Are You Bike-Friendly? Questions for County Supervisor Candidates

April 4, 2014 at 4:50 pm | Posted in Bike News | 3 Comments
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Long Beach Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal talk to County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky & County Dept. of Public Works leadership

Long Beach Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal talk to County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky & County Dept. of Public Works leadership

Over the past several years, Los Angeles County has made great strides toward making bicycling a safe and convenient way to travel, connecting diverse communities to make our county more livable, economically vibrant and environmentally sustainable. Critical to this progress has been supportive leadership from our County supervisors, who also serve on the Metro board of directors.

It is our hope that our new supervisors will continue this progress and elevate us to the next level. The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition invites all supervisor candidates to appeal directly to an engaged, thoughtful group of voters–our county’s bicyclists–by responding to the following questionnaire. Our growing list of local chapters spans all five supervisorial districts.

We will post responses to these questions here on our blog and in our weekly newsletter to thousands of voters across the county and region beginning on May 1st and thereafter as additional responses come in.  Please email responses to eric@la-bike.org.

Note: The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and cannot endorse candidates or engage in electioneering on behalf of a candidate. We are offering this questionnaire as a service to candidates to communicate with potential voters for informational purposes only.  All candidates have an equal opportunity to respond and responses will be distributed without bias in the order in which they are received.  If you have any questions, please call our office at (213) 629-2142 x127.

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).

2. County supervisors have great power to improve the safety, health and livability of Los Angeles County through both their role on the Metro board shaping countywide transportation policy and investment decisions and through oversight of County departments, including Public Works, Public Health and Parks & Recreation. In 2012, the County of Los Angeles adopted a Bicycle Master Plan proposing 831 miles of new bikeways due to be completed by 2032. What would you do to ensure that implementation of the Bicycle Master Plan projects continues during your term? How many miles of new bicycle facilities will you commit to implementing each year in your district?

3. County Public Works design standards currently favor high speed traffic by requiring minimum lane widths larger than other transportation agencies. This has created an unnecessary barrier to implementing bicycle projects in urban unincorporated areas, resulting in shared “class III” bike routes on major streets where dedicated “class II” bike lanes would be more appropriate. Do you support adopting the Model Design Manual for Living Streets produced by the County Department of Public Health but not yet adopted by Public Works?

4. Studies have shown that protected bikeways (i.e. those that are separated from moving vehicles by a curb or parked cars) can reduce injuries by as much as 90%, while reducing collisions and improving safety for all road users. The County Bicycle Master Plan calls for the implementation of such facilities, but none have been planned on County streets to date. Would you support the implementation of protected bikeways, and can you suggest any areas in your district where such facilities should be built?

5. Metro is making unprecedented investments in transit expansion across Los Angeles County and spends millions of dollars on building parking structures along its new rail lines. Despite the fact that 91% of Metro customers do not use cars to access transit, Metro does not build walking and bicycling facilities to connect neighborhoods and job centers to the new transit lines. Metro’s draft First & Last Mile Strategic Plan could address these access issues, but is currently unfunded. Do you support allocating at least 3% of transit capital budgets to first & last mile improvements for each new line?

6. In Los Angeles County, 34% of students walk or bike to school, while motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for school-age youth. Many more parents don’t feel safe allowing their children to walk or bike to school, resulting in heavy vehicular traffic at school hours and dangerous levels of congestion in front of schools. Metro is currently drafting a countywide Safe Routes to School Strategic Plan, but without an implementation strategy or dedicated funding. Do you support dedicated funding for a countywide Safe Routes to School program that would improve safety for children and parents, and encourage more biking and walking to the over 2,000 public schools in Los Angeles County?

7. In Los Angeles County, 19% of all trips are made on foot or by bike and 39% percent of those killed on our county’s streets are people walking and biking, yet Metro only allocates 1% of its funding to these modes of transportation. The three sales tax measures that generate a majority of Metro’s revenue (Proposition A, Proposition C and Measure R) dedicate 0% for walking and biking. Do you support dedicating at least 12% of any future sales tax measures for walking and biking?

