2020 City Council Questionnaire – District 1: Brennan, LaCava, Moore, Puentes, Rodolico

2020 SD City Council D1 candidate questionnaire

Candidate: Aaron Brennan —

1) What are your top 3 priorities for improving the biking experience in District 1 for residents and families?

The entire city needs to be made more bike friendly. That said, I would like to identify main bike transit routes, then ensure that they receive signage and markings similar to what I’ve seen in Pacific Beach on Fanuel St. Perhaps they exist somewhere in D1, but I have yet come across them. In a Vision Zero world, we would have dedicated lanes of travel for bicycles throughout the city, this is complicated to pull off in our currently car centric world, but when there’s a will there’s a way. I think particular attention should be paid to the UCSD/UTC area because of high number of students, a population that is more inclined to use bicycles as transportation.

 

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?

I guess I would need to know what the estimated cost for these changes/buildout is in order to give a better answer. Regardless, funding for City of San Diego comes from 4 major sources, Sales Tax, Property Tax, TOT (Hotel Tax on visitors) and Franchise Fees (fees charged to utility/telecommunications  providers  – Cox Cable, SDGE etc). The TOT and Sales Tax are the ones that can be changed the easiest, but even those are are difficult, as it requires a 2/3 vote of the residents of San Diego. Ultimately, we, as a city will have to figure out how to fund this because it is enforceable under CEQA as part of the City’s General Plan. That may mean “cinching the belt” on other funding needs, or “increasing revenue” ie, raising taxes somewhere. Some other cities have implemented “congestion fees” with success, perhaps we could implement one here, and use the revenue to fund GHG reduction tools delineated in the CAP.

 

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?

We have to update the Bicycle Master Plan and build out the bicycle network so that this mode of transportation is considered desirable (ie safe, convenient, practical). When we have safe, dedicated lanes of travel, that intersect with mass transit (connect to transit hubs, easy, efficient method for cyclists to bring their bike on the train/bus, secure place for cyclists to store their bikes at their destination, etc), when it become truly feasible to commute via bicycle, we will reach these CAP goals.

 

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? 

It is not possible to make everyone happy. That said, you have to make the effort to include everyone at the “table.” I think you have to hold community informational meetings and lay out why the change is necessary. Where there is the possibility of addressing concerns of those who might be opposed to a safe bike lane, you should do so, but never that the reduction of safety for the cyclists. There are many examples where members of a community were opposed to something that turned out to have little or none of the feared effects. I would point to the “roundabouts” in Bird Rock for a small local example, and banning smoking in restaurants as a large scale example. There are many cities that have implemented bike friendly changes with great success, I think you highlight those, and combined with the requirements of the CAP, I think you’ll be able to push these things through.

 

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

My “Car” was a bike (Specialized Rock Hopper Comp) for about two years while I was attending Mesa College, living at San Diego State, and lifeguarding in Ocean Beach. I can say with first hand experience we are not a very bike friendly city. The route from SDSU to OB is relatively safe, compared to trying to get from SDSU to Mesa. I dropped down Montezuma Road/Fairmount, transitioned to Camino Del Rio South, crossed the freeway at Mission City Parkway to Camino Del Rio North, headed to Friars by cutting through Fashion Valley Mall, then rode the bike path along the San Diego River (instead of being on Sea World Dr) and then crossed the Sunset Cliffs bridge to get into OB. One day on my way to work, I was in the bike lane near the Mission Valley YMCA, as I approached the driveway I saw a Mercedes preparing to exit the YMCA, they had a stop sign, the bike lane had “right of way”. Well, I slowed some, and it appeared that the driver was going to stop , but she did not, I had to lay my bike down to avoid being hit. She didn’t stop even after seeing me go down. I still get a little twinge whenever I drive past there. I have many other biking experiences, I’ve done the Solvang Century multiple times and I’ve completed two Ironman triathlons. My kids have bikes, we enjoy riding around our neighborhood. As a former firefighter (I’ve seen too many cyclist vs vehicle), and long time cyclist, as well as an environmentalist, I will advocate whole heartedly for safe bike lanes so that we can make Vision Zero a reality while helping achieve our CAP goals.

I would be proud to earn the Bike San Diego endorsement. I am happy to meet in person, just let me know!

 


Candidate:  Joe LaCava —

 

What are your top 3 priorities for improving the biking experience in District 1 for residents and families?

1. Ensure that dedicated bike lanes are pothole and rut free, bike lanes are protected from city, construction, and delivery vehicles, and maximizing restriping when streets are resurfaced.

