Cuestionario del Concejo Municipal del Distrito 5 2020: Isaac Wang

What are your top 3 priorities for improving the biking experience in District 5 for residents and families?

1. Mobility hubs connected by bus-only lanes (Biking serves as the last mile solution in a sprawled district)

I do believe biking should be the dominant mode of transportation to solve the last mile problem for transit stations (mobility hubs). Given the location of District 5 and it’s distance from our major job centers (La Jolla, Kearny Mesa, and Downtown), I don’t believe biking can be the near term solution for travel to jobs.

I’ll discuss bike superhighways in point #2. But I do think we can reduce most of the 5-10 minute trips (local services, parks, libraries) by switching to bike.

We should be creating Class IV separated bikeways in the minor arterials and collector roads (Class III and Class IV road classifications).
Doing this would make traveling to transit stations much more feasible by bike. We also need to ensure bike storage at all transit stations.

With that being said, City Council makes decisions for entire city, not just their own district.
In denser districts like 3 + 9 + 7, we should take away lanes from cars and create much more extensive networks of Class IV bikeways in the arterials and collectors and even the neighborhood roads.

I will unequivocally vote yes on any protected bike lane or separated bikeway, even if it makes the city council member in that respective district unhappy. Don’t expect an urbanist in a blue city council district. Not everyone gets it.

2. Bike Superhighways (aka Bike Freeways)

I believe we need bike superhighways as a major transit priority and in the pipeline of projects.
We’re aware of how long these projects can take, and how terrible CalTrans is.
These projects needed to have been in the pipeline 20 years ago, but here we are.

I’m going to aggressively push for Bike Superhighways like no previous Councilmember ever has.
This doesn’t need any road widening! We need to take lanes away from cars, reallocate them to bicycles, and create physical separators.
These super highways need to connect both mobility hubs + dense residential areas to dense job centers.
In my ideal configuration, bike superhighways (if using highway lanes reallocated from cars) ought to be buffered by a physical barrier and a bus-only lane. Get me as far away from a car as possible.

||||| Travel Lanes ||||| Bus-only Lane ||||| Bike Superhighway |||||

Exit lanes might be a little tricky, but we’d need some bike traffic lights and use of shoulders.

There’s additional places where I’d like to see a ban on cars and a comprehensive bikeway network: Gaslamp, Little Italy, Park Blvd, Liberty Station, Point Loma

3. Creating disincentives for driving

Contrary to many elected officials and candidates who are cautious with their language to not upset drivers, I do believe we need a war on cars.
I’m very vocal about the war on cars. If we don’t reduce GHG emissions, our planet is going to suffer catastrophic consequences. This is scientific consensus.
We need to ensure there is no more free parking. We need congestion pricing. We need to reduce lanes. We need to aggressively shrink the footprint of cement in our cities.
We need an aggressive policy to convert parking lots and roads into something else. I believe the term is “Street Vacations”.

Question 2:  San Diego’s Bicycle Master Plan needs updating and projects need prioritizing in order to create a complete bicycle network. A large number of street resurfacing projects need to be restriped with bicycle infrastructure. How would you propose to fund the full build-out of the bicycle network needed to achieve the Vision Zero goals and meet the Climate Action Plan mode share targets?

Answer: Any way possible
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
If we can find hundreds of millions for a stadium or convention center, we can find a way for anything.
It’s rarely a matter of not enough money, it’s a matter of priorities.

If I can re-divert funds from car infrastructure, I will.
If I have to use money from capital improvement funds.
If I have use money from the gas tax, I will.
If I have to raise taxes through a ballot measure, I will.
If I have to sell lottery tickets to create funds for bicycle infrastructure, I will.

Question 3: Transportation is the largest source of San Diego’s greenhouse gas emissions (55%). The City’s Climate Action Plan bicycle mode share goals are 6% of commuter trips by 2020 and 18% by 2035, from about 1% today. What steps will you take to make sure these goals are met or exceeded?

I think those goals are terrible and underwhelming.
The city with the best weather ought to have 25% cycling within 10 years, and 50% within 20 years.
This is doable, but you have to DESIGN for it and fight for it. I outlined in my top 3 priorities how to do it.
I think every city council staff needs an urban planner / designer on the team.

If you really wanted to increase mode-share, you have to create disincentives for driving as I mentioned in #3 above.
Every able-bodied City or County employee should be required to commute by transit or bike or walking. Or get rid of parking garages for city and county.
That will dramatically increase the sense of urgency to improve infrastructure for cycling and bus.
I will aggressively push for disincentives for driving. And I KNOW you know I will.

4) Safe bike lanes often face opposition due to slower road speeds or reduced street parking. How would you work with the community to address concerns without compromising safety or delaying bike infrastructure in the name of consensus?

We can significantly increase parking in a neighborhood by using angled parking instead of parallel. It gets a road diet in there and automatically serves as a traffic calming measure.
Slower road speeds is the point. I want it slower, because cars kill 30,000 people a year.

If they complain about a loss of parking, pair it with enough angled parking in nearby streets to compensate. If you have to walk a little, deal with it.
We may have to add some drop off zones for disabled folks; that’s always a legitimate concern.
But if you’re able bodied and can walk, you get zero sympathy from me.

Question 5: Please share a memorable experience(s) you have of bicycling.

Vienna, Austria
I rode down a mountain and cycled along a river surrounded by restaurants and public orchestras and people enjoying public spaces.
Do I want America to look like Europe? Hell yes.

There is nothing edifying about designing our cities for cars and having our cities look like cement jungles with gigantic billboards and strip malls.
Cities are best enjoyed and explored by bike. You can see much more than walking, but not have to be in a stupid car.
Urban design is key to all of this. Support a city council member who gets it.