Bike The Vote L.A. sent out candidate questionnaires to all City Council candidates qualified for the 2020 Ballot. We received thoughtful and encouraging responses from five of the nine candidates, resulting in three endorsements:
- Yasmine McMorrin (click here for endorsement statement)
- Freddy Puza (click here for endorsement statement)
- Darrel Menthe (click here for endorsement statement)
- Robert Zirgulis
- Mayor Göran Eriksson
Bike The Vote L.A. did not receive candidate responses from the following candidates:
- Khin Khin Gyi
- Heather Wollin
- Albert Vera
- Anthony Rizzo (suspended campaign)
Please see below for each candidate’s responses:
1. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost every aspect of the lives of Southern Californians. Similarly, the pandemic has created a massive shift in transportation with far-reaching consequences in how and where people work, go to school, and shop. These impacts will extend well beyond the current moment. Cities around the world have responded to these changes in different ways. Cities like Paris and Barcelona have enacted far reaching makeovers of streets during the pandemic to empower safe and sustainable bicycle commuting. With so many residents and workers now adopting walking and biking in the city since the COVID-19 health crisis, what immediate and long-term actions would you take to improve mobility options during and after the pandemic?
Yasmine McMorrin: What we need is connectivity. If we took advantage of our shaded streets and marked them as slow streets, as has been done in parts of L.A., that would be a significant improvement that could be implemented immediately and that the current council has already approved.
The downtown connector, a protected 2-way cycle track that has been the subject of more than one study, is long overdue. Originally part of the 2010 Bicycle Pedestrian Master Plan, and also brought forward in the new Bicycle Pedestrian Action Plan, we find ourselves millions of dollars away from implementation and so far, no grant funding has come our way. The bike share and electric micro shuttle system that the current council has approved, also provide a solution to the first and last mile issue. I would make sure that this is a prioritized part of staff work plans. Let’s get it done!
Currently parts of downtown Culver City have been closed to cars, to create more outdoor dining areas and allow for the physical distancing needed to stay safe during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are now seeing the demonstrable benefits of providing walkable and bikeable streets in that area. Culver City’s downtown should be permanently closed to car traffic, and the temporary plastic barriers could be replaced with more attractive permanent ones. There are so many models of car-free zones worldwide, both safe and welcoming, that we could adopt. I feel strongly that we should convert more areas of the city to becoming car-free zones.
We have a treasure in the Ballona Creek Bike Path and it could be vastly improved through a collaboration with the City of Los Angeles and other partners, by widening it to allow safe pedestrian use, and by providing lighting for safe night time travel. Similarly, the Culver Boulevard Median Bike Path is a model for the region, and though part of it is dismantled while stormwater mitigations are under construction, it serves a diverse community of pedestrians and cyclists, and folks just wanting a bit of air away from their apartments. We need to follow through on the Bicycle Pedestrian Action Plan, which identified and prioritized projects to improve our network. We should also realize our plans to make Bike Share available. There are 10-12 locations for docks that have been identified, and we need to look for ways to expand that number. Funding must be sought through Safe Routes to School grants, because the upgrades such as improved crosswalks, bulb-outs at key intersections and protected bike lanes are still lacking around many of our campuses.
Freddy Puza: My campaign is about building connections between people, but it also is about building connectivity throughout the city. During the pandemic, people have turned to walking and biking as a safer alternative mode of transportation. Culver City has made changes during the last several months that should become a model for changes that could be implemented throughout the city. For example, the westbound automobile lanes through downtown Culver City were recently shut down to increase space for restaurants and create a dedicated lane for bicyclists, buses and emergency vehicles. There are also plans to increase bike lanes from Culver Blvd. to the Fox Hills area and install 15 metro bike stations throughout the city. Eventually these metro bikes would be replaced with electric bikes. One of these stations is scheduled to be located in a low-income area where residents need access most to different modes of transportation. I believe we should maximize this trend. Increasing connectivity makes us a healthier city that is moving and exercising, it decreases congestion, and helps improve the environment by decreasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. Downtown Culver City is often privileged with new ideas and projects. Other parts of the city should be offered opportunities to participate in transportation innovation.
