Are You Bike-Friendly? CD 11 Candidate Odysseus Bostick Responds

February 25, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Posted in Bike News, Resources | 2 Comments
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LACBC asked each of the candidates running for City Council 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 by Council District, in the order they were received. Here are responses from CD 11 candidate Odysseus Bostick.

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’ll offer two: a positive and negative one.

Growing up in rural area of Florida, I could really relate to the oddball feeling portrayed by the main character in Breaking Away. Being a cyclist in the rural south was challenging, to put it mildly. I know many of the people reading this might have gone to the southern portion of FL for a recent CNU conference, but my cycling was focused on growing up in the panhandle and living in Gainesville while I attended college.

People are fairly cruel and I’ve been chased down by trucks many times, had bricks and bottles thrown at me, but there was a moment in Tallahassee when I was pedaling through some fairly dangerous traffic when someone flew by and hit me with a Big Gulp. I threw my bike down and ran alongside the road to keep up while I whipped out my pencil and paper to write their names down.

I rode home and called the DMV, but they exhibited absolutely no interest in the issue, nor did they offer any process for me to pursue. They said that I could come into the DMV, request the address where the vehicle was registered, and go there myself to “talk” to the owner.

I hung up the phone with a lot of disappointment. Government shouldn’t put the onus on regular people to hash out solutions to their problems when the problem emanates from what was an obvious threat to my personal safety. That is the role of government: to keep the peace. But, with cycling, it felt like I had to go out and fight, probably literally fight, for my legal rights. That’s wrong.

My second memory is of taking my (then) 2 year old to the Ciclavia that stretched through Echo Park to Macarthur through downtown…etc… Sabine was on the back of the bike and had never done such a thing.  I couldn’t accurately describe the emotions she exhibited for you now. Let’s just say that her perspective was shaped that day in a lovely way.

2. 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?

On transportation planning, I believe we frequently fail to incorporate the organic planning people have created through thousands of trips they take every day. Planners see the big ideas with rail projects and massive investments of infrastructure, but the really important and ultimately most successful planning is rooted in acknowledging the organic routes that have developed for people.

It’s the difference between plopping down a sidewalk that matches the conventional wisdom of sidewalk placement and going down to the area to see if there are places where people are cutting across open space and mapping that as the best place for a sidewalk. It’s the difference between mathematically plotting out a network of bicycle lanes and going to speak directly with moms to find out where most of their short trips are on any given day, working with them to determine safety needs, and focusing on facilitating the movement of people to places they need to get to and would feel comfortable riding a bike to.

Because a major priority in designing the very necessary “small” connectors like sidewalks and bicycle paths should be in making it easier for regular people to move freely within their neighborhood on foot or bike so we can start replacing short car trips with something that alleviates traffic on the neighborhood level.

3. Just a few months ago, Los Angeles was honored as a 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?

We should pursue Gold, Palladium, Platinum, or even Onyx level designation because the need to find better ways of moving people through our neighborhoods will never really end, simply because we find our needs change as new generations come into adulthood. Technology changes our transportation needs and innovations in our transportation options should always be looked at so that we, as a city, are timely in our efforts.

My first term, not year, would be dedicated to working directly with women to assess what they need to feel safer on a bike, where they would feel comfortable riding a bike to, and what routes they might see as acceptable to make those trips.

Directing this process to women is the only way we will create a culture of cycling in Los Angeles.

4. 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 in your district?  Are there any specific projects in the Plan you would prioritize?

The north-south “highway” from Brentwood south would be a major priority. Another priority is working closely with our neighborhood elementary schools to develop Safe Routes to School. As mentioned in a previous question, I would also reach out to mothers to identify missed opportunities in the plan to provide families with routes to places they feel reasonably secure biking to in their community.

A major focus would also be to increase bicycle parking in commercial zones.

5. Studies have shown that people on bicycles spend more per month in local business districts than those arriving by other modes.  What steps would you take to ensure that local businesses in your district are able to benefit from better access by bicyclists?

More access to bicycle parking. Replacing 1-5% of parking in neighborhood commercial zones with bike corrals would help.

6. 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?

On a fundamental level, LAPD needs to prioritize all hit and runs involving a cyclist/pedestrian regardless of whether the victim dies. We also need to increase the bike unit in the LAPD up to 300 officers per day. I believe it hovers somewhere around 250 at this time. Increasing the bike unit patrol numbers will provide additional law enforcement “eyes” on the ground to better understand the dynamics of cycling in Los Angeles while providing additional insight into the day to day battle for safety we endure.

7. 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?

We need to stabilize our pension costs in public safety and negotiate for lower payouts. They currently retire with 90% of their salary after age 50. That’s unsustainable. We need to adjust that downward to the 78-80% range. We also need to cap the city’s contribution at 15% and require that employees cover the gap that yearly investment returns to do not cover to ensure that their pensions are fully funded.

Doing that will allow our city to begin hiring firefighters again, something that has been prohibited for 6 years now.

8. 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?

At this time, I don’t support any revenue increases until the city completes negotiations with the public safety unions to create sustainable pension plans. Any increase in revenue for any reason before those negotiations are complete will remove the pressure to solve this structural problem.

It’s a shame that we are in this state at this time. It’s actually a very good time to float a bond for infrastructure improvements. Interest rates are at historic lows and the Fed’s monetary policies have created pent-up inflation that will begin to take effect within a decade. In other words, money is cheap right now and that money will be even cheaper when inflation begins to rise because of the massive stimulus plan our federal government has pursued this past 5 years.

But political will to fix pension plans in Los Angeles will not survive an increase in revenue. We will end up paying more for the same while those increases in revenue will be used to “feign” progress in our structural deficit. In my opinion.

9. LACBC has formed Neighborhood Bike Ambassador groups in each part of the City to work with local businesses, neighborhood councils, homeowner associations and other stakeholders on bicycle issues. Will you commit to meeting with the local Ambassador group in your district on a regular and ongoing basis? Would you be willing to lead a regularly scheduled bike ride with your constituents?

Yes. Gladly.

10. 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 feel safe on the neighborhood level, but not on the city-wide level. We need more protected bike lanes on “highways” to facilitate more neighborhood-to-neighborhood commuting.

Are You Bike-Friendly? CD 13 Candidate Roberto Haraldson Responds

February 21, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Posted in Bike News, Resources | Leave a comment
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LACBC asked each of the candidates running for City Council 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 by Council District, in the order they were received. Here are responses from CD 13 candidate Roberto Haraldson.

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 saw a man riding down a hill, flip over his bicycle and land on his head. The man was not wearing a helmet and was injured. Traumatic brain injury, death and other injuries can be prevented in part by educating the public to wear their helmets. I am not against fines for bicyclist not wearing their helmets, because I truly care about the safety of our community riders. We do not have enough bike lanes in our district, nor do we have enough community education programs at community centers and in schools about bike safety. The signage for bicyclists is lacking and that irresponsible planning in our city needs to change.

2. 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?

Bicycles are crucial to creating a greener, less polluted community. Bicycles also add aesthetic value to our streets. Bicycle racks on all buses will help us to promote riding. More designated places for bicyclists to lock their bike and more bike lanes will also help keep bicyclists in our community. Beautification of the bike path along the river leading into downtown and in other areas of the community will help make riding to work, more enjoyable for residents.

