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.

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