In the long term, we need to have a comprehensive plan to guide the city to increase overall mobility. I support the 2020 Culver City Bicycle & Pedestrian Action Plan, which provides new and updated infrastructure, program, and policy recommendations based on the 2010 plan. The Expo Line has been great for Culver City, but we need more cycling and walking infrastructure to make it easier for people to connect to it. A quick and clean solution would be to create eco-friendly connections between these points such as electric mini-buses or pedi-cabs. I support implementing mobility hubs in multiple locations throughout the city. The hubs would offer the opportunity to use e-bikes, ride shares, scooters or ride in a micro-bus. These modes of transportation would help with that first and last mile. I’d also work with our employers to encourage them to create, incentivize and/or fund first and last mile infrastructure.
Darrel Menthe: I was instrumental in closing down the streets in Downtown Culver City, and the plan we came up with in connection with city staff included installing Culver’s first dedicated bus/bike lane. I proposed the closure to the City and negotiated over the details, including pushing for bike access to the dedicated bus lane that was initially conceived only as an emergency or bus lane. This meant getting the city on board and convincing the entire downtown business community to accept a very significant change in automobile traffic patterns. This included pacing and walking it out with city staff and businesses. I have been involved in tweaking and improving implementation on a very hands-on basis. I am committed to creating a network of bicycle lanes and dedicated bike/bus lanes on major streets. We also need to make sure these dedicated lanes are open to microtransit and connect with new shuttle services coming online downtown as a pilot project. I am also proposing a special new frequent-service shuttle in Fox Hills to make it easy to get connected from there to transit options near Sepulveda/Westfield. I also support “slow streets” but would like that effort to be less ad hoc, more organized as a network of streets.
Robert Zirgulis: We need to greatly expand bike parking and security at the metro line. We need to have more bike rental stations and bike lanes!
Mayor Göran Eriksson: For the past four years on the Culver City Council, I have been the lead councilmember on the issue of public transportation modernization and mobility projects. Some of the projects that I have been working on include working closely with the Transportation Department to modernize our bus system and our crosswalks and pedestrian sidewalks. This will have both short-term and long-term impacts on our city as we encourage environmentally responsible personal habits among our local residents. One of the more exciting projects that I have recently supported is the permit approval for a company called Wheels which provide the safest and most accessible form of microtransit units. These units will be essential for transportation within Culver City. I encourage you to check out their website here: https://takewheels.com/.
2. Transportation remains the largest source of greenhouse gases in California, and neighborhood oil extraction has been shown to pose significant health and safety risks to residents. Heavy spending by oil and gas companies in local elections casts doubt on whether voters can trust their elected leaders to protect them from these and other impacts. Will you pledge to refuse any donations, whether to your campaign or officeholder account, from the fossil fuel lobby?
Yasmine McMorrin: I have pledged to take no contributions from the fossil fuel industry. This is clearly stated on my Goals and Donate webpages and my campaign literature, as follows:
Yasmine-Imani McMorrin will not accept contributions from developers, tobacco/vaping interests, the fossil fuel industry, or law enforcement organizations. https://www.efundraisingconnections.com/c/YasmineImaniMcMorrin/
Freddy Puza: I’m running a people-powered campaign and I pledge to refuse any donation from the fossil fuel lobby now or in the future.
Darrel Menthe: Absolutely. I have already made that pledge publicly.
Robert Zirgulis: I am beholden to no one. I don’t expect to get any money donations from the oil companies because I have publicly supported an initiative in the past to tax oil revenues for our schools when I was running for schoolboard.
Mayor Göran Eriksson: Yes, I will not take any money from the fossil fuel industry.
3. A longstanding lack of trust between law enforcement and communities of color has made passage through public space and on city streets rather fraught for many, especially teens and young men of color. What will you do to build a relationship between law enforcement and the community they serve such that law enforcement can become a broadly trusted partner for all Culver City residents?