3. Just a few months ago, Los Angeles was honored as a 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?

Silver-level designation can be achieved by our city. The Bicycle Plan is a step in the right direction, yet only has half the amount of focus on bikeways that I would like to see in the district. I would double the amount of bikeways for our district and prioritize safety and signage for cyclists, especially in hilly areas and areas where it is hard to see around parked vehicles, shrubs and corners. Warning signs of dangers ahead and of accident-prone intersection is crucial to making safer rides for new area cyclists. These measures will keep cyclist active and help to recruit new cyclists.

4. 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 in your district?  Are there any specific projects in the Plan you would prioritize?

I plan to be very involved with the Bicycle Plan, so that people in Atwater Village can ride to East Hollywood, people in Koreatown can ride to Elysian Park and anywhere else they want to go.  Specifically, I want the Bicycle Plan to reach into every major commercial and business area, as well as, to the beautiful parks. Ride to work and ride to recreation are my two main priorities.

5. Studies have shown that people on bicycles spend more per month in local business districts than those arriving by other modes.  What steps would you take to ensure that local businesses in your district are able to benefit from better access by bicyclists?

I believe that business owners who actively pursue creating bicycle racks in their parking lots, deserve awards for being green friendly. Small businesses without parking lots will benefit from having a bicycle-parking zone in their area, provided by the city government as a free service to tax payers.

6. 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?

I believe cameras at intersections and business cameras are important for catching hit and run crimes. In addition, I believe that people who are caught driving under the influence more than once should be disallowed from driving in school zones and areas where there are bike paths. Services that offer rides home to the intoxicated should be mandatorily advertised at bars and other liquor establishments.

7. 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?

Money will not make firefighters faster; better training will make firefighters faster. More drills, more efficiency evaluations in the fire station and more athletic preparation of our firefighters are just the first step. Congested traffic causes slow response times, thus having a follow-up police cars following our fire trucks to ticket traffic offenders that do not move quickly aside to allow the fire truck to pass is essential. Our police must work with our firefighters to manage traffic for emergency personnel.

8. 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?

The bond measure has to address all residents’ needs not just some residents needs. Pedestrians, bicyclist and motorists should be prioritized in that order. It is our right to walk, yet our privilege to drive. The proposal should focus more on local traffic than on those passing through for distant commutes. I am for residents working locally, rather than having to make a long commute and plan to bring more quality jobs to our neighborhood business districts.

9. LACBC has formed Neighborhood Bike Ambassador groups in each part of the City to work with local businesses, neighborhood councils, homeowner associations and other stakeholders on bicycle issues. Will you commit to meeting with the local Ambassador group in your district on a regular and ongoing basis? Would you be willing to lead a regularly scheduled bike ride with your constituents?

Yes. I am an avid bike rider and believe leading rides around our community will lead to better efficiency in our transportation. In addition, I want to encourage our disabled community to try adaptive bicycles on our rides.

10. 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?

Having a team of bicycle safety assessors regularly ride the routes of our district to report and evaluate problems is key. We need professional engineers on our team to evaluate each section of our bicyclist’s paths.

Are You Bike-Friendly? CD 13 Candidate Alex De Ocampo Responds

February 21, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Posted in Bike News, Resources | Leave a comment
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LACBC asked each of the candidates running for City Council 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 by Council District, in the order they were received. Here are responses from CD 13 candidate Alex De Ocampo.

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).

Growing up my family didn’t have a lot of money, so on weekends my mom would take us to the park on our bikes. We didn’t have a car back then, so bikes were how we got around. They became a way of life for me, and I have loved them ever since.

2. 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?

If the updated Mobility Element will truly be one for the future, it must account for multi-modal transit within Los Angeles and throughout the Greater Los Angeles region. The reality is that our city is becoming denser and will be developed further along transit corridors. The Metro system won’t work if the Los Angeles streetscape isn’t retrofitted to account for pedestrians, bicycles, and heavy transit use. Bikes will provide a vital link between rail and bus and peoples homes and works, which is why I would support additions to zoning codes that require bicycle parking, as well as the continued expansion of bicycle sharing programs and bike lanes.

3. Just a few months ago, Los Angeles was honored as a 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?

Absolutely, from an economic, social, and environmental perspective, any improvements in bike-friendliness in this city are huge positives. While our focus should be on making it easier and safer to use a bike to travel to work, the store, or for fun in this city, angling for distinctions such as those provided by the League of American Bicyclists will be a credit to us on the national stage and attract attention to the improvements underway in Los Angeles.

4. 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 in your district?  Are there any specific projects in the Plan you would prioritize?

I strongly support the Bicycle Plan and, if I had been in office, would have voted to support it.  If elected, I will closely monitor the progress of projects in my district and keep constituents updated on the status of things.  I will also bring together various interests if there are delays in implementation, so we can make sure these improvements do not get stalled.

One great candidate for additional work in District 13 is improving multi-modal connectivity where the freeways like the 101, 2, and 5 cut through neighborhoods. Too often freeways create blighted and forbidding environments for pedestrians and bikers. There is great room for improvement here, especially in dense neighborhoods like Hollywood and around the LA River in Atwater Village and Elysian Valley.

We also must capitalize on the upcoming introduction of bike share programs to Downtown LA and various neighborhoods on the Westside. As a City Councilmember I will aggressively solicit the implementation of a bike share programs in our neighborhoods.

5. Studies have shown that people on bicycles spend more per month in local business districts than those arriving by other modes.  What steps would you take to ensure that local businesses in your district are able to benefit from better access by bicyclists?

One of the priorities of my campaign is to provide support for job-creating small businesses in my district and at large. I believe an effective way to accomplish this is to improve the life of our streets and storefronts. Bicycle traffic is a common sense solution here–people on bikes pass by storefronts slower, and are more likely to notice individual businesses they may soon patronize.  We can promote this by making sure there is space to park bikes and working with small business owners to make their streets more accessible.

6. 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?

This is a vitally important public safety issue. The recent revelations of the scale of this problem are staggering and a call to action. As a City Councilmember, I will ensure that we have an “all hands on deck” approach to solving this issue, mobilizing community groups to bring perpetrators to justice, educating residents about the perils of hitting and running, and making sure the LAPD is responsive to these kinds of cases.

7. 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?

This cuts to the heart of one of my campaign priorities–improving city services in the wake of debilitating budget cuts. It is vitally important that we prioritize economic recovery in this city to stabilize our finances and bring back robust city services . All departments have had to navigate financial stress, but I will ensure that the LAPD and LAFD are the first ones to be relieved of that pressure. It is a solemn responsibility the city has to provide emergency services to its residents, and must be acted on quickly and decisively.

8. 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?

Ideally we wouldn’t need to saddle our residents with more taxes in order to maintain our streets, but, because this bond measure represents a full reconstruction of the much of Los Angeles’s street system, I can see the benefits, especially in light of our budget challenges. I believe that it would be much wiser if this proposal included provisions for multi-modal transportation, cataloguing and repair of sidewalks, and ways to achieve the goals set forth in the Los Angeles Bike Plan passed in 2010.

