Are You Bike-Friendly? CD 1 Candidate Jose Gardea Responds

February 21, 2013 at 5:58 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 1 candidate Jose Gardea.

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 Echo Park I used to ride my bicycle in the neighborhood. I have great memories of riding to Dodger Stadium to watch a game and I felt safe on my bike. I believe there was a greater respect for bicycles and pedestrians at that time and we need to bring back that culture of safety by emphasizing all modes of transportation equally.

Additionally, my wife’s family is from Guadalajara and I have had the amazing opportunity to witness their “Via Recreativa” or car free Sundays program. I would like to implement CicLAvia on a more frequent basis and even try a weekday CicLAvia to promote commuter cycling in Los Angeles.

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 would emphasize safety, accessibility, and good connections to multiple modes of transit that connect people to the places they need and want to go.  I would prioritize a complete streets policy, walkability standards, as well as citywide urban design guidelines for bikes and pedestrians such as enhanced sidewalk widths and new street standards. Bicycles play a crucial role in building out any transportation system and will help us meet critical goals such as reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and greater transportation equity for all Los Angelenos.

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?

I have had the pleasure of serving as Chief Deputy to Ed Reyes for the past twelve years.  Councilmember Reyes was honored to recently accept the bronze level Bicycle-Friendly Community award on behalf of the City of Los Angeles at MacArthur Park in the First Council District. It is a great first step to receive this national award but as the second largest city in the United States I know we can do more.  I would focus on the five Es of the League of American Bicyclists application criteria; Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation & Planning by continuing to push for implementation of the City’s bicycle plan, striving for greater outreach and community engagement as well as incorporating bicycle planning into new developments and infrastructure from the outset.  The City’s new bicycle parking ordinance is one example of this. I also think education for both cyclists and drivers is extremely important in expanding a vibrant bike culture 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 current implementation priorities for Council District One include:

-N. Figueroa from San Fernando Road to Colorado
-Mission from Broadway to Ceasar Chavez
-Cypress Avenue near Florence Nightingale Middle School (Avenue 28 bike lanes were just added)
-Venice from Crenshaw to Main Street
-Vermont Avenue from Venice to Wilshire Blvd.
-2nd Street from Beverly/Glendale Blvd. to Broadway
-Sunset from Douglas to Figueroa. For this project we are proposing a shared bus/bike lane that will both close the gap for cyclists on Sunset as well as provide a dedicated bus lane to reduce bus travel times particularly for the shuttle operated by Metro on game days at Dodger Stadium.

Many of these projects span multiple Council Districts and I am proud to have been endorsed by Councilmember Huizar whose neighborhoods border Council District One.  I will work with my colleagues to implement projects holistically and I would like to work with the community to identify additional projects. The current priority projects are extremely cost effective; I would like to emphasize this to the public as well as work to make sure we have continued funding for implementation of the bike plan.

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?

When we implemented the road diet on 7th Street, local bicycle advocates like you and other community organizers went door to door to speak to businesses about the project. We received extremely positive feedback and the biggest request from businesses was for additional bicycle racks as well as signage around driveways where there could be potential conflicts between vehicles and cyclists. In addition to making sure they receive this supportive infrastructure I would like to work with Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and small business owners to document any increase in consumer activity since the bike lanes were installed. This will help make the case for future projects in the City.

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 an extremely important issue that will require solutions at many levels. This includes teaming with LAPD to institutionalize better reporting and enforcement procedures, seeking cooperation from City Attorney to prosecute these cases, and working with DOT and the City’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinators on infrastructure improvements such enhanced signage, ped/bike amenities, and more visible crosswalks so that there are less ped/bike/vehicular collisions.

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 current redeployment plan is based on old data of past worst-case scenarios by the Fire Department. I would put this aside in favor of developing future scenarios that help us understand where the greatest needs are neighborhood by neighborhood. This will help us implement a targeted strategy that includes prompt emergency response for all those who need emergency assistance including cyclists.

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 the current bond measure unless greater accountability is built into the proposal. The City’s Prop K, LA for Kids Program, is a good example of a bond that has accountability to the public and measurable outcomes. I would support the inclusion of language regarding performance criteria and I would also support the incorporation of complete streets into 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?

Yes, I look forward to meeting with and supporting the work of our Neighborhood Bike Ambassadors. I would like to lead regular bicycle rides as well as walks throughout the district.  I would also like to bring constituents to the LA River and its tributaries to see the great work being done in the watershed.

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 do not think the streets are as safe as they should be for cyclists. The City needs a comprehensive strategy that includes more protected bike lanes, education, and the goal of creating a greater culture of respect for those who share the road. I also believe that by increasing bicycle infrastructure and safety on our roads we will have the added benefit of making our city safer for pedestrians by reducing the conflicts on sidewalks in dense parts of City like Council District One.

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  1. […] District 1, Jose Gardea took a strong stand in support of bicycling, while Gil Cedillo failed to respond. This district has […]

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