1. 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?
As a lifelong Democrat, and someone who cares deeply about our environment, I have seen what the fossil fuel lobby has done and will not do anything to give further voice to it in our political discourse. That said, I have not been approached by anyone representing the fossil fuel lobby at this point and do not expect to be in this campaign. (Please note that I do NOT intend to ever running for any office than that of Glendale City Council). Finally, I have no intention of accepting any aid, assistance, endorsement, or funding from any industry’s lobby.
2. Glendale’s car insurance rates are the highest in California, largely related to the dangerous state of Glendale streets and the high likelihood that residents will be involved or the victims of a collision. Do you see these issues providing a mandate to take action to make Glendale streets safer for all road users, and to reconfigure roadways and intersections to tamp down speeding on city streets?
If you visit my website (www.leonard2020.com) you will see that public safety and traffic mitigation are my top 2 issues. In addition, I want to update our General Plan in its entirety, including its transportation element (last updated in 1998). This update will result in, precisely, the type of outcome which you suggest. So, yes, I consider the issue important enough to take it upon myself to address.
3. A growing number of cities in Los Angeles County have adopted a “Vision Zero” policy with the goal of preventing traffic related deaths through roadway design. Do you support a Vision Zero policy for Glendale? How do you think the City of Glendale should engage with its community of residents and businesses in order to reconfigure streets to eliminate roadway deaths?
At this point, there is no “engagement” between the city and the residents in this regard, other than the information which is siloed on the city’s website. However, the city does have traffic specialists and a Transportation and Parking Commission who can spearhead the development of an outward, proactive, program which seeks to mitigate traffic in general and increase roadway safety, in particular. In terms of the LADOT’s “Vision Zero” policy, I would have no problem implementing it in Glendale with any adjustments to better suit our needs.
4. Glendale’s’ traffic woes are compounded by the reality that roads around 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 most Glendale youth. If elected councilmember, how would you prioritize student safety and active transportation options around schools?
The safety of children is always of the highest priority. The best way to ensure traffic safety around schools (short of drivers actually having the conscientiousness of being more careful around them) is to have police traffic patrols around schools at drop-off and pick-up time. In this way, should children want to ride the bicycles to school, or simply walk, they could do so without fear. However, given the law-enforcement up-staffing required for this effort and the associated costs, we must consider a wide-ranging plan of public outreach to get drivers to be more considerate of our younger community members. Elements of this program are part of the Vision Zero program already and can be implemented.
5. Glendale streets lack a safe bike lane network and the bike routes that are in place too often consist of narrow unprotected bike lanes placed directly adjacent to fast-moving cars or shared use lanes marked with ‘sharrows’ in which people on bikes are put in direct conflict with drivers. Do you see a benefit to building out a robust and connected bike lane network with protected bike lanes to enable residents of all ages and abilities to get around safely by bike, and if so, how will you work to make this a reality?
I absolutely see such a benefit and would try to find as many streets which are wide enough to accommodate actual safety features for bicyclists. Whether these streets can add up to a network, particularly a “robust” one, will need to be determined thereafter. I suspect that once we identify suitable streets which can be safe for bicyclists, we will see that there are sections of the city’s roadways which cannot accommodate safety features as they are and we will need to reconfigure these sections such that they can accommodate safety features. Then, we will have a usable network. Once this is in place, we can move ahead and gradually address additional safety feature in more and more sections of the city and, eventually, have a city-wide bicycle network.
6. In 2016, over 70% of Los Angeles County voters supported Measure M, a ½ cent tax to improve mobility options for Angelenos, including a number of bus rapid transit (BRT) lines such as the North Hollywood-Pasadena Transit Corridor. The project was long championed by Mayor Ara Najarian to provide service from central Glendale to and from L.A.’s regional transit network, and. Do you support the use of transit signal priority and dedicated bus lanes on city streets to provide quality and efficient transit service for Glendale residents?
Yes, as it is clear that one way to garner greater bus ridership is to reduce travel time by providing buses with dedicated lanes and preferential signals. However, for us to have dedicated lanes, we need roadways wide enough to accommodate them. My approach would be to identify current streets that are on bus routes which can accommodate dedicated lanes and re-configure any lights on those sections to give buses signal priority. Thereafter, we can work on lengthening the sections of bus routes that have bus-only lanes and the corresponding preferential-signaling.