9. LACBC has formed Neighborhood Bike Ambassador groups in each part of the City to work with local businesses, neighborhood councils, homeowner associations and other stakeholders on bicycle issues. Will you commit to meeting with the local Ambassador group in your district on a regular and ongoing basis? Would you be willing to lead a regularly scheduled bike ride with your constituents?

Absolutely, I have experience working with community groups from my time as a member of the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council.I believe that Neighborhood Councils have been underutilized by most City Councilmembers and I fully intend to work closely with them to identify problems in Council District 13 and find solutions that everyone can agree on. More broadly, I would make sure to meet with local groups as frequently as possible to ensure all stakeholders in the district have their voices heard.

10. 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?

Yes and no.  Some parts of the city are very bike friendly and allow for smooth commutes.  Other parts, whether because of the lack of bike lanes, clear streetscapes, quality roads or congestion are not as bike friendly.  This problem has only gotten worse as we have faced severe budget cuts.  This is why it is important for City Hall to identify new sources of revenue and promote job creation, which will bring in new revenue and investment.

Are You Bike-Friendly? CD 13 Candidate Mitch O’Farrell Responds

February 21, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Posted in Bike News, Resources | 10 Comments
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LACBC asked each of the candidates running for City Council 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 by Council District, in the order they were received. Here are responses from CD 13 candidate Mitch O’Farrell.

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).

Learning to ride a bike at age 5 by myself, no training wheels, no one helping me and I had never been on any bike before. I hadn’t started school yet but my older sister had. So I picked up her bike while she was at school (it was way oversized for my tiny body), and I just spent the time on a wonderful, sunny day during the Spring time in Oklahoma learning to ride that bike. When I had it down, I ran into the house so my mom could come outside for me to demonstrate. I will never forget her encouragement and delight and I remember having a wide eyed grin, experiencing pure joy. I have ridden bikes ever since.

2. 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?

I want LA to become known for biking in the way Berlin, Germany is. We need to dream big and the Mobility Element must envision a day when tens of thousands of people across the city utilize a comprehensive biking system that moves cyclists more safely across the city.

(What role do you see bicycling playing in the City’s transportation system, if any?) Obviously, a big, big role.

3. Just a few months ago, Los Angeles was honored as a 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?

Great question. Yes! There is the proverbial “low hanging fruit.” We have the resources to create Sharrow lanes across the city – right now. I am baffled as to why this has not yet been done and I will make sure we begin in the 13th. The LA bicycle Master Plan was created over years of volunteer input from people who know how to make Los Angeles bike friendly. The experts have spoken and it is now our job to begin implementation as soon as we possibly can. Of course this will require additional outreach in the neighborhoods where new lanes will go, but I have experience at bringing people together to make positive change happen and I will be an active leader on this issue in the 13th and in the city. The city and the county will have to work closely together, identify additional resources for areas where engineering is involved that require public funds.

4. 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 in your district? Are there any specific projects in the Plan you would prioritize?

I mentioned Sharrow’s above and will get them going on a regular basis until they are on every street that calls for them.

(Are there any specific projects in the Plan you would prioritize?) Fletcher Drive needs Sharrow lanes, as does Virgil, Hoover, Bellevue, Brunswick, San Fernando Road, Chevy Chase Drive, Glendale Boulevard, Franklin, Fountain, Temple, Melrose, 3rd, Normandie, and dedicated bike lanes on portions of Glendale, Beverly, Elysian Park Drive, Stadium Way, and Riverside Drive. I am sure I am leaving many out but this is a reasonable start. I will dissect the plan and develop a comprehensive approach to prioritize elements of the plan in the District, that get people moving on bikes as soon as possible. Bicycling is part of my comprehensive Transportation strategy plan for the District; available on my website under the “Plan” link. As I mentioned above, we don’t just start laying down pavement markings. To do this right and not have a rebellion from people who drive but feel threatened by bicyclists, will take some heavy lifting from my office but I have done that for 10 years and know this is part of the process.

5. Studies have shown that people on bicycles spend more per month in local business districts than those arriving by other modes.  What steps would you take to ensure that local businesses in your district are able to benefit from better access by bicyclists?

Bike racks everywhere! There are some really great programs for this but the city tends to over think it. I am a bicyclist. I can hook my bike on almost anything and be just fine! Also, we need to promote bike culture in Los Angeles as we roll out the lanes. We need to take a look at incentives for new and existing businesses to build biking in to their business model and need a permit.

6. 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?

1. Change the culture so law enforcement takes this seriously! While on staff I dealt with a few of these and know firsthand the laissez faire attitude, at times, from investigative officers when this has happened. The LAPD needs to formalize an administrative review process for all hit and run crimes and I would love to work with the bicycle community and the Chief on developing this so it actually becomes citywide policy. That would let people know we take this issue seriously.

2. We need to make our pedestrian experience much safer in the city. I have worked on several streetscape master plans and found funding for them too. These are great devices to calm traffic and make walking safer. Creating more of these will be a hallmark of my time in office. I’ll throw in here that Headphones are another culprit. I see people walking and biking all the time, wearing them. It is dangerous!

7. 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?

The reduction plan, rolled out during the summer of 2011 was haphazard and Northeast Los Angeles in particular, took the brunt of the losses for the rest of the city. For example: Nearly 25% of the cuts affected 7 fire stations (all NE area) out of 106 stations city-wide. This makes our hillside neighborhoods from El Sereno to Silver Lake and every hillside in between more prone to a slower response time and these are all “high fire danger” zones. But this obviously affects our EMT’s too.

1. I will insist on a re-evaluation of the plan and make sure no neighborhoods are left more vulnerable than others.
2. I will work to make sure we get empirical date based on fact and not politics, so we have a real picture of response times.
3. Get the budget under control and go back to full deployment.

8. 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?

I do not support it. There are times to raise property taxes and times when they shouldn’t be raised. This plan was hastily crafted and voters are generally in no mood to raise taxes at the moment unless the proposal is well crafted, fair, and believable. I do like the idea of EVERYONE paying a share of this but we passed measure R and voters need to see tangible evidence the additional taxes they pay are resulting in projects in the ground. There is well earned cynicism out there. Having said that, we need a long term funding plan to repair or broken infrastructure without relying only on the state each year with the various gas taxes that depending on what the legislature or federal government decides, can only be used for certain, specified types of streets; alley’s, major artery’s, secondary hi-ways, collector streets, etc. I was public works deputy for ten years in the 13th and there is never enough money to repair everything so we are losing ground as more streets fall into disrepair than we can keep up with. I would support and will help craft a ballot measure that is fair, community driven, and comprehensive enough to actually help repair our crumbling infrastructure AND I will advocate strongly for federal help from our Congressional delegation.

9. LACBC has formed Neighborhood Bike Ambassador groups in each part of the City to work with local businesses, neighborhood councils, homeowner associations and other stakeholders on bicycle issues. Will you commit to meeting with the local Ambassador group in your district on a regular and ongoing basis? Would you be willing to lead a regularly scheduled bike ride with your constituents?

