2016 Election: Sarah Saez on Issues that Matter to BikeSD Supporters in District 9

Our board sent questionaires to candidates running for city council and we will be posting their responses here. Sarah Saez is running to replace Councilmember Marti Emerald who currently represents District 9.Our endorsements will be posted later today.

Sarah-Speech
Sarah Saez. Photo via Saez's website.

1) How do you envision the growth of cycling in San Diego – be it for transportation, recreation, or otherwise? Do you see cycling as a community builder?

I would like to see the growth of cycling in different aspects of people’s lives. In my community of District 9 we have a lot of health issues so biking for health would be really important. District 9, especially City Heights and other neighborhoods south of El Cajon Blvd., are low ­income communities where the residents often have two to three jobs just to get by. What I would also like to see is more high quality jobs in our neighborhoods so that one, residents can commute to work on their bikes daily and two, residents can have enough time from work to bike themselves and with their families recreationally. Idealy residents will live and work closeby. If not I would like to see infrastructure that’s built to facilitate longer commutes that is safe and convenient for riders. I think Bike San Diego’s vision of making San Diego one of the top 15 cities for biking can be realized if we take a integrative and community based approach to growing cycling in San Diego.

2) What steps must be taken to ensure the success of San Diego’s “Vision Zero” goals – and what action will you take to deliver on D9 “VZ” corridors, El Cajon Blvd and University Avenue?

Ensuring that Vision Zero is implemented is specifically included on my platform. Four of the most dangerous corridors run through District 9, University Avenue, El Cajon Blvd, Euclid and Imperial Avenue. The steps that must be taken to ensure that Vision Zero is a success is first money allocated in the budget to provide the needed infrastructure to fix dangerous intersections and build new bike lanes, road diets, crosswalks and other public improvements to lower speeding. We also need funding for training both the public and public safety personnel. I will take action not only on budget allocation but also by ensuring that the Vision Zero committee is set up to guide the process including that the Pedestrian Master Plan is updated adequately and other policies are amended and adopted accordingly.

3) Do you support the Kensington-Talmadge Community Planning Group desire to add a right-turn lane on El Cajon Blvd at Fairmont Ave, eliminating a planned traffic calming feature (sidewalk bulb-out)? Do you desire to see more or less traffic calming along highly traveled D9 corridors?

I would like to see more traffic calming along highly traveled D9 corridors since it results  in increased safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. It’s unfortunate the the right turn lane that the Kensington­-Talmadge Community Planning Group wants would prevent the sidewalk bulb­out from happening. I do not support the lane and hope the planning group is able to consult with the organizations who had already planned for the traffic calming feature to be installed.

4) Will you support more road-diets like that on Fairmont Avenue in City Heights? Is ‘Level-of-Service’ a satisfactory traffic measure when weighing improvements in neighborhood safety?

Yes I support road-diets on Farimount Avenue which is  a block away from my house. Level­of­Service is not a satisfactory traffic measure when weighing improvements in neighborhood safety. I support the statewide amendments to Level of Service, SB743, as outline in Vision Zero.

5) Given the myriad of competing interests in D9 neighborhoods, how will you handle individuals and groups, alike, whose interests and actions run counter to the City’s transportation and street design goals as laid out in the Climate Action Plan, and Vision Zero initiative?

As part of my Masters degree I received training in consensus organizing which enables stakeholders to come together to find and develop areas of mutual self interest. It doesn’t always result in consensus but there are areas where, through dialog, a common understanding can be met. When it can not be met it has to be understood that the two plans that have been adopted by the City to both reduce the effects of climate change and road fatalities, take priority but we have to make sure that one, there is broad public support for these plans so that it is easier to effectively organize when it comes to a competing interest that is blocking implementation. We have to make sure that our communities are educated and invested and ready to advocate for implementation of these plans.

6) Multiple studies have shown that increased bicycle accessibility, is good for local businesses – and that this even holds true when on-street parking is reduced. How can the information gap between advocates and businesses be bridged to advance our common interests of safe, thriving neighborhoods? Further, at which point do you say to those who refuse to engage as responsible and reasonable partners in the community’s progress, that the cycle of arguments must end so we may act for the common good?

