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Antonio Sanchez’s excellent understanding of the role that transportation takes in providing, healthy and sustainable communities is heavily informed by his expertise as an urban planner. In his response to Bike The Vote L.A., he highlighted his family’s own experience biking in the San Fernando Valley, noting both the regular harassment from motorists and the lack of cohesive bike infrastructure that is all too familiar to Angelenos who attempt travel by bike. Bike The Vote L.A. appreciates Sanchez’s commitments for equitable funding of active transportation and to improve the vehicle code’s clarity on the rights of people on bikes, which are evidence that he would make a vital supporter of safe streets in the California Assembly.

Bike The Vote L.A. 2018 Primary Grade: A-

(See below for full candidate questionnaire response)

1. The California Air Resources Board estimates that transportation accounts for 37% of California’s annual carbon emissions. What actions would you take as assemblymember to ensure that California creates a more sustainable transportation system?

As a trained urban planner, I wholeheartedly support building a sustainable transportation system because it improves the standard of living for all residents, including communities of color. The East San Fernando Valley does not score well in the air quality index. With the Interstate 5, the 101 Hollywood freeway, and local highway network passing through the district, every resident lives within three miles of a highway.

The daily traffic congestion has an adverse impact on the health of residents due to gas emissions. Because of the nexus between traffic and adverse environmental impact on residents in my district and throughout Los Angeles, I helped lead the efforts with labor and affordable housing advocates to pass Measure JJJ. This measure incentivizes Transit Oriented Development (TOD) along major public transportation hubs.

As an Assemblymember, I will prioritize additional investment in transit-­‐oriented communities, so we can ensure public transportation becomes a major platform for commuters to reduce gas emissions. I’d also continue working with affordable housing and homelessness groups to ensure transit-­‐oriented communities do not displace low-­‐income Californians or centers for homeless services.

Moreover, although we are an extremely innovative state, most of our vulnerable communities often don’t have affordable access to the clean tech innovation that is helping to drive our economy and fight climate change. I know that AD39 has not received the same amount of monetary benefit and incentives as other more affluent assembly district and therefore still bears a lot of the burden caused by pollution. This must change. I will advocate to increase the amount of Cap-­‐and-­‐Trade dollars invested in AD39, particularly in our disadvantaged and low-­‐income neighborhoods.

2. Cap & trade funds offer a unique opportunity to prioritize sustainable transportation, particularly in low-income neighborhoods negatively affected by pollution caused by cars. Do you support dedicating a portion of cap and trade funds towards the Active Transportation Program to help fund better pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure?

Yes, I would support dedicating a portion of cap and trade funds towards the Active Transportation Program. Even though the City of LA has built 4,821 bike lane miles, I know that it is not enough. Cyclist continue to get into accidents and suffer injuries. There have been multi­‐million dollar settlements paid out by the city to cyclists—millions of dollars that could have been invested in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure while creating safe streets for our residents. As an Assemblymember, I would actively find ways to achieve safe biking and walking infrastructure in our communities.

3. In Los Angeles, low-income communities of color are disproportionately burdened by the impacts of streets designed primarily for cars, without receiving proportional funding for their mobility modes like walking, biking, and public transit. Would you support legislation to add a ‘complete streets’ policy to SB 1, California’s newly augmented gas tax, to require all street and highway projects to incorporate the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists and transit-dependent communities?

Yes, I will support. As a teenager, I used to bike around my neighborhood and learned to map out and avoid the dangerous potholes. As a graduate student at UCLA, I used to commute on my bicycle from the San Fernando Valley to UCLA. I learned that commuting on my bicycle would either take the same amount of time or less than driving my automobile. Although not as frequent because of my campaign, my wife, daughter and I, are avid cyclists not just for exercise, but also as a form of transportation. We cycle to the grocery store, the park, and to dinner. We must traverse through unrepaired roads to get to the bike lanes, which in some cases are also in disrepair. It’s an issue that is important to me. Our communities deserve walk-­‐able and bike-­‐able streets. We need to ramp up efforts to prioritize sustainable transportation at the state level.

4. California law regarding the position bicyclists can occupy in a traffic lane is written in a confusing manner. The typical condition – in which the rightmost lane is too narrow for a car and a bicycle to travel safely side-by-side and the bicyclist is thus allowed to use the full lane – is written as an exception rather than the default standard. As a result, despite public information campaigns such as “Every Lane Is A Bike Lane,” there is frequently confusion from the general public and even law enforcement agencies on the legality of bicyclists riding in traffic lanes on California roads. Do you support re-wording traffic law to clarify the right of people on bikes to ride to maximize their visibility and safety?

Yes. I support. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been flipped off, honked at, or purposely and dangerously tailed by an automobile close because I am riding my bicycle in a traffic lane. Sometimes it has happened when my wife, daughter, and I are riding together.

5. A recent study by the National Transportation Safety Board found that speeding was one of the most common factors in crashes, and one of the highest contributors towards fatal crashes. Despite this fact, speed limits across California are consistently raised due to a state law that sets speed limits at the 85th percentile of measured driving speeds. Do you support reform to the 85th percentile rule to give local jurisdictions the ability to set speed limits to better promote safe driving?

Yes. I would support legislation like AB 342 (D-­‐Chiu) to allow pilot programs for ASE to begin and demonstrate to Californians their effectiveness in reducing collisions and traffic fatalities. I’d also be interested in the feasibility of raised junction traffic calming that builds awareness and habits for drivers to slow down at every intersection, which are often the most dangerous places for walkers and cyclists.

6. California’s ongoing housing crisis challenges cities and communities to provide solutions towards meeting California’s demand for housing. Do you support efforts at the state level to accommodate smart growth, transit-oriented development, and sustainable communities that empower residents to get around on foot, by bike, and on quality public transit? What specific policies you would pursue to promote sustainable and affordable living for Californians?

Absolutely. Along with organizations like the LA County Bicycle Coalition, I have been at the forefront of the efforts to build transit-­‐oriented-­‐development. I served in the Build Better LA Coalition, a collaborative made up of organizations with national, statewide, regional, and local expertise engaging in grassroots organizing, community economic development, affordable housing development, public health, environmental justice, and policy and legal advocacy, to pass Measure JJJ.

The measure requires low-­‐cost housing to be included in developments receiving zone changes and General Plan Amendments. It also has a local-­‐hire component to ensure jobs go to members of our communities. As Los Angeles updates its 35 Community Plans, the measure will be a tool that advocates can use to ensure the plans promote affordability in low-­‐income communities. These same requirements need to be incorporated in state legislation to help ensure such construction serves the needs of the communities.