Yasmine McMorrin: I see public safety as a spectrum of services, rather than simply limited to policing. I have taken the position along with local Black-led, grassroots youth organizations and allied groups, including the Culver City Action Network, that the Culver City Police Department (CCPD) should have a reduced budget to better serve the interest of public safety. I have called for reduction in the CCPD budget by 50%, with funding reallocated to social programs providing supportive services to youth, individuals with mental health needs, people experiencing domestic violence, unhoused residents, traffic and parking enforcement, crossing guards, and other community wellness initiatives, all of which should be administered outside the CCPD. Twenty-eight percent of the 2020 General Fund budget for Culver City was designated to the CCPD. With the recent BLM community uprising in Culver City (on one day alone, over 2,000 people marched from our local high school to city hall), there has been both heightened and new awareness about the lack of safety for too many community members–the experiences of Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other People of Color (BIPOC) in particular have too often been ignored, dismissed, or discounted, because too many CCPD officers and civilians, have engaged in causing harm to these communities members. Our newly formed Equity and Human Relations Equity Committee, has some representation of BIPOC and other groups that traditionally haven’t been valued in the public sphere (women, LGTBQIA+ individuals, people with disabilities). This is a beginning, but I want to see more elected officials and appointed members of city bodies who reflect the demographic make-up of our community in official, visible leadership roles. As a city council member, I would actively invite input from everyone who has been underrepresented or absent from civic decision-making, making sure that their lived experiences are heard and valued, because meaningful reimagining of community safety in Culver City will not happen without it. This is critical if the CCPD history of racial biases and current policies and practices that cause harms are to be addressed.
Freddy Puza: Everyone wants to feel safe. As a white male, I haven’t had many negative experiences with or been harassed by the police, but that hasn’t made me unaware of what so many others face daily. I’ve heard countless stories from Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) who have been racially profiled and pulled over for driving while Black. Hearing these stories and paying attention to the story that data tells, it’s clear that race factors into the kinds of experiences a person will have with police.
The first step we need to take in order to build trust in the community is to bring all voices, especially women, BIPOC, the LGBTQ community, and members of low-income communities, to the table and determine what public safety should and might look like. I support the city’s current efforts to engage in city-wide conversations about structural racism and that a community survey on public safety is being conducted.Talking about race is difficult for many people, especially for white people. I support providing on-going anti-racist and implicit bias training for city employees and the community.
At a Culver City Council meeting in June, I spoke out in support of cutting the police budget by 50 percent. I stand by my comments. No one seriously seeking to reimagine policing and city budget priorities in Culver City is advocating for lawlessness or anarchy. There will always be a need for some kind of crime prevention and response. These are big structural shifts that will not happen overnight. However, I’m an advocate for a more holistic approach to public safety where the police are not always the first responders to every situation. I also support an independent community police oversight committee that reports to the City Council. We need to invest in nonviolent alternatives that empower and employ more citizens to engage in developing and sustaining community safety. These are the first steps that I would take to begin to build trust between the police department and all Culver City residents.
Darrel Menthe: Right now, that trust is severely strained. We need a police chief who makes it a priority to completely transform that relationship. We need a civilian oversight board that makes that transformed relationship a priority for the department and the chief. That will include implementing significant changes to policies about how and why stops are made. This will also require use of body cameras and accurate, transparent data on stops and arrests to allow monitoring.
Robert Zirgulis: I am against the demonization of the Culver City police. They have saved our city millions of dollars from the rioters and looters that ravaged Santa Monica. Rather than defunding them by 50%, they should be given a bonus. If this is so politically incorrect to say, then I will question your bias. I think we should support our good cops and have dialogue with them. I think having programs such as coffee with a cop, ride along with a cop, and the DARE program will bring better relations. I also think it would be neat to have cops on bike patrol.
Mayor Göran Eriksson: As Culver City Mayor during the national outcry over law enforcement reform, I have been in a unique position to address the issue of police reform within Culver City. I have signed the “My Brother’s Keeper Mayor’s Pledge” popularized by former President Obama, which has committed our city to reviewing the Police Department’s use-of-force policy. On the council I have created a task force which will implement this commitment and give recommendations to the city for how to best approach the issue of police reform. And finally, I will always support community-oriented first responders, which is why I am in favor of the Acting Chief’s “Park, Walk, and Talk” program that is aimed at getting officers out of their vehicles and on foot patrols in order to have important conversations and build mutual trust between law enforcement and the local community. It is my sincere belief that a community can only thrive if both the local residents and law enforcement are partners in the community’s success, and that starts with trust.