It sounds straightforward but the best way to bridge the information gap between advocates and businesses is to provide the information, the data, that shows that bike accessibility will be good for their businesses. I’m not sure if it’s already been done already, but I would create a marketing pitch or presentation that outlines the data behind it and examples in other parts of San Diego or cities that have been successful.

Just like in my last answer, I believe that at first we should always try to come to consensus. When consensus organizing fails and consensus can not be reached is the point when you say that the arguments must end and you do what you can to build popular support in the community to implement the changes they want to see in their neighborhood. This is more of a Saul Alinsky method of community organizing where after trying to work within the system but when that doesn’t work, to take radical change against the status quo, you must have a mass of people not necessarily on the front lines of the fight (people are busy) but at least aware and in favor of change. I would like to do what I can to help diversity across race, gender and class lines and build the bike movement so that’s possible.

7) What (if any) plans and decisions, with respect to increasing cycling accessibility, have been made in the past by government agencies and elected officials that you disagree with? Did you make public that disagreement? And do you see an opportunity, if elected, to reverse it?

The most recent example I have spoken out publically about has been regarding 54th  street safety improvements in City Heights that the community has been asking for many years but have never been prioritized. They’re finally being done but after the loss of lives. Another decision that has been made that I disagreed with and have been vocal about is the SANDAG Regional Transportation Plan that helps to increase freeways while putting off real progress for transit, bike and pedestrian infrastructure for 35 years.

8) Will you support the implementation of the 2011 San Diego Bicycle Master Plan Update, including budgetary requirements for its completion and success?

Absolutely.

9) If you have one, share a favorite cycling memory – and let us know how it shapes your desire to see safe streets in San Diego for all residents, across generations?

It’s not a favorite cycling memory but it does shape my desire to see safe streets and it’s the fact that as a resident of City Heights I do not feel safe riding my bike down the streets around me, mostly University and El Cajon Blvd. I’m lucky enough to live a few blocks from where I work and can bike and walk there through Fairmount Avenue or 43rd but otherwise I don’t feel safe. That’s not acceptable. I want to make sure that everyone feels safe riding their bikes in our district, most importantly our children and will do everything I can to make that happen.

10) Finally – If elected, will you commit to meeting with BikeSD representatives on a regular basis to continue the dialog around improving all D9 neighborhoods, and making San Diego the world’s greatest city for cycling?

Absolutely! You’re the experts. My passion has been around poverty alleviation and the working poor but I care very much about cycling as these two causes intersect. I look forward to working to make San Diego the world’s greatest city for cycling and I will depend on everything BikeSD brings to help us get there.

 


2016 Election: Georgette Gomez on Issues that Matter to BikeSD Supporters in District 9

Our board sent questionaires to candidates running for city council and we will be posting their responses here. Georgette Gomez is running to replace Councilmember Marti Emerald who currently represents District 9.Our endorsements will be posted tomorrow, Friday.

Georgette Gomez.  Photo via Gomez's website.
Georgette Gomez. Photo via Gomez's website.

1) How do you envision the growth of cycling in San Diego – be it for transportation, recreation, or otherwise? Do you see cycling as a community builder?

Cycling is a critical mode of transportation that takes cars off the road, keeps the environment clean, and increases mobility for those who don’t have the means or ability to drive. I strongly believe that cycling helps foster vibrant communities where people stay healthy, enjoy recreational time, and support local businesses.

2) What steps must be taken to ensure the success of San Diego’s “Vision Zero” goals – and what action will you take to deliver on D9 “VZ” corridors, El Cajon Blvd and University Avenue?

In order to achieve these critical goals I would implement a three pillar approach: Build community support, identify pilot projects, and identify implementation funding.

3) Do you support the Kensington-Talmadge Community Planning Group desire to add a right-turn lane on El Cajon Blvd at Fairmont Ave, eliminating a planned traffic calming feature (sidewalk bulb-out)? Do you desire to see more or less traffic calming along highly traveled D9 corridors?

I do not support the elimination of the sidewalk bulb-out feature on El Cajon Blvd at Fairmont Ave. It is critical to improve our roads for all users, not just vehicles. Corridors like the El Cajon & Fairmount are highly trafficked by residents and we need to prioritize supporting active modes of transportation like biking and walking by our residents in a safe and secure manner. On the Council, I will work to implement more traffic calming measures that promote our residents moving about the neighborhoods without their cars.