Yes, I relish the idea! As a Council Staffer for ten years in the Office of Eric Garcetti, I actually rode my bike from Glassell Park to Hollywood on a somewhat regular basis. It took only a few minutes longer to get there but it is an enjoyable little trek! So, I will be the elected official guy who rides his bike to work; not only on “leave your car at home day,” but at least on a regular basis, and hopefully setting a good example. It’s such good exercise and is fun, except during heat waves.

10. 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?

Yes, but no matter how safe we make our streets for bicycling, us bike riders will always need to be very careful. There are streets I avoid for sure. I really don’t like riding downhill on the Hyperion Bridge for example! But – there’s almost nowhere I wouldn’t bike in the city. That does not mean I expect everyday people to be the same. Clearly, we need to implement many of the improvements discussed in this questionnaire because people need to feel safe and secure in our city.

Are You Bike-Friendly? CD 13 Candidate Josh Post Responds

February 21, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Posted in Bike News, Resources | 1 Comment
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LACBC asked each of the candidates running for City Council 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 by Council District, in the order they were received. Here are responses from CD 13 candidate Josh Post.

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).

Growing up in a small town of 900 people, many of my friends lived on country roads 5 to 10 miles from my family’s home. I would use my bike to visit my friends as a means of transportation throughout my childhood and as a young adult. This mentality as stayed with me to this day. I love commuting to work by bike and riding my bike across town to visit friends or to explore the sights.

2. 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?

I want to make Los Angeles more bike friendly: create more bike lines and bicycle parking; encourage better education for LAPD in dealing with bicycle traffic; support the implementation of the bicycle master plan.

3. Just a few months ago, Los Angeles was honored as a 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?

Los Angeles should pursue the League’s Diamond Level Designation. LA’s 2010 Bicycle Plan is a wonderful start to making Los Angeles the most bicycle friendly community in the country. I realize we have far to go and I will continue to make Los Angeles more bike friendly: create more bike lines and bicycle parking; encourage better education for LAPD in dealing with bicycle traffic; support the implementation of the bicycle master plan. I will consider alternative uses of our roadways through strategically placed “road diets” to mitigate traffic, increase bicycle and pedestrian safety, and encourage alternative forms of transportation.

4. 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 in your district?  Are there any specific projects in the Plan you would prioritize?

I would work to expand beyond the three goals that were established by Mayor Villaraigosa’s 2010 Bicycle Plan by continuing to increase the number and types of bicyclists who bicycle in the City; make every street a safe place to ride a bicycle, and continue to make the City of Los Angeles a bicycle friendly community.  I would also work to expedite completion of Measure R transit projects within the City; bring Measure R projects to CD13 as well as more bike lanes in CD13.

5. Studies have shown that people on bicycles spend more per month in local business districts than those arriving by other modes.  What steps would you take to ensure that local businesses in your district are able to benefit from better access by bicyclists?

I would lead the city and our neighborhoods and businesses in CD13 in creating bicycle and pedestrian friendly neighborhoods. I believe that having bike friendly business districts will enhance the local quality of life and increase revenue for local businesses because walkable neighborhoods that are allow both bicyclists and pedestrians access to business will increase business revenues while drawing the community closer.

6. 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?

With over 4,000 felony hit-and-runs occur yearly in L.A., the city council has to collaborate with LAPD’s Multidisciplinary Collision Investigation Team (MCIT)  and create a task force to raise public awareness. We will create a plan of action with the LA Police Department to reduce the frequency of these types of accidents and to catch and punish hit-and-run drivers for fleeing from the crash site.

7. 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?

We must ensure our police and fire departments have the resources they need to provide core services. I don’t support the cuts last year to the fire department and I will fight to give the fire department the resources it needs to reduce response times.

8. 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?

The recent proposal introduced by Mitch Englander would add $24 to a homeowners property tax bill for the next twenty years.  Potholes and disrepair of our infrastructure are serious issues in our district.  The proposal was a good idea, but we need to communicate with our neighborhood councils, schools, the Dept. of Transportation to make it better. I would advocate for any street/sidewalk repair bond to include funds for bike lanes and crosswalks for more walkability/bikeable neighborhoods.

9. LACBC has formed Neighborhood Bike Ambassador groups in each part of the City to work with local businesses, neighborhood councils, homeowner associations and other stakeholders on bicycle issues. Will you commit to meeting with the local Ambassador group in your district on a regular and ongoing basis? Would you be willing to lead a regularly scheduled bike ride with your constituents?

I think a regularly scheduled bike ride with my constituents is a brilliant idea. Your representative should know his or her constituents on and individual basis. It’s a great opportunity to discuss local issues, enjoy our beautiful district and I will listen to your concerns and ideas.  I have participated in a number of such rides with LACBC learning about different areas of our city. I would love to lead similar rides of my as a councilmember.

10. 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 my bike in the district all the time. I don’t necessarily feel safe, especially on streets like Glendale Blvd. near my home with no bike lanes and very fast traffic.  Nonetheless, I am very careful when riding and take precautions to remain safe. I am committed to making our city’s streets safe and user friendly. I believe the number one issues we face if we are to grow as a biking city, we much ensure that we have more protected bike lanes.

Are You Bike-Friendly? CD 13 Candidate Michael Schaefer Responds

February 21, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Posted in Bike News, Resources | Leave a comment
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LACBC asked each of the candidates running for City Council 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 by Council District, in the order they were received. Here are responses from CD 13 candidate Michael Schaefer.

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).

First learning to ride, down slightly sloaping streets in Hillcrest/San Diego, could not stop so ended up crashing onto a lawn. No trouble after that.

2. 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?

We need more bike lanes and the lanes command more respect from motorists; in my door to door visits in Atwater ran into some young Armenians who are bike advocates and chatted me up on issues, and assured them my door was open to get-things-done if I have the honor to serve.

3. Just a few months ago, Los Angeles was honored as a 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?

Am not that familiar with the possibilities, the alternatives, but we are a huge worldclass city, maybe 8 million in our county, and we should set the standard for urban areas.

4. 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 in your district?  Are there any specific projects in the Plan you would prioritize?

Have not seen the plan.  My district includes Griffith Park and Hollywood, both great areas for cycling.  I have travelled extensively in Europe and Asian and know that foot-strength is much more of a protected and promoted part of urban live there.

5. Studies have shown that people on bicycles spend more per month in local business districts than those arriving by other modes.  What steps would you take to ensure that local businesses in your district are able to benefit from better access by bicyclists?

Must be expanded bike-racks accessible to those patroning businesses, have these in  commercial parking lots but without fees, and bike-accessible should be included in advertising; maybe the bike locks can come with some securing device so bikers without a lock can feel comfortable storing their bike for an hour.

6. 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?

Was not aware of any hesitation to prosecute, if this is the case would talk to a vigilant media and seek editorial support.

7. 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 think both police and fire responses to incidents assure prompt attention to any traffic injury where minutes can make difference between life and death or disabilitating injury.

8. 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?

I support the bond measure, curing the serious sidewalk tree-uprootings would make bike travel safer and more popular for those on sidewalks or adjacent to uprooting tree growth.  Was not aware that travellers who not in mind of those doing the goodworks.