4. Culver City has thus far failed to follow in the steps of Los Angeles and other cities across the United States adopting a Vision Zero policy to prioritize human life in transportation decisions. Do you support Vision Zero, and how would you use your position as a City Councilmember to make Culver City streets safe for all residents and visitors, regardless of their age, abilities, or how they are getting around?
Yasmine McMorrin: Traffic fatalities and severe injuries affect communities of color at a higher rate than other groups. I agree wholeheartedly with the goal of eliminating death and serious injury for everyone who uses our streets. At the same time, I am concerned about increasing the potential for racial profiling, as a result of adopting the Vision Zero approach, because the police are explicitly included in lists of stakeholders and leaders.* The “Committing to Vision Zero” strategy “Prioritizing equity and community engagement,” is closest to my values, and it is critical to fully embrace it. If we can make sure that the implementation of “Vision Zero Culver City” does not increase the already disproportionate number of traffic stops, citations and arrests of People of Color here, and if we prioritize the development of infrastructure that meets the needs of underserved people and neighborhoods to enhance their safety, then I will be a strong advocate of adopting and implementing Vision Zero in Culver City.
Freddy Puza: Yes, I support the Vision Zero policy. Culver City shared a Vision Zero Action Plan a few years ago and I would work on fully implementing it. We need to have safe travel for all. Culver City can prevent fatal and severe crashes by adopting this proactive policy. I would engage our partners in Transportation and Parking, Planning Division, Senior Services, Fire, Emergency Services, Public Works, and the Disability Advisory Committee to get their thoughts and buy-in. I appreciate the policy’s focus on equity which should remain at the center of the discussion. We need to make sure that walking and biking isn’t criminalized but rather affirmed and encouraged. In order to ensure effective results, we need to collect data to better understand traffic safety issues and base our future decisions on that. In order to make Culver City more bikeable and walkable, we need to make sure it is safe to do so. Our crossing walks and facilities need to have high visibility. We should implement curb treatments and more traffic calming measures. I support more physically separated bike lanes, which create a barrier between cyclists and cars. In addition, our plans need to keep in mind the requirement for those who have mobility impairments. If elected, I support implementing more multimodal streets and housing projects that can accommodate multiple transportation options including: public transportation, walking, cycling, scootering and private vehicles, coupled with mixed use housing.
Darrel Menthe: I support Vision Zero. This has to be a directive through the City Manager to the Transportation department because their working standards derived from state approved practices are not always in line with Vision Zero. I will prioritize that starting with the annual budgetary workshops to get that directive implemented. This will also require additional funding because it will require additional infrastructure, from crosswalks to sidewalks and signal management.
Robert Zirgulis: I support Vision Zero
Mayor Göran Eriksson: I believe that it is important to note that the Council has passed a Vision Zero policy under my leadership. I brought the idea of having a Vision Zero policy to the council because I immigrated from Sweden, where Vision Zero was first successfully implemented, and I felt our city should start working towards implementing it. We are currently undergoing the process of improving the city’s crosswalks and pedestrian services, along with modernizing our bus system as I mentioned before. Additionally, I have worked with the Fire Department to push them to create a “Heat Map” to use data to determine which intersections in Culver City have experienced the most accidents so that we can begin to form a plan for how to better design our transit system. This data will be critical to implementing Vision Zero. Additionally, I have been pushing for the exploration of the possibility of creating “Mobility Lanes” along several of Culver City’s major streets which would be dedicated just for public transit uses. These mobility lanes would be helpful in implementing Culver City’s Vision Zero policy and its goal to create a more safe and efficient public transit system.
5. Streets around Culver City schools are frequently unsafe. This discourages parents from allowing their children to walk or bike to school, and makes the health benefits of active transportation inaccessible for many Culver City youth. If re-elected, how would you prioritize student safety and mobility around schools?