4) Will you support more road-diets like that on Fairmont Avenue in City Heights? Is ‘Level-of-Service’ a satisfactory traffic measure when weighing improvements in neighborhood safety?

Yes, but it is also critical that the City prioritizes real improvements to our public transportation system so that it is efficient and attractive to users. Investing in a world class public transit system is the best long term solution for reducing traffic and driving in San Diego.

5) Given the myriad of competing interests in D9 neighborhoods, how will you handle individuals and groups, alike, whose interests and actions run counter to the City’s transportation and street design goals as laid out in the Climate Action Plan, and Vision Zero initiative?

On the City Council, I will ensure the district is meeting its goals to reduce climate impacts. But in order to do this there needs to be a broad conversation within the district that includes all stakeholders, especially underserved communities. There is common ground on these issues, and I will work hard to move forward with the input from all stakeholders. In the end, I will make sure we implement the plan, even when it is not the popular thing to do, and I will guarantee that all stakeholders are engaged and informed about the implementation process.

6) Multiple studies have shown that increased bicycle accessibility, is good for local businesses – and that this even holds true when on-street parking is reduced. How can the information gap between advocates and businesses be bridged to advance our common interests of safe, thriving neighborhoods? Further, at which point do you say to those who refuse to engage as responsible and reasonable partners in the community’s progress, that the cycle of arguments must end so we may act for the common good?

One thing is clear for me and that is that the same old narrative in San Diego cannot continue. I’m running to shake up City Hall. That includes changing how we plan our neighborhoods so that low income communities and working people don’t bear the brunt of the harmful effects of pollution and climate change. When we do make planning decisions, it can’t just be developers and special interests with the final say. I’ve fought for planning changes to build healthier, safer neighborhoods my entire career. On the City Council, I’ll make sure ordinary people and residents have a bigger voice in the decisions that affect their lives. All sides, including businesses, have a right to voice an opinion on City decisions, but nobody has a right to drown out others.

7) What (if any) plans and decisions, with respect to increasing cycling accessibility, have been made in the past by government agencies and elected officials that you disagree with? Did you make public that disagreement? And do you see an opportunity, if elected, to reverse it?

I've been active since the start on the design and implementation of the Mid City Bike Corridor. I've worked with residents to ensure their input is taken into account and I’ve advocated to ensure the streets selected for improvements reflect the community's needs. Yet the biggest challenge remains City Hall’s refusal to fully fund this vital project. On the Council, I’ll fight for a fair amount of funding for important projects like the Mid City Bike Corridor and other improvement in our dense, urban communities.

I'm going to fight to ensure that the City invests in improving Active Transportation projects, especially in communities that have high rates of pedestrian and biking casualties. I’ll also focus on implementation by ensuring that the work of our Street Engineers and Planning Department is aligned with policies and zoning that promotes biking and walking. We need better and bolder designs that promote walking and biking, are good for the environment, promote community safety, and strengthen the local economy.

I am also going to advocate that our City take a strong position in favor of an Active Transportation policy at SANDAG. The City of San Diego needs to exert more influence on SANDAG’s decisions to promote transit.

8) Will you support the implementation of the 2011 San Diego Bicycle Master Plan Update, including budgetary requirements for its completion and success?

Yes.

9) If you have one, share a favorite cycling memory – and let us know how it shapes your desire to see safe streets in San Diego for all residents, across generations?

I’ve been a strong advocate for redesigning our streets to improve Active Transportation in our Urban Core, especially in our historically underserved communities. Last year EHC hosted a City Heights Bike ride. This ride was a multicultural and multigenerational ride that promoted the importance of riding and bike-friendly urban planning for Orange Avenue. Thinking of that amazing diverse group riding together in support of community improvements still makes me smile.

10) Finally – If elected, will you commit to meeting with BikeSD representatives on a regular basis to continue the dialog around improving all D9 neighborhoods, and making San Diego the world’s greatest city for cycling?

Yes.

BikeSD Inc, is a 501(c)(4) California corporation. Our Endorsement Policy is available for you to read here. Please consider becoming a member or renewing your support so that we can elect strong leaders that will implement our vision in office.

