Are You Bike-Friendly? Third District Supervisor Candidate Sheila Kuehl Responds

May 14, 2014 at 11:36 am | Posted in Bike News | 2 Comments
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June 3rd, 2014 is the primary election for three critical offices for bicyclists in Los Angeles County. All voters in Los Angeles County can vote for Los Angeles County Sheriff, while voters in the first and third supervisorial districts can vote for County Supervisor. LACBC invited all candidates to share their perspectives on bicycling and transportation with our members and supporters. While LACBC does not endorse candidates, we encourage you to consider these responses before casting your vote on June 3rd.

Find out more about the election and how to register to vote here:

All candidate responses are available here:

CountySealColor1. Please share a memory involving a bicycle that has had a lasting effect on you (whether or not you were the one on the bicycle).

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

I was also very proud to receive the Civic Leadership Award from the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition in 2006.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes I do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  1. So, she’d only support bike lanes and/or protected bike lanes if they don’t require any reduction of “lanes available to cars.” That speaks volumes. And she won’t commit to suitable funding levels for bike/ped safety. Looks like we have an old-fashioned car-centric politician here. So disappointing. I thought she was supposed to be progressive.

  2. […] Shiela Kuehl and all she has accomplished at the state level, I’m troubled by her responses to the LACBC’s candidate survey earlier this year. Especially this one, in response to a question about whether she would support […]

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