Are You Bike-Friendly? CD 9 Candidate Terry Hara Responds

February 21, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Posted in Bike News, LACBC Events | 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 9 candidate Terry Hara.

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).

During my time in the LAPD, I was continuously involved in enhancing police equipment – I recall our successful efforts in enhancing police bicycles to better serve the community. Police officers were provided with heavy duty motorized bicycles to meet their needs without having to sacrifice the environmental benefits that come with having police on bicycles. This is just one of many examples of the LAPD serving the community with the environment in mind.

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?

Bicycling is friendly to the environment and beneficial to our health. Public safety and the perception of safety can be a deterrent to bicyclists if they feel their safety is at risk. Improving public safety is a key component to not only bicycling but to transit ridership. Public safety is one of my key priorities and I intend to improve upon the progress that has been made.

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 stated in the previous question, bicycling can only be beneficial to our community and believe that a Silver-level rating is something worth striving for. The city was awarded the bronze-level award for its commitment to adding some 1,600 miles of bicycle lanes. Given the commitment to bicycles lanes, we should concentrate infrastructure and resources in areas or corridors which are heavily travelled so as to build up local bicycle lane networks throughout the city.

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 2010 Bicycle Plan’s purpose is to promote and increase bicycling in the city of Los Angeles as a means of recreation and transportation. The stated goals of the plan are to increase the type and number of bicyclists, make streets a safe place to ride a bicycle and make the city of Los Angeles a friendly place to ride bicyclists.

I am very disappointed in the Bicycle Plan’s weak presence in South Los Angeles – a community that has been disenfranchised from developments such as this one time and time again. As Councilmember, I want to fight for South LA’s fair share and make sure that the residents of South LA can also benefit from the bikeway network.

Above all, safety is a big factor when it comes to bicycling. Public safety, education and proper facilities all contribute to the safety of bicyclists. Implementing these objectives should take priority.

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?

Bicycle routes and facilities must connect residential areas with retail, office, schools and libraries. Currently, there are opportunities for improvement of bicycle routes within the district. Businesses located within the district and along major avenues would benefit from planned bicycle routes along these corridors.

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 problem that needs to be dealt with proactively through education – we need to develop traffic safety curriculum for driver, pedestrians, and bicyclists. As the streets become more congested with various types of transportation, its incumbent upon all of us, not just bicyclists, to understand the hazards and understand the importance of paying attention.

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 would do everything in my power to restore the cutbacks affecting LAFD’s response due to budgetary issues. It is important that we have our emergency services at its peak deployment so that the city can retain its Class 1 service.

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 bill proposes 20-year $3 billion bond to repair the streets of potholes. This translates to homeowners paying a $24 additionally in property taxes and over $120 in the 10th year. While the drivers and bicyclists in Los Angeles stand to gain from repairs, a bond measure such as this imposes fees to all homeowners. The City of Los Angeles needs to take care of fixing roads and expanding its other public services without raising taxes. The city can achieve this by streamlining the services it provides.

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 am committed to advocating for alternative methods of transportation and want to provide the resources necessary to that end.

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?

Safety is a very important factor when riding a bicycle in the city. The City of Los Angeles is currently developing its bicycle lane network. As of yet, the bicycle routes are not fully inter-connected. This means that bicycle lanes end abruptly leaving cyclists with no choice but to ride in the car lanes. Doing so puts the safety of bicyclists at greater risk of being struck. A fully developed, inter-connected and integrated bicycle network is essential. Other factors which may enhance safety are controlled bike lane signals, separated lanes with buffers. These are some safety features that avid bicyclists in San Francisco and Portland demanded and received.

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