Could Nathan Fletcher be San Diego’s First Bike Friendly Mayor?

The 2012 San Diego Mayoral Election is shaping up and four main contenders seem to be commanding all the attention. When I last addressed this subject there was a good bit of discussion on what the bicycling community wanted from our next Mayor.

To date, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to two of the candidates: Bob Filner and Nathan Fletcher. Both Bonnie Dumanis and Carl DeMaio don’t consider the bicycling populace as a voting demographic worth paying attention to as they have completely ignored my requests to connect with them nor do they address the bicycling as a mode of transportation issue in a substantial way in their campaign strategy. They thus neglect something that could make substantial inroads into solving some of the problems that the City of San Diego faces today.

Bob Filner has been willing to engage with the bicycling community had has made attempts to solicit ideas from the bicycling community on how he can be a worthwhile mayor for the bicycling population. However, I have yet to see how he intends to promote or encourage bicycling as a mode of transportation in his campaign strategy. Filner has been very taken by the idea of a Ciclovia happening in San Diego but as of today has not addressed what else he intends to do for the non-motorized voting contingent. As a member of the Congressional Bike Caucus, Filner does have the ability to bring a nationally recognized vision to San Diego but I am unclear on what that might be.

Nathan Fletcher - San Diego's First Bike Friendly Mayor? Photo from Fletcher's Campaign Team

Nathan Fletcher, on the other hand, as a triathlete understands the basic psychology of what it means to ride a bicycle in San Diego. Saddle experience is the best teacher on how our environment actually has been built without consideration for any other mode but the automobile. The 2050 Regional Transportation Plan can meet and exceed much of its goals if regions around the state offers options for residents to transport themselves in a way that is as convenient as an automobile and not cumbersome as bicycling sometimes can be. But besides transportation, bicycling can also serve as an economic tool, benefit public health and offer San Diegans a way to actually experience our gorgeous weather on a more regular basis.

Fletcher has been willing to engage with the bicycling community to solicit their input on how he can best make San Diego the best bicycling city in the world. To that end, I’ve organized a ride that will test the limits of Fletcher’s athletic prowess and give us all an opportunity afterward to talk to someone who could very well be San Diego’s next Mayor:

 

Nathan Fletcher Hill Climbing Challenge
When: February 18, 2012 at 7:15 AM
Where: Gelato Vero
What: Have an opportunity to talk to Mayoral Candidate Nathan Fletcher, go on a ride and climb hills with him and express what you’d like to see from a bicycle friendly mayor

The objective is to have fun and not, to engage in a tortuous exercise. Thus, it is not required to actually climb a hill as much as be a participant in the ride.

Fletcher intends to release a comprehensive bike plan policy next week along with his vision and the specific steps he will take to ensure that San Diego becomes the world’s best city for bicycling. But it is important to talk to him about what it is that San Diego is lacking so he is aware of all the issues that we face on the streets everyday.

I believe this election could be a game changer in how San Diego’s elections will be from this year onward. For too long, the bicycling demographic has simply been ignored. At this point in history we have a lot of catching up to do, and I believe we need a visionary leader to take us there. It seems like Nathan Fletcher could be that leader. I’d like to hear your thoughts in person this Saturday and I’m sure Fletcher would too.

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