Are You Bike-Friendly? First District Supervisor Candidate Hilda Solis RespondsMay 14, 2014 at 6:20 pm | Posted in Bike News | 2 Comments
Tags: elections, Questionnaire, supervisor
June 3rd, 2014 is the primary election for three critical offices for bicyclists in Los Angeles County. All voters in Los Angeles County can vote for Los Angeles County Sheriff, while voters in the first and third supervisorial districts can vote for County Supervisor. LACBC invited all candidates to share their perspectives on bicycling and transportation with our members and supporters. While LACBC does not endorse candidates, we encourage you to consider these responses before casting your vote on June 3rd.
Find out more about the election and how to register to vote here: https://www.lavote.net/
All candidate responses are available here: http://la-bike.org/vote
When I was serving in Congress, life in Washington, D.C. was extremely hectic. I was racing from one committee meeting to another, and often times voting lasted late into the evening. Needless to say, I had very little time for leisure activities! But one of my staffers in Washington was, and remains, an avid cyclist and often times he would commute to the office on his bicycle. He knew I needed a fun activity and suggested an office outing to Rock Creek Park. We spent the day riding our bicycles through beautiful wooded areas and along dedicated bicycle pathways. I had a wonderful time and the memories I made on my bike that afternoon will certainly last a lifetime!
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?
The Bicycle Master Plan for the County of Los Angeles is a comprehensive plan and I am glad the community has been involved in the planning process. It’s so important for all stakeholders to weigh in on bicycle issues, so that implementation can be a team effort. I support the overall goals of the Plan and will work to ensure that in the coming years we see safe increases to bicycling through the County of Los Angeles. I will also make sure that as the Plan’s implementation moves forward, we convene Community Stakeholder Groups and provide annual progress reports on the Bicycle Master Plan. As for new miles of bicycle facilities, I believe that as our district grows and changes we should work to meet the needs of the community, including our bicycling community.
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?
In my career I have prided myself in working towards a better environment for children and families across Los Angeles County. And the neighborhoods where we live, work, and commute are where we must start. Unnecessary barriers to healthier communities must be reviewed and I support having our county agencies work together to achieve the common goal of a safer and healthier LA county.
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?
I recently saw a news report about a comprehensive mapping project that detailed Los Angeles 2,043 annual bike accidents on a single map. Looking at this map is astounding and I support research that better helps us understand safety issues. Protected bikeways are a great start when it comes to improving safety for cyclists and motorists alike and I commit to reviewing the timeline for these implementation plans. When it comes to adding bikeways in District 1, I would welcome the input from the Montebello Bicycle Coalition, the Pomona Valley Coalition, and the Bike San Gabriel Valley organization.
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?
When it comes to budgets and fund allocations, I know that unfunded plans are hard to get off the ground. When we look at regional sustainability, I believe that we must look at new ways to connect people to the places they need to go. I support reviewing the current plans Metro has for new transit line stations and will work to ensure that the needs of the bicycling community are heard. Commuters who utilize both bicycling and the Metro are helping the environment and we must make sure they have the resources and facilities they need to continue their environmentally friendly commutes.
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?
I have always and will continue to be an advocate to enhance safety for children and their parents. If elected, reviewing the process of the County’s Bicycle Master Plan and its implementation status will be a priority. I understand the County has started to invest (since 2012) over $330 million over 20 years to increase the interconnectedness of bike corridors and develop support facilities that encourage cycling, through additional bike lanes, signage, traffic calming measures and safety and educational programs. These are all measures I expect to see implemented first.
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?
Measure R was passed by the electorate and as indicated none of those funds were dedicated to walking or biking. Before taking action, I am in favor of including stakeholders and advocates early in the process, to help identify how much of any new sales tax should be dedicated 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?
My record is clear. I am a staunch advocate of the environment and healthier and safer work environments. The County currently offers a number of incentives to help more employees participate in alternative modes of transportation including metro and carpooling. I would support reviewing current employee incentives and options for metro ridership and additional bicycle parking.