Yasmine McMorrin: Culver City has successfully implemented the grant-funded Safe Routes to Schools safety improvements around Linwood E. Howe Elementary School and is in the building phase of improvements around La Ballona Elementary, El Rincon Elementary and El Marino Elementary Schools. Sadly, the Safe Routes to School grant for the tri-school area around Farragut Elementary School, Culver City Middle School and Culver City High School, was not implemented, largely because of push-back from the neighborhood. While there is a temporary solution being implemented at this time, using traffic cones and personnel to slow traffic, we need permanent infrastructure to make this area safe for students walking and biking to and between schools. Bike lanes, bulbed-out curbs at intersections that reduce narrow intersections, and brightly painted crosswalks are some measures I would prioritize.
Freddy Puza: Safety is one of my biggest concerns when it comes to mobility and connectivity issues. Walking and biking should be accessible to people of all ages and abilities. I support the Safe Streets to School program and I’d work to expand it. The program has many goals, including:
- Educating students on the rules of the road.
- Encouraging the use of alternative modes of transportation.
- Supporting a more active and healthy lifestyle.
- Reducing congestion through less traffic from drop-offs and pick-ups.
If elected, I support funding infrastructure improvements as listed in the Culver City Bike and Pedestrian Action Plan such as curb extensions, high-visibility crossings, ADA ramps, street trees, improved lighting and protected bike lanes. The city needs to monitor and document outcomes through conducting safety audits on a regular basis to ensure everything is up to code and working properly, If it isn’t, then we need to identify low cost solutions. It’s also an opportunity to create a stronger community by partnering with community-based organizations who also align with these goals. Community members can be recruited and trained to help perform roles as a corner captain or a cross-walk helper. Our kids are worth the time and this investment.
Darrel Menthe: I support the Safe Routes to School program, but consider it only a downpayment. We have a bicycle path on Ballona Creek which should be the crown jewel of a citywide bicycle network. But frequently we close it for repairs on weekdays in order to have it open on weekends for recreation. This is backwards and hurts school access and ridership generally. School drop-offs are a traffic problem too: we need to make walking and biking to school the preferred method of access. This requires investment in crossing guards for longer time periods also. My children have walked or biked to school on their own since 3rd grade. My 12 year old daughter bikes around town and it is so frustrating that our boulevards function as barriers rather than pathways for her. I will work hand-in-hand with CCUSD school board to prioritize independent mobility to schools.
Robert Zirgulis: If we defund the police, we will not be able to enforce traffic safety. I am a substitute teacher and see how important it is to have police helping with the traffic at our schools.
Mayor Göran Eriksson: As Mayor, safety in Culver City is always my number one priority, especially when it relates to our children. As I mentioned before, I have been working closely with the transportation department to improve our crosswalk and pedestrian sidewalks, which will make the routes to and from school more accessible and safe for students. Additionally I have proposed the idea of creating a free bus pass system for our middle and high school students. This would make our bus system more accessible for our students while also fostering responsible personal habits. If young people start taking the bus as students, maybe they will also be more inclined to take the bus when they are adults. This will both improve our environment and help reduce traffic in Culver City.
6. Culver City’s 2010 Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan remains largely unrealized, in large part due to lack of funding. Without dedicated funds, any funding for implementation must be drawn from the city’s already underfunded street maintenance budget, which itself represents less than 2% of the city’s 2020-2021 budget. If re-elected, how would you reallocate general funds and/or identify funds from the private sector to build out a sustainable transportation system?
Yasmine McMorrin: Culver City staff work hard to identify and apply for grant funding, but this process is too slow. Our recent closure of downtown streets due to Covid-19, and soon streets in the Arts District, which include bus/bike lanes, demonstrates just how quickly these improvements can be put in place with little expense. The key in these examples in the business community’s buy-in. I would advocate for dedicating a higher percentage of the city’s general fund to completing Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan goals. I would also seek to build relationships with the BIDs and the new corporations in Culver City to encourage partnerships on projects that benefit all who live, work and play here.