9. LACBC has formed Neighborhood Bike Ambassador groups in each part of the City to work with local businesses, neighborhood councils, homeowner associations and other stakeholders on bicycle issues. Will you commit to meeting with the local Ambassador group in your district on a regular and ongoing basis? Would you be willing to lead a regularly scheduled bike ride with your constituents?

Would be open to joining in a bike ride, have had several paper routes bike-serviced, and my two sons have too, and I saw six bikes on a subway car over lunch hour today so know that our subway and bus system opens of extended travels for bikers.

10. 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?

Yes, would feel, as I stop look and listen, and proceed with diligency so as to not impede pedestrian or vehicle traffice.   With high gas prices I think bikes are going to be more important in our urban growth; we tend to focus on Foot Marathons/Races, more should be done for bike competition.  A large number of our residents, perhaps half, come from countries where bike travel is more important/numerous than auto traffic, so we must accommodate.I would encourage whomever is Mayor to put his or her prestige on the line to maximize public attention to bike events.  More bike racks everywhere is important to encourage bike travel with bike-security not a concern at arrival.

Are You Bike Friendly? CD 11 Candidate Mike Bonin Responds

February 21, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Posted in Bike News, Resources | 4 Comments
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LACBC asked each of the candidates running for City Council 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 by Council District, in the order they were received. Here are responses from CD 11 candidate Mike Bonin.

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).

My most powerful cycling memory is strongly associated with a sense of growth, freedom and joy.  In the mid-1990s, shortly after getting clean and sober after years of addiction, I started bicycling.  I can vividly recall cruising down Ocean Park Blvd in Santa Monica late at night, feeling the wind in my hair and the breeze on my face.  I can still feel the sensations I felt as I biked from my home near Venice Beach, up the beach bike path to the Palisades.   I can remember soaking in the air, the noise, the beautiful natural environment, and the diversity of the people in Los Angeles.

Those memories are so powerful because they never went away, and I feel them every time I get back on a bike.  For me, bicycling is about freedom, joy, appreciating life, and feeling grateful.

2. 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 to the Mobility Element creates an enormous opportunity to spark change and to begin to give birth to a better Los Angeles – a Los Angeles with a range of viable transportation choices.

We deserve a choice to walk, cycle, take a bus or take a train. But absent viable options – efficient, integrated, comprehensive systems of alternative transportation – the choices are too few and too meager.  Fifty percent of all trips taken in our city are within a 3 mile distance, but people will continue to take too many of those trips by automobile unless we improve our bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

We need to consider walking and bicycling as a component of all other transportation modes. We need to implement complete street standards so that we ensure high quality pedestrian and bicycle access are part of our planning decisions and public roadway improvements.  And we need to provide all residents, workers, and visitors with efficient, convenient, affordable, and attractive transit services

We also need to make safety an urgent priority.  For far too long, safety has been regarded as a performance measure of our road system rather than a goal.  That needs to change and we need policies that:

  • Emphasize safety over speed.  We need to design our roadways in a way that prioritizes the safety of all road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, children, seniors, and people with disabilities.
  • We need to better track collisions on our roadway with an annual review that will guide us on addressing safety concerns before they rise to epidemic proportions.
  • We need to reevaluate the effectiveness of the State’s speed limit requirements on street safety and performance.
  • And we need to educate.  We need to promote awareness to all road users on safe driving, walking, and bicycling habits.

Data should drive our decisions. We need to develop a comprehensive, integrated transportation database for the City so that we can make informed decisions about our transportation system.

We also need strong environmental leadership to convert existing street and transportation infrastructure to more renewable and energy efficient sources. This should be a priority in all that we do, but especially with our transportation system.

And we need to hold regular open street events like CicLAvia.  So that the public has the opportunity to experience and re-imagine what our streets could be.

(What role do you see bicycling playing in the transportation system?)

One of Los Angeles’ greatest flaws is that our transportation system is focused almost exclusively on a single mode.  It must be a public policy imperative to right that wrong by expanding the number of transportation choices available to the public.  We have to focus on moving people not cars.

Bicycling is an integral part of a sustainable transportation system, and I envision bicycling playing a critical role in the future of this City.  Bicycling is efficient, environmentally friendly, healthy, cost effective for cities and affordable for users.  The infrastructure necessary to support cycling creates great streets that complement neighborhoods, instead of degrading them with congestion and speeding automobiles.  Bicycling is a real and promising complement to the transit system that will continue to expand in the coming years thanks to Measure R.  I believe that bicycling as a mode of transportation is great for cities and great for neighborhoods, and failure to view its inherent value to this City would be ridiculously short-sighted.

3. Just a few months ago, Los Angeles was honored as a 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’s priority should be to lead in innovative bikeway facility design and implement programs that foster safer conditions on the road for bicyclists.  Recognition is great, but our goal should be to create roadway conditions that support cyclists on the road and encourage others to take to two wheels.  If we can achieve those goals, then the recognition will follow.

We need more bicycle facilities, but we also need higher quality facilities that provide protected lanes. Recent research has confirmed the value of building quality facilities by demonstrating that risk of injury drops by 50% riding in a bike lane, and by 90% in a protected lane.  I intend to bring higher quality facilities and innovative bikeway design to the 11th District.

We need to calm traffic on our roadways.  Historically, the City addressed automobile congestion by building more capacity at the expense of other transportation modes.  Now we’re faced with roads that were built for peak hour congestion, which only encourages off-peak speeding. Speeding needs to be addressed.  I believe there are simple policy changes we can make in how we comply with the California Speed Trap law that could lead to positive changes. For instance, we should send police officers out to conduct targeted enforcement on a street prior to conducting speed surveys.  By suppressing speeds in advance of conducting the speed survey we may be able to push speed limits down.  Complementary to that effort, we need to re-engineer our roadways to calm traffic where necessary.  Reducing lane widths, jut-outs, roundabouts and speed bumps are all tools that I will direct LADOT to use in the 11th Council District so we can ensure the safety of all road users.

I also want to explore education opportunities.  Establishing a diversion program that allows cyclists to have their citation dismissed in return for completing an education program could help deter dangerous behavior. The diversion program could also be made available to members of the general public who want to learn how to safely ride in an urban setting.

Bike to Work Day should be a monthly or weekly event.  The City needs to actively encourage the public to explore other modes of transportation. I will occasionally bike to work to demonstrate this commitment and help promote cycling.

There is a critical need to collect data.  With all the technology available to us we should not be making transportation decisions on an ad-hoc basis.  We need to be able to quantify the benefits so that the public can see that sound investments in their transportation system are being made.

We may not be able to get all of this done in year one, but that is all the more reason to reach consensus quickly on the best programs and policies that will advance bicycling in this City, and begin the work immediately.

4. 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 in your district?  Are there any specific projects in the Plan you would prioritize?

I want to be sure that we build more bicycle facilities, but also high-quality facilities. I want the 11th District to be synonymous with innovative and higher quality bicycle facilities.  If we want to create a truly bicycle-friendly city then we need to build more separated bicycle lanes and more bicycle-friendly streets. Most of the public finds the idea of riding in a bicycle lane on a major street terrifying.  But if you put them in a separated bicycle lane or a local neighborhood street with traffic calming measures in place, they’re going to feel a lot more comfortable. And if they’re comfortable, they’ll make that trip again. That will grow ridership.