 


2016 Election: Ricardo Flores on Issues that Matter to BikeSD Supporters in District 9

Our board sent questionaires to candidates running for city council and we will be posting their responses here. Ricardo Flores is running to replace Councilmember Marti Emerald who currently represents District 9.Our endorsements will be posted tomorrow, Friday.

Ricardo Flores. Photo via Flores' website.
Ricardo Flores. Photo via Flores' website.

1) How do you envision the growth of cycling in San Diego - be it for transportation, recreation, or otherwise? Do you see cycling as a community builder?

As a candidate for office I have had the incredible opportunity to walk all of the neighborhoods of District 9.  Having this experience has enhanced my connection to my community.  To me riding a bike is similar, albeit more efficient.  There are also health and environmental benefits as well, but for me it’s the experience of being immersed, present, and one with my community that is greatly enhanced by riding a bike.  If we plan correctly today, decades from now, riding a bike should be an essential option for commuting in our neighborhoods.

2) What steps must be taken to ensure the success of San Diego’s “Vision Zero” goals - and what action will you take to deliver on D9 “VZ” corridors, El Cajon Blvd and University Avenue?

First the plan needs to completed.  As the Councilmember for District 9 my job would then be to work with the community and bike advocates to prioritize each project in the district and go after funding to complete them.  As we identify money for each project we also need to “project manage” them until completion.

3) Do you support the Kensington-Talmadge Community Planning Group desire to add a right-turn lane on El Cajon Blvd at Fairmont Ave, eliminating a planned traffic calming feature (sidewalk bulb-out)? Do you desire to see more or less traffic calming along highly traveled D9 corridors?

Let me take this question in reverse. As envisioned in Vision Zero and adopted by the Council, I strongly support more traffic calming measures on highly traveled District 9  corridors.  As to the first question, the construction of a right-turn lane on El Cajon Boulevard and Fairmount Avenue is a major priority for the Kensington-Talmadge Community Planning Group (KTCPG).  I feel strongly that local government works best when it works with residents to accomplish their goals.  I have worked with the KTCPG on this issue and it is my understanding that City staff agrees with the idea.  I am unaware
of the additions of a bulb-out at this location as referenced in the question.  I would be very interested to discuss this further with representatives of BikeSD to learn more about this.

4) Will you support more road-diets like that on Fairmont Avenue in City Heights? Is ‘Level-of-Service’ a satisfactory traffic measure when weighing improvements in neighborhood safety?

Yes.  I absolutely believe the term “Level-of-Service” should be expanded to include walking, bicycling, and public transportation.

5) Given the myriad of competing interests in D9 neighborhoods, how will you handle individuals and groups, alike, whose interests and actions run counter to the City’s transportation and street design goals as laid out in the Climate Action Plan, and Vision Zero initiative?

I have already had experience doing this while serving as District 9’s Chief of Staff.  The College Area Community Council (CCAC) did not support bike lanes on College Avenue, just North of Montezuma.  I brought together City engineers, bike advocates, and members of the CCAC to determine if a compromise could be reached.  Unfortunately, this was not possible.  The goal of the CCAC was to add an additional car lane but that was physically impossible, so the bike lane will ultimately be built.  This is an example of how I’ll work with groups that at times have competing priorities. The goal is to seek a solution for all parties but in the end a decision must be made that will follow community plans and other City adopted policy positions.

6) Multiple studies have shown that increased bicycle accessibility, is good for local businesses - and that this even holds true when on-street parking is reduced. How can the information gap between advocates and businesses be bridged to advance our common interests of safe, thriving neighborhoods? Further, at which point do you say to those who refuse to engage as responsible and reasonable partners in the community’s progress, that the cycle of arguments must end so we may act for the common good?

Similar to question 5 you need to work with all of the different interested parties to find a solution. Ultimately if a solution with all the interested parties cannot be reached then a decision should be made with guidance from the current community plans and policy plans like Vision Zero and the Climate Action Plan.

7) What (if any) plans and decisions, with respect to increasing cycling accessibility, have been made in the past by government agencies and elected officials that you disagree with? Did you make public that disagreement? And do you see an opportunity, if elected, to reverse it?