2. Complete the Coastal Rail Trail from Pacific Beach through District 1 to Sorrento Valley (currently held up at SANDAG,) especially the segment along Gilman Drive.

3. Ensure that the City/SANDAG are moving forward with all proposed bike lanes.

 

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?  

City Hall has failed to understand the cost of the Climate Action Plan and identify the budget for full implementation. Bundling the bike network as part of other infrastructure projects (street resurfacing) is cost efficient but will not go far enough to build out the network. We need to streamline the process to move projects from concept to shovel-ready. This includes integrating SANDAG projects into the city’s capital improvement program rather than forcing them to go through the more tedious process as a private applicant. The good news is that as the city does more dedicated bike lanes the process will become more efficient. 

Despite those improvements, the bottom line is that we will need new revenue streams beyond what is provided by SANDAG, the state, and the city.

 

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?   

While the goals were aspirational, they are legally enforceable. Improving the infrastructure to make biking safer will not be enough to achieve those percentages; nevertheless, we must resolve to complete that infrastructure. I believe those percentages will be achieved only if there is an external pressure (extremely high gas prices or shortages); a financial incentive; or, as is my hope, a cultural shift. A cultural shift will require commuters to “work where they can efficiently bike from where they live;” an increasingly realistic option as work becomes more flexible and we continue to build complete neighborhoods. That cultural shift is happening now, but we still have a long way to go.

 

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 have to get in front of this conversation. Presenting the “solution” to the public before they have reached consensus that there is a “problem” leads to the difficult dialogues we see too often. We must change expectations about on-street parking. We have built a culture that fronting property owners *do* have the right to say what happens on their street; for example, requiring property owners and the planning group to have a voice in changes. We have also built a culture that retailers’ success is based on ease of customer parking. Expectation can meet reality as retailers can often validate that out- of-area customers are supporting their business and not residents who live within walking, biking, transit distance. If we do not change that equation, we will always encounter resistance and it will be difficult to ignore.

We must change both cultures if we are to implement bike infrastructure in a timely and cost-effective manner. Before we change reduce/eliminate on-street parking, we must affirm with the neighborhood that it is for the common good and that will have other benefits. Before we convert a retail street to a Complete Street, we must help businesses thrive by proving their success can be met by local customers.

 

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

One summer when our daughters were little, we booked a family camp at a UC campus. We had brought my daughter’s bike as we thought it was a good opportunity to teach our oldest how to ride her bike. That day it was my wife’s turn to teach our daughter; for me, it was a chance to spend time with our youngest. I borrowed a bike with a child’s seat in the back to tour the campus with my youngest on board. In touring the unfamiliar campus, I came to a tee intersection, not sure which way to turn. I slowed down and came to a near stop. I forgot my daughter was on board and the bike begin to tip as I lost balance. I jerked the bike to keep us from falling, gasping as I did. Righting the bike, I heard a tiny voice say, “Daddy, are you alright?” We were safe, my oldest daughter learned to ride a bike, but I will never forget the sound of that tiny voice.

 

 


Candidate:  Will Moore —

 

1) What are your top 3 priorities for improving the biking experience in District 1 for residents and families?

A) We need a network of protected bike lanes and bike paths that commuters can ride at a relaxed pace. People will not adopt biking as a way to get around town if they have to ride bicycles unprotected among or immediately exposed to high speed car lanes, as with Sharrows and Striped Lanes. 

B) We must ensure that University City Community Plan Update, which is currently being updated and will be voted on when I would be serving on the Council, provides for good bike infrastructure from protected lanes to separate trails- including building on the recent improvements in connectivity with Sorrento Valley. This neighborhood is an opportunity to implement good bike policy that will serve as an example for the city. Community input to the UC Plan update has been strongly in favor of bicycle infrastructure and we must listen to that input.

C) Integration of Cycling and Transit. This includes both ensuring that bikes are easy to carry onto busses, trolleys and trains, and more user friendly and efficient bicycle storage facilities at transit stations. For example, as a train commuter for several years, I repeatedly tried to use the bike storage at the Sorento Valley train station, called the number, went to the website, but could not get them to work for me. Using our bike infrastructure in conjunction with our transit infrastructure should not require an entirely separate life expertise. 

 

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?

A) We can align statewide transportation funding with our alternative mobility goals by redirecting wasteful road infrastructure spending to more economically efficient bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Heavy vehicles depreciate roads more quickly than lighter ones, and bicycle infrastructure is simply a cheaper way to get people around than car infrastructure. Much of our needs here can be met if we simply recognize that cycle infrastructure is a massive long term cost saving mechanism instead of an additional cost. B) Further, we can use new revenues from licensing of dockless mobility companies, most of which require bike infrastructure to function effectively. 

