John Lee served as Chief of Staff to CD12’s previous councilmember, Mitch Englander, and understands the need to make 12th District streets safer for all users and supports the idea of creating more protected bike lanes and other improvements; however, his response left a lot to the imagination as to what kinds of changes—in infrastructure, policy, funding, etc.—that he’s willing to actually champion. In his response to Bike The Vote L.A., Lee emphasizes the need to engage community stakeholders and keep a range of options open in consideration of roadway safety. While we would hope to see a stronger commitment to prioritizing safety on city streets, we’re hopeful that Lee will give safe streets advocates the consideration they deserve during that process.
Bike The Vote L.A. Grade: B-
1. What role do you see for walking, transit, and biking in the getting residents and students in Council District 12 to and from local businesses, parks, and schools?
Expanding multi-modal transit options as well as improving safety are my top transit priorities. The streets need to be safe for all users, including pedestrians, commuters, cyclists and drivers. We need to take a holistic approach that includes improving the efficiency and coordination of transit schedules, so they better serve transit demand, investing in cycling infrastructure, improving pedestrian safety, and better integrating our transit systems so they complement one another, Investing in bike lanes and their infrastructure is key. I will work with stakeholders to identify areas of improvement and look to invest in biking infrastructure including – protecting existing bike lanes and their infrastructure, expanding the connectivity of the bike lane system, and investing in safety measures.
2. Thirty-eight percent of Cal State University, Northridge students do not have access to a car for their daily commute. What actions can Los Angeles take to make the CSUN campus more accessible for students, staff, and faculty including better bike, pedestrian, and transit connectivity around the campus? Additionally, do you support implementation of protected bike lanes on Parthenia Street to connect Metrolink Northridge Station to existing protected bike lanes on Reseda Boulevard?
The transit issues associated with CSUN are significant. We need to take a holistic approach to addressing these issues that includes all stakeholders and leverages the intellectual capital at CSUN to not only create, but also implement agreed upon solutions. Some of the actions I would like to explore are:
- Working with CSUN and Metro to ensure that class schedules align with commuting options. This is an area where we can make enormous impact on traffic as well as ridership.
- Creating a cohesive biking infrastructure between campus and the surrounding community. Biking is one of the major modes of transit for individuals who use the bus and rail system. We need to make it safer and more convenient in order to encourage the use of public transit.
- Historically, CD12 Councilmembers have working with CSUN’s Urban Planning Master’s program to tackle mobility issues. We need to continue that partnership and also continue to include neighborhood stakeholders. I strongly believe that a policy making process that is inclusionary and comprehensive is the only way to create meaningful solutions.
- In regard to Parthenia, it is my understanding that plans to realign the Northridge station to Reseda Blvd. are under consideration. We need to complete that process before considering changes to Parthenia in order to ensure that we are as resources efficient as possible while achieving the ultimate goals of increasing connectivity and improving safety.
- Finally, increased enforcement of speeding and other traffic violations that put cyclists and pedestrians at risk is key.
3. CD12 sees some of L.A.’s worst speeding and street racing, with three out of the top five most dangerous intersections in all of California located within the District. In response to the condition of dangerous streets across the city, Los Angeles adopted a ‘Vision Zero’ program with the goal of significantly reducing the 240+ annual roadway deaths that the City currently sees. Do you support prioritizing safety on L.A.’s High Injury Network streets in CD12 such as Reseda, Roscoe, and Balboa Boulevards, even when there may be trade-offs in terms of automotive travel time or on-street parking?
Street racing has been a serious problem in CD12 for many years now. I take this threat to public safety seriously. During my tenure as a staff member to Councilmembers Greig Smith and Mitch Englander, we work diligently to identify and implement a wide range of tactics to combat street racing and with some success. I also support prioritizing safety on LA’s High Injury Network Streets in CD12. As Councilmember, I think that all options should be on the table given the severity of this issue, including traditional and non-traditional enforcement mechanisms such as rumble strips to reduce the desirability of street racing. Tackling this issue is a top priority for me.
4. LADOT has determined that speed is the predominant factor in whether traffic collisions are deadly. Despite this fact, Los Angeles recently increased speed limits on 100 miles of local streets to abide by state law, including raising the speed limit to 45 mph on Winnetka Ave., Wilbur Ave. & Reseda Blvd. in CD12. Would you support implementation of lane reductions and other traffic calming infrastructure in order to reduce vehicle speeds on surface streets in CD12?
This new state requirement which forced local cities to increase speed limits is counterproductive and simply doesn’t make sense. The state law must be changed in order to give local governments control of setting speed limits on local roads. A one size fits all approach is not effective and we need the flexibility to take circumstances that are unique to each neighborhood into account. As City Councilmember, I will work with my colleagues on the council and our state representatives to address this issue.
5. Los Angeles’ traffic woes are compounded by the reality that many parents, students, and workers don’t feel safe commuting even short distances or performing school drop-offs walking, rolling, 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 mobility options for CD12 residents?
A holistic approach is needed in this regard – working to better coordinate bus and class schedules where needed, identifying locations where we can invest in pedestrian safety measure such as cross walks, lighting, traffic signs, or speed bumps, increased traffic enforcement, and working with local stakeholders to promote multi modal transit to schools.
6. While one of Los Angeles most recently developed districts, CD12 also has the largest senior population by percentage in the city. What improvements to mobility options would you implement to empower CD12’s senior population to comfortably age in place?
There are a number of measures I would like to take to improve mobility for seniors including:
- Investing in pedestrian safety measures – cross walk lighting, signage, etc…
- Increased traffic enforcement
- Improved coordination between senior housing centers, local service providers, and metro to increase transit frequency and convivence.