8. The County of Los Angeles is one of the region’s largest employers, generating significant traffic congestion and pollution around County facilities. Will you provide annual transit passes to all County employees and provide secure bicycle parking for both employees and visitors at County buildings?

9. Is there anything else you would like to say to Los Angeles County’s millions of bicyclists?

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  1. […] can read the questionnaires for County Supervisor and LA County Sheriff by clicking on the links […]

  2. 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).

    There are many milestones parents get the privilege of witnessing. One milestone is taking the training wheels off. I will never forget that day when we took off our daughter’s trainin wheels, 10 or so years ago at our local elementary school parking lot on an early Sunday morning.

    She fell within seconds the first time she tried to bike, so then I tried to hold on to her bike to keep her steady, but that didn’t work either. I was actually getting in the way and she wanted me to let her go. She fell again, and again, and again. She cried, a lot. Blood flowed, a little when she landed on her elbows and knees.

    After ten minutes or so of falling, she looked at me to see my reaction. I didn’t say – give up, I reminded her about the Little Engine, and what he would do. I urged her to just keep saying, “I think I can, I think I can.” She got back on the seat, started to paddle while saying, “I think I can, I think I can”, and then she fell again. She looked at me again. This time, I started singing, “Just what makes that little old ant, think he can move that rubber tree plant? He’s got high hopes.”

    While she was singing, she did it! She balanced while peddling her feet. She watched where she was going instead of her feet. In one moment, she became both independent and in control of her destiny.

    As she biked away with me with her new found freedom, I realized that my daughter wasn’t the only one that reached a milestone that day. It was hard, but I learned to let her fall. I learned to encourage her to keep trying, even though I really wanted her to be safe and not to endure more falls. On that day I realized it’s my daughter didn’t just learn to bike, she and I both learned how to live a full life.

    2. County supervisors have great power to improve the safety, health and livability of Los Angeles County through both their role on the Metro board shaping countywide transportation policy and investment decisions and through oversight of County departments, including Public Works, Public Health and Parks & Recreation. In 2012, the County of Los Angeles adopted a Bicycle Master Plan proposing 831 miles of new bikeways due to be completed by 2032. What would you do to ensure that implementation of the Bicycle Master Plan projects continues during your term? How many miles of new bicycle facilities will you commit to implementing each year in your district?

    I will work hard and do my best to insure the Bicycle Master Plan is completed by 2020, not 2032. Why? Transportation is one of the most pressing issues facing LA County. Getting people out of their cars is an environmental issue because it can reduce our carbon footprint, a public health issue because it increases the opportunity for better health (we now have a 30% obesity and diabetic rate). I will commit to implementing as many miles as is possible every year until all 831 miles are completed.

    3. County Public Works design standards currently favor high speed traffic by requiring minimum lane widths larger than other transportation agencies. This has created an unnecessary barrier to implementing bicycle projects in urban unincorporated areas, resulting in shared “class III” bike routes on major streets where dedicated “class II” bike lanes would be more appropriate. Do you support adopting the Model Design Manual for Living Streets produced by the County Department of Public Health but not yet adopted by Public Works?

    Yes, I support the Model Design Manual or Living Streets and will work to insure it is adopted and implemented by Public Works.

    4. Studies have shown that protected bikeways (i.e. those that are separated from moving vehicles by a curb or parked cars) can reduce injuries by as much as 90%, while reducing collisions and improving safety for all road users. The County Bicycle Master Plan calls for the implementation of such facilities, but none have been planned on County streets to date. Would you support the implementation of protected bikeways, and can you suggest any areas in your district where such facilities should be built?

    Yes. I have a history in Malibu of supporting bike lanes and if elected I will support protected bikeways and did so along the full stretch of PCH from Santa Monica to Malibu. In addition, I wish we could look at a bike corridor from the north end of the valley to the south end to West LA. When we build the light rail, why not consider whether we could allow for a protected bike lane along side the tracks?

    5. Metro is making unprecedented investments in transit expansion across Los Angeles County and spends millions of dollars on building parking structures along its new rail lines. Despite the fact that 91% of Metro customers do not use cars to access transit, Metro does not build walking and bicycling facilities to connect neighborhoods and job centers to the new transit lines. Metro’s draft First & Last Mile Strategic Plan could address these access issues, but is currently unfunded. Do you support allocating at least 3% of transit capital budgets to first & last mile improvements for each new line?