 

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?

A) Transportation Demand Management. Vehicle driving is subsidized in dozens of ways, including free and low-rate street parking. Other jurisdictions such as Seattle that have implemented such strategies have seen both transit ridership and bicycle ridership increase and auto trips decrease.

B) Increased housing density near job centers, with mixed use zoning and safer bike lanes.

C) More protected lanes and bicycle paths, to encourage casual riders and commuters.

 

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?

Nothing Succeeds Like Success. People in San Diego haven’t seen successful bike infrastructure because the paltry efforts we have historically made have taken the form of dangerous fake infrastructure like sharrows and striped lanes. Many people simply won’t support bike infrastructure until they are convinced it will work. And most of those won’t really be convinced until they see it.

Therefore, we should not and cannot allow opponents of good projects force us to compromise until they become bad projects. This city has had a deficit of leadership for years. One of the major reasons I’m running is to provide that leadership – not with an eye towards avoiding a hard conversation today, but with an eye towards what will make San Diego the best place to live tomorrow.

 

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

A) I did not have a car in college, and exclusively rode my bike to get around Atlanta, GA. So I know the challenges that people face when they try to navigate non-existent bicycle infrastructure in a topographically challenging city. Not only that, I understand the dangers cyclists face from hostile motorists – including one time that a motorist pulled a gun on me for riding legally in the road.

B) In 1994 I rode solo from Brussels, Belgium to Bordeaux, France over the course of eight days – on a $325 KHS Hybrid bike that is still my bike today.

C) When I first moved to San Diego, I was shocked to learn that I could not ride from Sorrento Valley to University City without riding LITERALLY ON THE FREEWAY. I am very pleased that the connectivity between these neighborhoods has been enhanced by the new separated and dedicated bike trails. As I have talked to thousands of voters during this campaign, I am gratified to frequently find people who report taking advantage of that new safe corridor.

 


Candidate:  Harid Puentes —

 

 1) What are your top 3 priorities for improving the biking experience in District 1 for residents and families?

Building Protective Lanes
Update Current Infrastructure
Bike Share Program

 

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?

We need to reprioritize city funding, find alternative revenue streams, and identify state, federal, and private opportunities to fund a complete bicycle network.

 

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?

By providing protective bicycle lanes, safety lighting, and promoting and supporting bicycle share programs San Diego can meet its bicycle goals. I support SANDAG’s 5 big moves, and I look forward to seeing a detailed plan by Hasan Ikhrata this fall when it is presented to the Board of Directors. Additionally, San Diego needs to lead by example by moving to ensure the City’s fleet and infrastructure is powered by 100% renewables.

 

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 need to educate the community about our current climate crisis, and how critically important it is that we reduce our GHG, and VMT, by presenting the community with the data that shows how getting more people to ride bikes has a positive impact on our community.

 

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

I have many fond memories that have involved bicycling over the years, when I was attending school in London bicycling was how I got around and how I got to know the city. But my most memorable experience I have had involving bicycling would have to be biking with my wife through University City to La Jolla and back home soon after learning she was pregnant with our first child.

 

 


Candidate:  Louis Rodolico  —

 

1) What are your top 3 priorities for improving the biking experience in District 1 for residents and families?

Complete our road system in University by building the Regents Road Bridge and the planned Governor to Gillman connector. Both projects with bike and pedestrian lanes. Segregate; bikes, pedestrians and cars as much as possible.

 

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 re striped 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?

SANDAG has bike projects in their plans but they keep putting these projects off. Complete our road system in University by building the Regents Road Bridge and the planned Governor to Gillman connector. Both projects with bike and pedestrian lanes.

 

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? 

The Climate Action Plan is turning out to be a talking point. Bikes are not for the wealthy so bikers have little clout in San Diego. Stop removing bike and pedestrian access. Also there is no direct route from University to La Jolla. Add a bike pedestrian link along route 52 partially through Marian Bear Park aka San Clemente Canyon. Complete Regents Road Bridge and Governor to Gillman connector with bike and pedestrian lanes.

 

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?

I would remind voters that we are talking about their families and their children using these bike lanes. Providing a barrier or distance between cars and bikes is a priority, consider pushing parking out next to car traffic and having bikes between parked cars and the pedestrian sidewalk.

 

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

Walking my dog in Rose Canyon I saw a cyclist approaching me so I moved to one side. I did not see three bikes approaching from my rear. The cyclist approaching me from the front did not slow down and damaged my shoulder when he passed, he continued on and did not stop. We need to segregate; cars, bikes and pedestrians and we need to do it as soon as possible.