That’s a difficult question since I don’t really know all of the community and political dynamics at play with regard to past cycling decisions in San Diego.  That said I am proud of the decision our office reached with regarding to the bike lanes on College Avenue.  I felt they were fair and we were able to preserve our strong relationship with the community even though we came to different conclusion.

8) Will you support the implementation of the 2011 San Diego Bicycle Master Plan Update, including budgetary requirements for its completion and success?

Yes.

9) If you have one, share a favorite cycling memory - and let us know how it shapes your desire to see safe streets in San Diego for all residents, across generations?

As a child my dad took me to Qualcomm (at the time, Jack Murphy) Stadium to learn how to ride a bike without training wheels.  I remember the exhilaration of riding on two wheels and the freedom of space in the empty parking lot.

10) Finally - If elected, will you commit to meeting with BikeSD representatives on a regular basis to continue the dialog around improving all D9 neighborhoods, and making San Diego the world’s greatest city for cycling?

Yes, absolutely.

BikeSD Inc, is a 501(c)(4) California corporation. Our Endorsement Policy is available for you to read here. Please consider becoming a member or renewing your support so that we can elect strong leaders that will implement our vision in office.


2016 Election: Louis Rodolico on Issues that Matter to BikeSD Supporters in District 1

Our board sent questionaires to candidates running for city council and we will be posting their responses here. Louis Rodolico is running to replace termed out Councilmember Sherri Lightner who currently represents District 1.Our endorsements will be posted tomorrow, Friday.

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Louis Rodolico. Photo via Rodolico's website.

1) How do you envision the growth of cycling in San Diego – be it for transportation, recreation, or otherwise?

Bikes should be a big part of the mix,  I would work for more dedicated overhead bike lanes and have tried to get developers on board, as a councilman I would have more clout to make that happen.

2) What steps must be taken to ensure the success of San Diego’s “Vision Zero” goals?

In Amsterdam bikes share the pedestrian sidewalks. I am not comfortable riding a bike on the same road with cars and would like to see that change.

3) Given the myriad of competing interests in D1 neighborhoods, how will you handle individuals and groups, alike, whose interests and actions run counter to the City’s transportation and street design goals as laid out in the Climate Action Plan, and Vision Zero initiative?

For example building the Regents Road Bridge with bike lanes would be a good start. That would also allow us to put the bike lanes back that we took away to increase car trips on the Genesee corridor.

4) Multiple studies have shown that increased bicycle accessibility, is good for local businesses – and that this even holds true when on-street parking is reduced. How can the information gap between advocates and businesses be bridged to advance our common interests of safe, thriving neighborhoods? Further, at which point do you say to those who refuse to engage as responsible and reasonable partners in the community’s progress, that the cycle of arguments must end so we may act for the common good?

Further, at which point do you say to those who refuse to engage as responsible and reasonable partners in the community’s progress, that the cycle of arguments must end so we may act for the common good? As a councilman I will champion education thru media exposure.

5) What (if any) plans and decisions, with respect to increasing cycling accessibility, have been made in the past by government agencies and elected officials that you disagree with? Did you make public that disagreement? And do you see an opportunity, if elected, to reverse it?

See 8.

6) Will you support the implementation of the 2011 San  Diego Bicycle Master Plan Update, including    budgetary requirements for its completion and success?

Yes

7) If you have one, share a favorite cycling memory – and let us know how it shapes your desire to see safe streets in San Diego for all residents, across generations?

[No response provided]

8) Finally – If elected, will you commit to meeting with BikeSD representatives on a regular basis to continue the dialog around improving all D1 neighborhoods, and making San Diego the world’s greatest city for cycling?

I have recently gone to some SANDAG meetings and have observed that bike projects keep being put out further into the future. I intend to get involved in the Transportation committee and would make this a priority


2016 Election: Kyle Heiskala on Issues that Matter to BikeSD Supporters in District 1

Our board sent questionaires to candidates running for city council and we will be posting their responses here. Kyle Heiskala is running to replace termed out Councilmember Sherri Lightner who currently represents District 1.

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Kyle Heiskala. Photo via Heiskala's website

1) How do you envision the growth of cycling in San Diego – be it for transportation, recreation, or otherwise?