The programs under Policy 3.1.3 of the Bicycle Plan could significantly expand our network of bikeways as well as the funding available to expand bicycle programs.  Moreover, by adopting strategies that allow vehicle trips to be mitigated through Bicycle Plan programs we move ourselves away from the narrow auto-centric focus and open the City to investing in multi-modal improvements.

5. Studies have shown that people on bicycles spend more per month in local business districts than those arriving by other modes.  What steps would you take to ensure that local businesses in your district are able to benefit from better access by bicyclists?

At the most basic level there is a fundamental need to connect our neighborhoods with local businesses.  Building comprehensive local networks of bicycle facilities is the place to start, whether they be bike lanes, protected facilities or Bicycle Friendly Streets.  We also need to provide adequate parking.  However, in order to truly take advantage the business community has to be informed and engaged.  Not only do they have to be informed but government has to listen to what their local needs are.  LA is full of diverse communities with a variety of needs, and I believe they are best served by engaging in a dialogue.   I would directly engage the LA Area Chamber of Commerce and local chambers of commerce to do that.  I would also hold and publicize “Open Constituent Office Hours” at local establishments that have bike corrals or bike valets.

6. 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?

In most cases, a hit and run will not be successfully investigated or solved unless there is swift response from the LAPD, allowing them to capture fresh information from eyewitnesses and track down leads.  In order to make that happen, we need to more wisely and efficiently deploy LAPD resources.  I intend to focus intently on making sure we get more of our cops out on the streets, and not chained to desks at police stations doing paperwork.  In order to achieve that, I would seek to equip every officer with an Ipad or tablet, and appropriate software allowing them to more quickly and easily file reports without having to spend hours at the station and accumulate hours of overtime.  This will permit officers to spend more time on the streets, and provide greater resources for response to hit and runs, property crimes, etc.

7. 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?

Public Safety will always be my highest priority. In recent years, Los Angeles has become one of the safest big cities in America – and we need to keep it that way. We need to increase the number of cops on the streets, stop the cuts and restore funding to the Fire Department, and better prepare for emergency situations. Excessive response times for emergency services are simply unacceptable. If elected, I intend to push the LAFD to develop and implement an “LAFD Service Restoration Plan,” and I will push to deploy “Motorcycle Response Teams” staffed with firefighter/EMTs to provide rapid initial response to medical emergencies in remote areas in the hills and canyons.

8. 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?

I believe a bond measure will be necessary to significantly improve our streets and reduce the ridiculous backlog in street repair.  But I do not think the proposed bond measure was well-structured. When I take office, I would like to revive the idea, but make sure that it provides also for bicycling needs, sidewalks, ADA ramps, and alleys.  (We also need to  incorporate stormwater capture efforts to the greatest degree possible.) To structure a new bond measure, I would take a community organizer’s approach and hold workshops and meetings around the city to build support and define the scope of the proposal.

9. LACBC has formed Neighborhood Bike Ambassador groups in each part of the City to work with local businesses, neighborhood councils, homeowner associations and other stakeholders on bicycle issues. Will you commit to meeting with the local Ambassador group in your district on a regular and ongoing basis? Would you be willing to lead a regularly scheduled bike ride with your constituents?

Hell, yes!  Not only would I be willing to lead regularly scheduled bike rides but I want to organize constituent meetings in our great outdoor spaces in the mountains, beaches or urban landscape.  I want to lead the way by encouraging an active community.

10. 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 generally feel safe because I’m experienced, because I’ve made considerable efforts to educate myself regarding bicycle safety, and because I’ve learned the hard way (bicycling Lincoln Blvd – what was I thinking?!?!?)  But while I generally feel safe, the vast majority of the public does not feel the same way.  To remedy that the City needs to create safe bicycle facilities and also actively educate and encourage the public.

One of the biggest barriers to achieving higher bicycle ridership is fear.  Studies have demonstrated that there is an inverse relationship between the volume and speed of motorized traffic and the level of cycling. We also know that the risk of serious injury to an individual cycling decreases as the level of cycling within an area increases.  What that says to me is that creating safer conditions on the road will not only induce greater ridership but it will also further protect those out on the road by virtue of increasing the number of cyclists.

Are You Bike-Friendly? CD 9 Candidate Ana Cubas Responds

February 21, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Posted in Bike News, Resources | 2 Comments
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LACBC asked each of the candidates running for City Council 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 by Council District, in the order they were received. Here are responses from CD 9 candidate Ana Cubas.

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 was 10 years old when I received my first bicycle – it was a used bike with training wheels. My family and I were very poor and we couldn’t afford a new bike. I loved my bike and soon took off the training wheels. While a graduate student  at Princeton, my only mode of transportation was a sporty Trek bike with a basket where I would put my groceries and books in.

2. 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 policies that I would prioritize for inclusion in the Mobility Element would be policies that target specific objectives from community members. I would sit together with community members and discuss what their needs are and what they envision. The specific policies that I would prioritize would be bicycle safety literature and distribution, violator training program for motorists, and LAPD bicycle peace officer standards and training program. Educating our communities about the importance of bicycle safety is the first step to improving transit.

3. Just a few months ago, Los Angeles was honored as a 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?

Yes, I do. I plan to work with LACBC and other non-profits to educate communities about bicycle safety and to work with local businesses to become more bicycle-friendly.

4. 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 in your district?  Are there any specific projects in the Plan you would prioritize?

To ensure that the implementation of the Bicycle Plan projects in my district, I plan to work with students from local colleges and LACBC to identify which streets urgently need a bike path and to ensure that safety standards are met.

5. Studies have shown that people on bicycles spend more per month in local business districts than those arriving by other modes.  What steps would you take to ensure that local businesses in your district are able to benefit from better access by bicyclists?

With the help of business owners, LACBC, and other non-profits I hope to increase the amount of bike racks along areas of small businesses and ensure that the Bicycle Plan runs along the most populated sections of the district.

6. 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?

Educating LAPD and the public about bicycle safety is a step that I would take in order to decrease traffic crimes. I would also hold meetings with the help of the neighborhood councils, LAPD, and other community organizations to ensure that high-risk areas for bicyclists are addressed.

7. 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 will address the budget cuts to LAFD by collecting business taxes owed to the city of LA. There are hundreds of millions of dollars that are uncollected. These revenues could be used to restore services at LAFD. This would decrease response times.

8. 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?

No, many tax increases have already been made. We need to look into other areas for funding other than taxes.

9. LACBC has formed Neighborhood Bike Ambassador groups in each part of the City to work with local businesses, neighborhood councils, homeowner associations and other stakeholders on bicycle issues. Will you commit to meeting with the local Ambassador group in your district on a regular and ongoing basis? Would you be willing to lead a regularly scheduled bike ride with your constituents?

Yes.

10. 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?

No, and it is because of the low measures that the city has taken to care for bicyclists. I would work with local community groups, non-profits, and LACBC to ensure that more individuals feel safe riding a bicycle in Los Angeles. As mentioned before, I plan to educate communities about the importance of bicycle safety. After this step is taken, communities and organizations can work more closely to address which areas need immediate attention.

