Below is 2017 City Council District 7 Candidate Connie Saunders’ full questionnaire response to Bike The Vote L.A.:
1. What role do you see for walking, transit, and biking in the daily lives of Angelenos, particularly those who lack access to cars and rely on these other modes as their primary way of getting around?
I see this as a viable option given bike paths that are not too close to traffic. I would like to get Trolleys into Sunland/Tujunga, Pacoima and Sylmar if elected.
2. A high percentage of people without access to cars in Northeast Los Angeles, especially immigrants, depend on bikes as a way to get to work and school, but lack safe options to commute. Additionally the prevalence of speeding on L.A. streets takes a deadly toll on those who walk and bike, including seniors and children. Mobility Plan 2035 established “safety first” as the priority in transportation decisions, and the City has since adopted the ‘Vision Zero’ program with the goal of eliminating traffic-deaths within 10 years. Do you support prioritizing the safety of Los Angeles’ most vulnerable commuters, both in CD7 on High Injury Network streets like Van Nuys Blvd and Foothill Blvd, and throughout Los Angeles, even when there may be trade-offs in terms of automotive travel time or on-street parking?
On Van Nuys the Great Streets implementation project actually made bicycle’s more dangerous on the Northbound lane by taking out the lane, creating traffic gridlock and sandwiching bicyclists between parked cars and traffic. Currently there is inclination to steel into that lane to get out of the gridlock, cutting off bicyclists. if elected I will work to change what was done on the Great Street implementation to take out the posts on Southbound side and put in a two way bike lane on that side of the road (similar to that on San Fernando Road). I will also work to get a trolley with a bike platform on front or back, so that bicyclists may trolley and/or bike through Sunland/Tujunga, Pacoima and Sylmar.
3. Los Angeles’ traffic woes are compounded by the reality that many parents and workers don’t feel safe commuting even short distances or performing school drop-offs on foot or by bike. What would you do as Councilmember to improve active transportation options around schools, public transit, and in commercial districts to provide better transportation options for CD7 residents?
I feel the trolley is a great way to traverse the district for shopping and will work for this. Fixing the bike path on Van Nuys will also (i.e. two way path between parked cars and the sidewalk will eliminate any contact with traffic).
4. Angelenos recently approved Metro’s transportation funding plan, Measure M, with an impressive mandate of support from over 71% of voters. The East San Fernando Valley Corridor project – a light rail or bus rapid transit line running along Van Nuys Blvd and San Fernando Road – is set to be one of the first projects to be funded under the Measure. How do you see this project transforming the way that people get around the 7th District; and what role do you see for first and last mile pedestrian, bike, and transit connections in the success of this transit line?
With the increase of homeless encampments on city streets, baby boomers now senior citizens with physical limitations and other concerns, I think the movement needs to emphasize a free shuttle system that takes this first and last “3 mile” down to a first and last “mile” – without complicated and expensive bus schedules to contend with. This can be done if Free trolleys (like San Fernando’s or the Glendale Bee Line) go every fifteen minutes on every major Street (in Pacoima for instance down Osborne, Van Nuys, Paxton, Glenoaks, Foothill, Laurel Canyon, San Fernando, leaving about a mile from any one of them, so that folks are not asked to walk 3 miles.) As for the Van Nuys bike path, again the north bound one needs to go and make a two way path on Southbound side. I have other ideas as well to revise the reduced parking implemented with this.
5. The Pacoima Wash Greenway is a multi-modal corridor which links parks, schools, and services to the San Gabriel Mountains. This project has been in the works since 2006 and has broad community support. A portion of this project was recently funded by a state Active Transportation Program (ATP) grant receiving the second highest score; however, the funded portion is entirely within the City of San Fernando. Will you commit to work toward extending the greenway into Sylmar, Pacoima, and eventually to the Los Angeles River as called for in the Pacoima Wash Vision Plan?
Absolutely! This is one of my key plans. I would also like to do a similar strategy in Sunland wash area, opening this up for the community in the same way.
6. Los Angeles is beginning to employ bike share as a new transportation option, but many barriers to access remain, particularly the cost of riding and the fact that a credit card is needed to use the system. Some cities have offered subsidies to low-income riders and cash payment options to address these issues. What can the City of Los Angeles do to help as many residents as possible enjoy the benefits that bike share will bring?
If we really want to convert people to not use cars, we need to think like they do in Denmark. There are more bike riders there than cars in some places. The bike share program there is free. They go to a station (hundreds exist with bikes all over the city) and put a token or coin in (This token can be whatever we choose i.e. $5 cost) and this unlocks the bike, the person rides it wherever in the city they want and returns the bike to any of the hundreds of stations and once again locked another token of same value is released, replacing their cost. They can walk around and then grab another bike from a rack 3 blocks away and travel home. I believe “free” speaks to everyone in the same way – use it! To really speak this language you also have to have the bike paths all SAFE. With this program we can work to get bike stands at all stop lights. This could reduce the first and last mile down the first and last ‘half mile’, which I feel is critical when talking about seniors. This means there are police patrols on bike as well, along these paths and ideally these paths have their own stop lite, so that the bikes have a chance to cross the streets, turn left etc., without having to roll with regular traffic. I’m all out to support this, it is exciting. My mission is to make LA the best city in the world and with the bike share to be the best means to beat Denmark, not just measure up with Philadelphia.