Jeff Bornstein’s response to Bike The Vote L.A. garnered mixed reviews. On one hand he expresses support for bicycles as a viable transportation option, but he also appears to dismiss standard bike lanes. He also focuses concern over bus emissions – rather than the much more significant producer of pollution, emissions from private cars. His commitment to better fund bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure shows that his heart is in the right place, even if we have some reservations about his consistency in support of active transportation issues.

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

(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?

I oppose high speed rail, it is an absolute waste of money, and I would put that money towards health care under a single payer health care system. I support any state bond that responsibly puts money into a robust public transportation system. I support most subway construction, such as the Metro Red and Purple lines, and light rail, like the Metro Blue and Gold lines. I also want more buses being used by the public, but not buses that elicit carbon emissions. Buses must be more fuel efficient and energy friendly. I also would push for legislation to create as many bicycle lanes throughout California, and will push for bicycling to be viewed as a legitimate way to engage in daily transportation for everyone, not a niche activity for just bicycle enthusiasts. I will push for more subsidies to reduce the fares for public transportation, which should increase overall ridership.

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?

I do support  dedicating a portion of cap and trade funds towards the Active Transportation Program to help fund better pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. I would want the percentage to be meaningful, and not a token amount. This goes back to my days when I served on the Mayor’s Council on Transportation in the early 1980’s, where I actively explored ways to improve the transportation of bicyclists and pedestrians.

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?

I support the plan to augment SB 1 to require all street and highway projects to incorporate the needs of bicyclists, pedestrians and public transportation. There are too many cars on the road. They cause tremendous traffic and do major damage with regards to pollution. This is a way to ensure that other forms of transportation besides private use of automobiles will be encouraged. The status-quo will only worsen as more and more people buy and use cars, while the use of public transportation has been dropping.

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?

I do support the rewording of the laws. Bicyclists need ample room to ride wherever they can in a safe manner. I do not want to see people being injured or killed, so the public must be aware of the reality on these lanes, and no confusion or ambiguity in these laws should be allowed in the future. As an assemblyman, I will work to clear up this situation. As a bicycle rider, I have found the right lanes confining, especially avoiding car doors opening suddenly when a car is parked. Fixing the law can help alleviate this problem.

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?

I approve of this policy on a limited basis. It should only be placed in areas that are proven to have an abundance of speeders. Also, warning signs should be made on the street prior to the camera area itself. Reducing speed is great, but we have to do it being fully aware of not overstepping our bounds when it comes to our rights and civil liberties. We are aware there is a pilot program in the bay area. The results should give us more information going forward.

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?

I oppose SB 827. I believe it takes local control away from the people who live there. We want city councils to have a say in their own communities. If I was sure the housing was built near true skeletal transit, than I would be more likely to approve it. I am afraid this bill will be used to build anywhere there is a large boulevard, as opposed to true mass transit. I do think we need more truly affordable housing. I am concerned that too many people cannot even afford a median studio apartment. Supporting expanding rent control expansion is one of my top legislative priorities for California.