Are You Bike-Friendly? CD 7 Candidate Krystee Clark Responds

February 21, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Posted in Bike News, Resources | 1 Comment
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LACBC asked each of the candidates running for City Council 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 by Council District, in the order they were received. Here are responses from CD 7 candidate Krystee Clark.

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 the most dynamic bike rides to encounter is the beachfront path near Venice. I remember the first time I rented a bike there.  I was entranced by the views and the people watching and was carried away by the salty air.  I assumed the path would eventually end and I would know when to turn around and head back.  That is a very long path.  It got dark, and the rental place closed before I made my way back to where I had started.  I was sore for 3 days after that ride.  But what a great memory!

2. 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?

We desperately need to reduce the amount of cars on the road in order to combat environmental, health and financial problems for our future. Bicycling is an important transportation option that needs to be encouraged and will assist the City in meeting many of our air quality and sustainability goals. Priorities should be safe and maintained streets, smooth pavement free of potholes, clear signage and adequate nighttime lighting. We must expand and improve safe enviornments for bicyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable users like the disabled, children, elderly and equestrians.

Most Angelenos work within a 5-mile radius of a transit station. We must integrate more bicycle options into our transit system by increasing rack space on buses and trains. We need more rental kiosks and storage facilities near jobs, schools and cultural centers. Mobility hubs are a great idea. We need to expand all bike parking options. Artistic racks are a great way to add character and identity to a local neighborhood thru useful public art.

3. Just a few months ago, Los Angeles was honored as a 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?

Los Angeles needs to strive to remain innovative and world-class City in every way possible. That includes the pursuit of a Silver- level Bicycle friendly designation. We have made great strides to rid our City of automobile dependence and we need to act on that momentum.  Infrastructure support needs to begin on the proposed Backbone, Neighborhood and Green Networks, with a focus on the LA River trail system and Neighborhood networks in order to encourage riders that are at a novice level.

We must continue to promote car free days, street closures and Bike to work week.   Advocacy groups and programs will be key to help us create the change we need.  We also must establish bicycling as an official mode of transportation in the State of California.

4. 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 in your district?  Are there any specific projects in the Plan you would prioritize?

Many communities in my District suffer from dangerous amounts of traffic and car congestion.  I would support reducing posted traffic speeds to encourage safer conditions.  I would increase the supply of quality bicycle parking and storage in all City facilities, schools and commerce centers. Create incentives for car free employees. Include bike racks in the definition of street furniture and increase the bike rack capacity of Metro and Municipal bus lines from two to three and find a way to establish racks for taxis.  Continue the Bicycle Advisory Committee and make sure the Backbone and Neighborhood networks receive top priority.

The City is currently updating the Sylmar Community Plan and bike lanes must be analyzed properly and remain continuous.  We must encourage bicycle use as a healthy choice and continue to raise a culture that does not include cars as a priority.  Bikes are downright “Hip” in some neighborhoods.  Local restaurants and bars have become showplaces for tricked out vehicles.  We need to promote this trend.

5. Studies have shown that people on bicycles spend more per month in local business districts than those arriving by other modes.  What steps would you take to ensure that local businesses in your district are able to benefit from better access by bicyclists?

One of our largest groups of future cyclists is woman.  We must encourage this demographic with safe streets, improved parking options and equipment that tailors to carrying cargo.  If daily errands can be done conveniently and safely, our neighborhoods will quickly become more neighborhood driven and bike friendly.  As we phase out our current parking meters, the existing posts can be retrofitted to use as bike racks. Consider incentives for adding racks outside of local establishments.  We need to require public hearings for the proposed removal of an existing or designated bicycle lane or path.

6. 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?

Public education and service announcements are effective in educating the community and the cost is negligent.  Make sure drivers know their fate will always be worse if they run from an incident. Hit and run accidents deserve consequences like mandatory jail time and vehicle confiscation.

Use hot zone maps to determine potentially dangerous areas and make sure those areas are covered by surveillance cameras and neighborhood watch groups.  Increase lighting on designated paths.

7. 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?

One way to help our Police and Fire departments cut down their response times is by clearing up the 911 dispatch lines from unnecessary callers.  Education by way of TV and social media will help the confusion of when to call and when NOT to call 911.  Teaching the public proper emergency protocol and alternative numbers for information will save precious time and possibly lives in our communities.

Another way to increase response times is with technology.  We must equip our Fire trucks and stations with the most state of the art equipment available like GPS to ensure the quickest response times possible. Basic street maintenance can also enable trucks to get to emergencies faster.  We need to work smarter not harder.  I will fight to ensure the North Valley gets its fair share of City services.

8. 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?

The proposed bond has many flaws.  I was proud of the Neighborhood Council system for standing up for their rights by getting the measure postponed until further investigation could be made.

We must make sure that all schools are exempt from such a tax and that fair and equal distribution of funds will be ensured.  All rehabilitation and reconstruction projects need to serve all road users including motorists, transit users, bicyclists, pedestrians, wheelchair users, equestrians and the elderly.  Changes must be tailored to the unique attributes of our neighborhoods.

9. LACBC has formed Neighborhood Bike Ambassador groups in each part of the City to work with local businesses, neighborhood councils, homeowner associations and other stakeholders on bicycle issues. Will you commit to meeting with the local Ambassador group in your district on a regular and ongoing basis? Would you be willing to lead a regularly scheduled bike ride with your constituents?

I will commit to meeting with Neighborhood Bike Ambassador groups on a regular basis.  I am afraid I am a good enough cyclist to be leading bike rides, but I will embrace and promote the lifestyle.

10. 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 am not a secure cyclist.  Our infrastructure is not adequate for the amount of cars on the street, let alone bikes.  Painting stripes on primary streets is not enough for me to feel safe.  I would encourage buffer zones, grade separations and more turn signals to create less stressful conditions.  I stick to dedicated paths and trails tailored to recreational riders.

Are You Bike-Friendly? CD 5 Candidate Paul Koretz Responds

February 21, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Posted in Bike News, Resources | 5 Comments
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LACBC asked each of the candidates running for City Council 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 by Council District, in the order they were received. Here are responses from CD 5 candidate Paul Koretz.

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).

My fondest memory on a bike was doing the California AIDS Ride in 1996. I hadn’t been on a bike for a long time, and trained to do over 500 miles for charity. (I was told that I was the first elected official to do the ride at the time—don’t know if any have done it since.) It was a great experience, riding with thousands of people who were crazy enough to do such a ride because they cared about people with HIV and AIDS. Most were not great cyclists on the natural, although most had trained more than I, but a wonderful group of people taking on a tough task because they wanted to help those in need.

It was quite a challenge. Some days were extremely hot, and on one of them, I must have been extremely dehydrated. The medical volunteers stopped me at several of the rest stops and tried to convince me to stop for the day (I must have looked like hell) but I was too stubborn. On the last day, I had to ride standing up the whole way, because my backside was too sore to sit. But it was truly a peak experience.