Freddy Puza: A city’s budget reflects what a city truly values. Culver City is currently in a collective moment of reimagining the city budget. The fact that the budget hasn’t funded the plan in previous years doesn’t mean that can’t be changed. If elected, I would work with the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the Transportation and Mobility departments to identify which parts of the plan should be prioritized and then match that to applying for federal, state, and regional grants. The more grants that the city receives, the more it will help offset the amount that we have to reallocate from the general fund. I know the city has been applying for many grants in the past year and I would strongly encourage continuing this practice. I would also advocate to our regional and state representatives to support this initiative as well as identifying ways to potentially partner.
Darrel Menthe: We have to prioritize the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, and taking funds away from street maintenance can be self-defeating. We need a comprehensive review of the city’s capital expenditure priorities. We have already deferred significant spending due to Covid-19, but deferral is not the same as reordering the priority of projects. In my role as Vice Chair of the Finance Advisory Committee, I support and have worked on revenue measures to increase available resources in the general fund, and will continue to advocate for such measures. We also do need to look at potential private sector funding where available.
Robert Zirgulis: I think we should explore government grants and seek funding from the private sector. For example, some businesses could advertise their contributions to infrastructure improvements.
Mayor Göran Eriksson:Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the city will be experiencing a large deficit, meaning that we simply do not have more money. This means that the important question is how we can conserve the dollars we do have and spend them effectively to actually make a difference in Culver City. There are several relatively cheap and effective ways to improve public transit such as opening more access points along the La Ballona Creek – therefore encouraging more use of it for its bike path – and making the route safer such as installing lights underneath the bridges and overpasses, which would make traveling along the path easier at all times of day.
Additionally the city can establish more bike lanes, and the “mobility lanes” that I mentioned in my proposal earlier. Also, as a councilmember, I got all of our city buses and trash trucks to run on renewable biofuel which not only has removed approximately 36,000 metric tons of carbon emissions from Culver City’s environment to-date, but it is also cheaper than natural gas and saves the city money. And finally I am consistently working with the transportation department to improve our bus system as best I can such as ensuring that the buses run on time and have proper street signs for accessible use.
7. Please respond to the following questions regarding specific issues and projects:
7a. Currently the Downtown’s public plaza has a prohibition against bikes, forcing people on bikes onto adjacent streets with cars. Removing this prohibition would help provide a simple solution to providing safe space for kids and take a step towards providing a safe connection between the E Line (Expo Line) and Downtown Culver City. Do you support making this plaza pedestrian and bike-friendly?
Yasmine McMorrin: Yes, I would support this measure, until such time that bike lanes are available on the street, because the safest solution long term is to have dedicated space for pedestrians and dedicated space for bicycles.
Freddy Puza: Yes, I support making this plaza pedestrian and bike-friendly. Safety is a key component to any pedestrian and bike plan and I would remove any policy that doesn’t support safe and efficient connectivity. As a Councilmember, I will always look for ways to encourage walking and biking to further connect the city and increase the overall health of our community. In addition, I’d love to see the city close down additional streets in downtown Culver City to traffic and open up that space to walking and biking only. If we are truly committed to stopping Culver City from being a cut-through city, this is a genuine step in that direction. It makes traveling through Culver City less attractive while creating community and better quality of life experiences for the city’s residents.
Darrel Menthe: I strongly support this. As the President of the Downtown Business Association, I have been advocating for this for years. I am passionate about this, and it has been an immense frustration to me that the plaza was designed without mobility lanes in the first place. Downtown businesses want this too. If elected I will insist that this happen. I will also strongly urge pedestrian and bike-friendly spaces in other neighborhood centers in Culver City, not just the downtown.
Robert Zirgulis: I support the plaza being pedestrian and bike friendly.
Mayor Göran Eriksson: I have already supported the use of bikes in the Downtown Culver City Plaza in the City’s Mobility Subcommittee. The staff is currently working on implementing several initiatives, and they also want to establish a speed limit for bikes in order to make sure it is safe for pedestrians. It will be brought before the council relatively soon.
7b. There is currently no exit/entrance on the Ballona Creek Path between Duquesne Ave. and Overland Ave., a distance of approximately one mile (~1.6 km). This renders the path much less useful to the community, including schoolchildren from the adjacent Carlson Park neighborhood. Opening the existing gate at Jackson Ave would be an easy solution, but has faced opposition from some immediate neighbors. Would you vote to open the gate at Jackson Ave.?