I envision the growth of cycling as a form of transportation for commuting and everyday small trips in addition to recreation. Cycling is a community builder because going through your neighborhood on a bike is a group activity that allows for a more direct interaction with your friends, neighbors and local businesses. We need more protected bike lanes so that the majority of people that do not currently feel comfortable riding a bike can start to feel safe enough to make a trip with their family to the grocery store or the park. I have demonstrated multi-million dollar bike projects that I implemented at UCSD can make cycling an option for more people.

2) What steps must be taken to ensure the success of San Diego’s “Vision Zero” goals?

Resources need to be allocated to the Vision Zero Task Force. The City’s Bicycle Master Plan and Strategic Implementation Plan need to be prioritized and funded. Plans aren't enough. We need projects in the ground now! Enforcement and improved bike facilities need to be coordinated in order to be successful. There are certain policies that should be reevaluated, like the way that speed limits are increased, and the Level of Service as a method of preventing the narrowing of car lanes and parking reductions. So much can be done to ensure that you can travel from your home to any destination on foot or by bike without fear of getting hit by a car. Educational campaigns would also be key to Vision Zero being a success. The top most dangerous corridors would clearly be prioritized first.

3) Given the myriad of competing interests in D1 neighborhoods, how will you handle individuals and groups, alike, whose interests and actions run counter to the City’s transportation and street design goals as laid out in the Climate Action Plan, and Vision Zero initiative?

At the end of the day, I would take everyone’s concerns and interests into consideration but I believe that with a little out of the box thinking, there is a creative solution that could address the concerns that counter the City’s goals. I would always uphold the goals of the Climate Action Plan. For example, if a group of businesses in La Jolla opposed a bike plan due to the removal of parking. I would work to implement demand responsive parking systems, find new, more efficient parking configurations that would allow for new bike facilities. (protected lanes!).

4) Multiple studies have shown that increased bicycle accessibility, is good for local businesses – and that this even holds true when on-street parking is reduced. How can the information gap between advocates and businesses be bridged to advance our common interests of safe, thriving neighborhoods? Further, at which point do you say to those who refuse to engage as responsible and reasonable partners in the community’s progress, that the cycle of arguments must end so we may act for the common good?

I have a dream, that with years of hard work to improve our mobility options that owning a car in order to get around San Diego wouldn’t be a necessity. I have always worked towards this vision of the future and I understand all the components that are needed in order to make it work. I would work with those in District 1 that don’t share my vision and help gain mutual understanding. I am dedicated to this cause and through my passion I want others to share in my vision for San Diego. It will require changes, but in the end it would lead to a better quality of life for everyone.

5) What (if any) plans and decisions, with respect to increasing cycling accessibility, have been made in the past by government agencies and elected officials that you disagree with? Did you make public that disagreement? And do you see an opportunity, if elected, to reverse it?

I have expressed disappointment in the ongoing failures of SANDAG to properly implement bicycle projects. I have stated my opinions on this publicly and I am constantly working on getting better regional bike planning to be improved. If elected, I would be very eager to serve on the SANDAG Board or at a minimum work directly with SANDAG to get the best outcomes possible. The Coastal Rail Trail is an excellent example of this!

6) Will you support the implementation of the 2011 San  Diego Bicycle Master Plan Update, including    budgetary requirements for its completion and success?

Yes, absolutely. It would be a priority of mine. For decades, the San Diego region has invested heavily in freeway infrastructure. It is time to heavily invest in alternatives to car travel, like bicycle facilities. As former appointed member of the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, I helped chair a subcommittee to create a Strategic Implementation Plan for the Bike Master Plan. I volunteered in the position Saturday mornings! If that isn’t dedication, I don’t know what is!

7) If you have one, share a favorite cycling memory – and let us know how it shapes your desire to see safe streets in San Diego for all residents, across generations?

The first time I biked to Ocean Beach along the San Diego River, I saw the cars speed by on the freeway. I was able to appreciate the birds and the river and the sunset while I slowly worked my way towards the ocean. I could feel the wind on my face and I experienced my environment as opposed to everyone speeding along not even knowing what they were missing. I want everyone to be able to slow down and enjoy the nature along a bike path. Everyone would be happier!

8) Finally – If elected, will you commit to meeting with BikeSD representatives on a regular basis to continue the dialog around improving all D1 neighborhoods, and making San Diego the world’s greatest city for cycling?

Absolutely!