    Yes. I support allocating at least 3% of the transit to first and last mile improvements for each new line. LA County should be a leader in this area. We have a very active lifestyle and biking opportunity and could be a beacon of hope for the planet on how we can get out of our cars and use bikes to get to work, to the theatre, to the market.

    6. In Los Angeles County, 34% of students walk or bike to school, while motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for school-age youth. Many more parents don’t feel safe allowing their children to walk or bike to school, resulting in heavy vehicular traffic at school hours and dangerous levels of congestion in front of schools. Metro is currently drafting a countywide Safe Routes to School Strategic Plan, but without an implementation strategy or dedicated funding. Do you support dedicated funding for a countywide Safe Routes to School program that would improve safety for children and parents, and encourage more biking and walking to the over 2,000 public schools in Los Angeles County?

    Yes. I will absolutely dedicate funding to the Safe Routes to School program. I supported one in my neighborhood many years ago and it is a wonderful asset for our entire community – from the children and families who use it to walk to school to seniors who use the routes to safely walk around our neighborhood.

    7. In Los Angeles County, 19% of all trips are made on foot or by bike and 39% percent of those killed on our county’s streets are people walking and biking, yet Metro only allocates 1% of its funding to these modes of transportation. The three sales tax measures that generate a majority of Metro’s revenue (Proposition A, Proposition C and Measure R) dedicate 0% for walking and biking. Do you support dedicating at least 12% of any future sales tax measures for walking and biking?

    Yes, I support dedicating at least 12% of future sales tax measures for walking and biking.

    8. The County of Los Angeles is one of the region’s largest employers, generating significant traffic congestion and pollution around County facilities. Will you provide annual transit passes to all County employees and provide secure bicycle parking for both employees and visitors at County buildings?

    Yes. I will provide transit passes to all County employees and secure bike parking for employees and visitors at County building. In addition, LA County should look at implementing bike-sharing programs throughout the County to offer additional transportation opportunities for all.

    9. Is there anything else you would like to say to Los Angeles County’s millions of bicyclists?

    Los Angeles is known for innovation in Arts, Culture, Music, but not Government. We have the opportunity to create a new Government model that is responsive to the needs of the public and the environment. By partnering with you, we can create a bike friendly society, reduce our carbon footprint, and live a healthy lifestyle – a win, win, win.

    We have one of the most outdoor conducive environments in the world, but we have yet to make implementing bike and alternative transportation programs a top priority.
    Why can’t we institute a Bike Library program at our libraries? The Arcata Community Library Bike Program of Arcata, California has loaned over 4000 bicycles using this system. Why hasn’t LA County looked at a partnering to create a system associated with the new rail lines. In some German cities the national rail company offers a bike rental service called Call a Bike. In Guangzhou in China, the widely praised bus rapid transit system, under a private operator, is combined with bike lanes and a public bike system with 50,000 bikes. In some cases, like Barclays Cycle Hire in London, the bicycle sharing system is owned by the public transport authority itself.

    It is time for LA County to become a leader and an innovator in providing healthy transportation alternatives to cars. We just need the will to make it happen. If elected, I have the will and will find a way to insure we leave LA County better tomorrow than it is today.

  3. 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).

    When I was about ten, my little sister and I were playing outside of our house near the Coliseum. I was riding my bike and my sister was riding her tricycle. Some neighborhood kids came up to us and took off with my little sister’s tricycle. I couldn’t let them get away with that so I pedaled furiously after them, like a posse after a bandit, caught up and grabbed it back. I felt like a real big sister and thought of that Schwinn as a horse for a hero.
    I was also very proud to receive the Civic Leadership Award from the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition in 2006.

    2. County supervisors have great power to improve the safety, health and livability of Los Angeles County through both their role on the Metro board shaping countywide transportation policy and investment decisions and through oversight of County departments, including Public Works, Public Health and Parks & Recreation. In 2012, the County of Los Angeles adopted a Bicycle Master Plan proposing 831 miles of new bikeways due to be completed by 2032. What would you do to ensure that implementation of the Bicycle Master Plan projects continues during your term? How many miles of new bicycle facilities will you commit to implementing each year in your district?

