Candidate campaign page: http://www.vote4meghan.com/
Incumbent Culver City Council Member and former Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells has a superb record of leadership in making Culver City streets safer for everyone. From her early work in co-founding the Culver City Bicycle Coalition, to developing a Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan for the City, to bringing CicLAvia to Culver City, and her depth of experience as a bike commuter; there is nobody who has worked harder to make Culver City a better place for people who bike or walk. Her response to our questionnaire displays a deep knowledge of the issues the City faces in implementing Complete Streets and articulates a detailed and practical vision for how to get there. In four years on the City Council, Meghan Sahli-Wells has been a consistent bike-friendly vote, a knowledgeable ambassador for bicycling, and an energetic advocate working to improve the safety and livability of Culver City streets. Residents have reaped many benefits from her outstanding work, and she deserves a chance to continue that work with another term in office.
Bike The Vote L.A. 2016 Grade: A+
(See below for full candidate questionnaire response)
1. What would an ideal transportation system for Culver City consist of? What mode options, considerations for people of different ages and abilities, and innovative features would that transportation system include?
Sahli-Wells: An ideal system in Culver City would fully embrace Complete Streets and improve transportation for everyone: children with and without accompanying adults, elderly and disabled residents, those using wheelchairs, and cyclists of all ages (8-80 rule). As Vice-Chair of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, before my election to the City Council, I helped craft the current Bike & Ped. Master Plan which mandates a Complete Streets approach. We must update and continue implementing the Plan, and:
- expand our current bus system;
- activate our TOD as a truly accessible active transportation hub;
- prioritize upgrading and keeping our roads and sidewalks in good repair;
- repaint worn crosswalks with high-visibility treatments;
- place bicycle loop detectors at all intersections;
- install protected bike lanes;
- increase bike lanes and accompany them with clear signage;
- and implement a bike share program
2. With so many people on foot and on bike killed each year while commuting in Los Angeles County, the City of Los Angeles recently adopted a “Vision Zero” policy to work towards eliminating traffic deaths in the City of L.A. by 2025. Would you support adopting Vision Zero for Culver City?
Sahli-Wells: Absolutely. When I was Mayor, I accepted USDOT’s Mayor’s Challenge for Safer People Safer Streets, and more recently joined SCAG’s efforts to improve traffic safety as a spokesperson for their Go Human Campaign. I’ve learned that California has the nation’s highest number of fatalities involving people walking and bicycling, and traffic safety is one of the top causes of injury and death in the SCAG region. This is unacceptable. Cities have the power to change this horrifying trend, because we are in charge of designing our streets. In European countries, such as Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, where Vision Zero has been in place for many years, traffic speed has been significantly reduced, streets have been engineered for all road users, and countless lives have been saved. Culver City should adopt a Vision Zero policy and embrace this simple premise: no life should be lost in a traffic accident.
3. Culver City is considering implementing protected bike lanes – bike lanes separated from vehicles by a physical barrier – in two key locations: 1) on National Blvd to close the gap between the two halves of the Expo Bike Path that extend to USC/Expo Park to the East and Santa Monica to the West, and 2) on Washington Blvd connecting the Expo Line Culver City station to Downtown Culver City. Do you support these projects, which may require a dedication of developer land and/or a reduction of on-street car parking spaces?
Sahli-Wells: Yes, I support these important safety improvements, and have consistently voted in favor of them. As a cycling advocate and resident who uses a bicycle as my primary mode of transportation, I have firsthand experience travelling to and from the Expo line using these two boulevards; it is clear to me that protected lanes would provide safe access to the station and are long overdue.
4. Would you support bringing a bike share system to Culver City, and if so, what will you do to expedite its installation?
Sahli-Wells: Absolutely. In fact, in the last budget cycle, I approved funding for a bike share feasibility study, which will help Culver City find the right system (CycleHop / BTS), the right locations and funding opportunities. The current Council has given clear direction to City Staff that we will pursue bike share in Culver City. Bike sharing systems have been successful in the United States in cities such as DC, New York, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Portland and now, Santa Monica. On a personal note, I lived in Paris when Velib was introduced, and frequently used it there. It will be a marvelous addition to the transportation options Culver City enjoys.
5. The City Council recently voted to prioritize vehicular travel through Culver City over providing pedestrian access for local residents to businesses and Culver City Park. Do you support the removal of crosswalks at Duquesne & Jefferson and Summertime Lane/Jordan Way & Jefferson?
Sahli-Wells: As a current member of the Culver City Council, I voted against the removal of these two crosswalks. There are better ways of improving traffic flow without reducing safe crossing zones for pedestrians. During the vote, I made it clear that we should focus on reducing vehicle speed and not on increasing vehicle throughput.
6. Do you presently bike in Culver City? What are your experiences, or if not, what would it take to make you feel comfortable biking on city streets?
Sahli-Wells: I bike daily in Culver City and beyond. My primary vehicle is a bicycle.