Yasmine McMorrin: Yes. Opening the Jackson gate makes the path safer for all users and especially makes the path more accessible, especially for school-age students traveling to and from schools all over Culver City.
Freddy Puza: I would vote to open the gate. It’s much safer for our schoolchildren to walk or ride their bikes on the Ballona Creek path than is for them to walk or ride on a busy street with traffic. This is also about increasing connectivity throughout the city, including those who have mobility impairments. The more connections there are, the easier it is for people to get around using alternative modes of transportation. I certainly understand there may be fear of the unknown for some of the immediate neighbors, but there hasn’t been any data to support that opening gates to the creek path leads to an increase in crime or any other negative effect.
Darrel Menthe: Yes. (By the way, as long as we are in the process of examining public safety budgets, we should also prioritize public safety along Ballona Creek bike path, including a Jackson Avenue gate.)
Robert Zirgulis: I would vote to open the gate at Jackson ave. I live on Baldwin and it would make it convenient for me also.
Mayor Göran Eriksson: Not only do I support the opening of the gate at Jackson Ave, I have several suggestions for additional locations to explore as well, in order to make the La Ballona path even more accessible. Of course, we will have to make measures to ensure that the local neighborhoods feel secure and reassured in these initiatives. But I believe that this can be done. One of the other locations I have proposed for opening to the La Ballona Creek includes a city-owned property at the end of Van Buren Blvd and the creek, and the staff is currently working on creating feasibility proposals to implement this. Additionally, I have had discussions with Los Angeles Councilmember Mike Bonin to open up a gate to the creek at West Sawtelle and Culver Drive. I have also suggested constructing an additional walk-bike bridge over the creek at Jackson Ave, in order to connect to the Jefferson Blvd light commercial area.
As you can see, I have been deeply involved for years in trying to get the La Ballona Creek path to be a more effective route for bikers and pedestrians in Culver City, and I will continue my work if re-elected for a second term.
7c. Culver City’s long-term plan for Sepulveda includes adding dedicated bike lanes on this key commercial corridor that is currently treacherous for cyclists. Sepulveda already features bike lanes in the City of Los Angeles, both north and south of Culver City; Culver City is a missing link. Is this a priority for you, and how will you ensure that this project advances rapidly?
Yasmine McMorrin: Yes. I am very concerned about this gap in our infrastructure. As a new resident of Fox Hills, I know the importance Sepulveda plays in connecting the transit hub at the Westfield Mall. Sepulveda from Westchester north through Culver City is a regular bicycle route, and yet there is no safe route available, putting riders in danger every day. I think these improvements could be made through a combination of public-private partnerships, grants and dedicated money from the Culver City General Fund.
Freddy Puza: As a cyclist, I can speak from personal experience that Sepulveda Blvd. is a very dangerous road. I’ve had my fair share of close calls on that street. If elected, I will prioritize mobility issues. Not only do we need more connectivity internally in Culver City, we also need to coordinate alternative modes of transportation in and out of our city as well. The creation of this connection on Sepulveda would make us a good regional partner and further those relationships. It’s a win-win opportunity that we should seize while the iron is hot.
Darrel Menthe: This is a key priority for me. This needs to be taken out of the “bicycle” pigeonhole and prioritized as a mobility, transportation, and public safety item. Culver City needs a network that connects Fox Hills, West Washington, Sepulveda Corridor, Downtown, and the Arts District.
Robert Zirgulis: We need to connect the missing link. I would make it a priority and also seek grants and private participation in implementing it.
Mayor Göran Eriksson: Yes, this has been a concern for me and is a priority. We are planning on implementing this as soon as the city can resurface the street on Sepulveda Blvd. Unfortunately due to COVID-19 and the significant economic downturn the pandemic has caused, it may take a couple of years before the project is implemented. The city simply doesn’t have the money to resurface Sepulveda right now, and we cannot create the bike lanes until we do that resurfacing project. But rest assured that this issue is at the forefront of my mind and will be a priority while I am on the council.