    I am strongly in favor of implementing the current Bicycle Master Plan. I believe expanding and protecting bicycle riding is a key component to increasing ridership on public transportation. I would like to see roughly 40 miles of new bikeway being laid each year, that will keep us on target to meet our goal of 831 miles by 2032. In order to ensure that the master plan is implemented I would work with the various departments to insure that the project is on schedule and work to settle any disputes quickly, encouraging public input. I don’t think of bikeways just in the Third District, but as a way of connecting the whole County.

    3. County Public Works design standards currently favor high speed traffic by requiring minimum lane widths larger than other transportation agencies. This has created an unnecessary barrier to implementing bicycle projects in urban unincorporated areas, resulting in shared “class III” bike routes on major streets where dedicated “class II” bike lanes would be more appropriate. Do you support adopting the Model Design Manual for Living Streets produced by the County Department of Public Health but not yet adopted by Public Works?

    Yes, I would be in support of it, so long as it didn’t reduce the total number of lanes available to vehicles.

    4. Studies have shown that protected bikeways (i.e. those that are separated from moving vehicles by a curb or parked cars) can reduce injuries by as much as 90%, while reducing collisions and improving safety for all road users. The County Bicycle Master Plan calls for the implementation of such facilities, but none have been planned on County streets to date. Would you support the implementation of protected bikeways, and can you suggest any areas in your district where such facilities should be built?

    Yes, I would, so long as it doesn’t reduce the total number of lanes available to cars. It seems precipitous to suggest specific areas but I would like to see college students have easier access to colleges in the district and in the County, emphasize safety around schools, encourage a straight line to the beach.

    5. Metro is making unprecedented investments in transit expansion across Los Angeles County and spends millions of dollars on building parking structures along its new rail lines. Despite the fact that 91% of Metro customers do not use cars to access transit, Metro does not build walking and bicycling facilities to connect neighborhoods and job centers to the new transit lines. Metro’s draft First & Last Mile Strategic Plan could address these access issues, but is currently unfunded. Do you support allocating at least 3% of transit capital budgets to first & last mile improvements for each new line?

    Yes I do. I think Metro has really overlooked the ways in which people access transit and I would support allocating money to the First & Last Mile Strategic Plan.

    6. In Los Angeles County, 34% of students walk or bike to school, while motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for school-age youth. Many more parents don’t feel safe allowing their children to walk or bike to school, resulting in heavy vehicular traffic at school hours and dangerous levels of congestion in front of schools. Metro is currently drafting a countywide Safe Routes to School Strategic Plan, but without an implementation strategy or dedicated funding. Do you support dedicated funding for a countywide Safe Routes to School program that would improve safety for children and parents, and encourage more biking and walking to the over 2,000 public schools in Los Angeles County?

    Yes I do.

    7. In Los Angeles County, 19% of all trips are made on foot or by bike and 39% percent of those killed on our county’s streets are people walking and biking, yet Metro only allocates 1% of its funding to these modes of transportation. The three sales tax measures that generate a majority of Metro’s revenue (Proposition A, Proposition C and Measure R) dedicate 0% for walking and biking. Do you support dedicating at least 12% of any future sales tax measures for walking and biking?

    I don’t feel comfortable naming a specific percentage, as so many different considerations are involved. I would, however, strongly support funding encouraging and supporting walking and biking as serious modes of transport in the County. I would also want to make sure to fund these modes to a level that improved the safety of those walking and biking.

    8. The County of Los Angeles is one of the region’s largest employers, generating significant traffic congestion and pollution around County facilities. Will you provide annual transit passes to all County employees and provide secure bicycle parking for both employees and visitors at County buildings?

    Yes I would support this. It is critically important for the County to lead by example and encourage other public and private offices to follow.

    9. Is there anything else you would like to say to Los Angeles County’s millions of bicyclists?

    I believe you are creating a very important positive trend in Los Angeles. We have to drastically reduce our dependence on cars, and it will take leadership, such as yours, to achieve our goals.


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