2. 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 plan that is currently being crafted is a strong look at traffic movements in the City, and I fully support having a smart, long term look at how we plan for the movement of our residents.  Naturally, I think that bicycles must play an integral role in this system, and because of that I have and will continue to push for more comprehensive and far reaching ideas to spread the ridership of bikes in LA.  With the expansion of the Subway to the Sea, and the EXPO Light Rail, the City has taken the position that mass transit is the future of this region—the usage of bicycles as a method to travel in between those systems is key to further reduce the use of cars and accidents.

3. Just a few months ago, Los Angeles was honored as a 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?

As I mentioned previously, I have been one of the most vocal proponents of bicycle routes and pedestrian friendly planning.  In 2010, I authored a MOTION which requested that the Planning Department submit quarterly reports on the Bike Plan’s implementation, and have been an advocate of its development in my own district.  I certainly believe that the city should pursue Silver-level designation, as the Council and Mayor have consistently been pushing for more bike usage as a great alternative to vehicular traffic.  With the expansion of CycLAvia, and the beginning of Bike Nation in the city, we are only at the beginning of a bike friendly LA.

4. 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 in your district?  Are there any specific projects in the Plan you would prioritize?

As I stated earlier, I was the author of a MOTION which requested that the Planning Department report on the status of the bicycle plan regularly.  In addition, I have when appropriate, sped up the implementation of bike paths within my district.  A good example is the recent resurfacing of National Place in West LA and Motor Avenue in Palms, both streets are traffic bearing and were slated to have bike paths placed on them in future years—however because they were recently resurfaced I requested that the Department of Transportation push them up.  However, in both of those cases I made sure that my office consulted with the local Home Owner’s association and the local Neighborhood Council.  I am an advocate of bike paths so long as we implement them intelligently and with the input of local stakeholders.

5. Studies have shown that people on bicycles spend more per month in local business districts than those arriving by other modes.  What steps would you take to ensure that local businesses in your district are able to benefit from better access by bicyclists?

The City Council is currently in discussions with Bike Nation, a company which is pioneering a unique LA focused way to have bike share become a reality in our city.  The start of the plan is likely to start closer to the center of the City, butI will work to have the very next part of this plan open up in my district.  Although the 5th district is known for congestion issues, we also have many wonderful bike friendly communities that would stand to benefit greatly from an implementation plan.  From Westwood to Century City, Encino to Palms, I am confident that Bike Nation will come to my district and aide both pedestrians and local businesses alike by increasing bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

6. 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?

One of the hallmarks of my first term in office is the accessibility that constituents have to me.  From the start, I have made sure that my deputies and I go to as many meetings as possible: from Home Owner’s groups to Neighborhood Councils, to Neighborhood Watches and houses of worship from all faiths, including schools and everything in between—because of that I have made problem areas a priority for both the Department of Transportation and the LAPD to oversee.

One of the most walkable communities in my district is the Pico-Robertson area, which on its own is one of the most dense Jewish-Orthodox communities in Los Angeles, and certainly in the United States.  I have worked closely with Captain Evangeline Nathan, Commanding Officer of West LAPD Division and her officers on attending community meetings, logging complaints and ensuring that issues are heard and dealt with.  In Palms and the Melrose/La Brea portions of my district, I work with two other LAPD divisions on similar outreach efforts and visibility in spite of the fact that each of those communities have large vehicular traffic with high pedestrian counts.  No matter what part of my district, from Encino down to Palms, I have made traffic safety—vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle—a high priority, whether that means traffic studies, signal timing changes, re-striping or community meetings.

In Palms, I have asked CalTrans to proceed with a left turn arrow, traffic upgrade, at the intersection of Motor and Venice.  In Pico-Robertson, I have requested and received federal grants to start the implementation process of adding additional traffic signals for increased pedestrian safety.  In the Melrose / La Brea district, I have increased traffic signal times to accommodate the local community’s needs.  In Encino I have directed the Department of Transportation to monitor Ventura and adjacent streets to ensure smoother movement of traffic.  In every corner of my district, I have concentrated on innovation, safety and access.

7. 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?

From my first day in Council, I have been a vocal leader against the defunding or cut back of our LAFD.  In fact, one of my earliest votes in Council was a “No” vote against the scale back of the department—something which I did because “I do not vote for things that kill people”, which is what I said during Council.  This year, I led the fight during the budget deliberations to have the LAFD funded at an extra amount of 40 million dollars—at the same time I have held the leadership’s feet to the fire by openly questioning the methods that they use to analyze timings and statistics (CF : 12-0431-S2 ), months before the issue was brought into the public light by the LA Times piece in November of 2012.

I am a friend and supporter of the LAFD—in my district I made sure that stations which were limited inappropriately were restored to their proper capacity.  Fire Station 58 on Robertson Boulevard was one of the stations most deeply cut, and now they are back up to full staffing—something which I made a priority immediately after I learned that the station had been cut so far back.

I also think we need to break down and analyze each element of a response and figure out how to save time. For instance, 911 calls go directly to LAPD. If they determine it is an LAFD call, then it is transferred there. Having a separate number for fire emergencies could save 30 seconds to a minute per call. There are several changes like that which could save seconds or even minutes. That means some additional lives saved, and nothing is more important than that.

It is important for the Council to continue to work with staff, the leadership and our partners in UFLAC, as well as the residents and community members at large.  As I have stated before, the answer to every question before the Council must be arrived at with care and cooperation from all parties involved.

8. 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?

At this time, I support the 3 Billion dollar bond measure that was brought forth by Councilmember Mitch Englander in concept.  I am certainly in favor of better streets, and in fact I have ensured that each year the number of resurfaced streets grows in my district, however, I am not a supporter of the bond measure without it first being vetted by our residents, Neighborhood Councils, homeowners associations and other community groups. This is a concept brought forward to respond to our residents, whose most frequent complaint is the terrible condition of our streets. Yet community leaders and residents overall responded in horror to the proposal! We clearly need to lay the groundwork, do the education and vetting and get community buy-in before we move forward.

9. LACBC has formed Neighborhood Bike Ambassador groups in each part of the City to work with local businesses, neighborhood councils, homeowner associations and other stakeholders on bicycle issues. Will you commit to meeting with the local Ambassador group in your district on a regular and ongoing basis? Would you be willing to lead a regularly scheduled bike ride with your constituents?

My staff will be happy to meet with the local Ambassador group in my district.  My own appointee to the City’s Bicycle Commission works closely with me on implementing the city’s bike plan and has met regularly with my constituents on the subject.  Being out of practice and shape, leading a bike ride might not be the right term, but I would join an easy, pretty flat bike ride in the fifth district with my constituents!

10. 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?

Honestly, I probably ride my bike so rarely because I don’t feel safe on commercial streets competing with cars for the same space. I felt very safe on the AIDS Ride because we had our own lane blocked off from San Francisco to West Hollywood. I am keenly aware that we are only scratching the surface on making this City a true bike friendly area.  In order to further that goal, I believe that we must push forward with the Bike Implementation plan, proceed diligently and work with the community at each stage of the plan to move biking in LA forward, coordinate with Bike Nation on a smart network of bike sharing in Los Angeles and continue to stripe more lanes each and every year. I feel the safest on a separate bike path, such as that located at the beach, or the Orange Line, or that which will eventually span the EXPO line. I am fighting hard to make sure the EXPO bike path does get completed.

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