so important to me to help King Drew Hospital operate at its full capacity.

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?

Absolutely, I have participated in CicLAvia and know first hand how it transforms the city for a day and have been proud to participate in and support this grassroots community event. It is amazing what closing the streets to traffic can do for a car-centric city like Los Angeles. It opens doors and allows people to truly see the neighborhoods that are part of the patch-work quilt that we call Los Angeles. Instead of driving from community to community—families, friends, and individuals walk their dogs, push strollers, roller skate, bike, and engage in the environment around them. It is wonderful to see people play checkers on one corner, grab a cup of coffee at a small business on another, or just sit on the lawn and enjoy our beautiful weather.

This is why CicLAvia is such an important event for Los Angeles. It is a way for all of us to step away from our cars—even if it is only for just one day—and challenge ourselves to use public transit, walk, bike, or run around our neighborhoods. It is a day for us to meet our neighbors and realize that Los Angeles is more than just a big city, but rather that it is  a wonderful mix of people and communities that combine together to make us a truly unique and special place in which to live. I think we should continue this tradition and expand it further into neighborhoods across the city.

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?

As it was currently drafted, I was not able to support the bond. I believe there needs to be additional community outreach and research done before a bond like this is placed on the ballot. I do, however, believe we need to look at new revenue streams for supporting the maintenance of our streets. We need to go to the voters and see if there is support for a bond and look at appropriate ways in which this can be done.

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, as Mayor, I will meet with all stakeholders including bicyclists. As the representative for Downtown Los Angeles, I had the privilege of inaugurating the City’s first green bike lanes with community members and would love to be able to do the same citywide. Getting on a bike and joining the community for a ride is a wonderful way to connect on a community level with people across the city and I look forward to having that opportunity.

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?

The City still has a lot of work to do to improve conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians including improving the bike lane network. New bike lanes on major corridors need to be clearly marked and maintained and there has to be an ample buffer between bikers and vehicles. This can be done through a variety of options including enhanced streetscapes and sidewalks. On secondary streets, new bike lanes also need to be clearly marked and maintained and they have to connect to destinations. The City needs to continue to implement the Bike Plan and update the Transportation Element of the General Plan to include transit options other than cars.

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