Los Angeles Unified School District Board Member Mónica García was up front with Bike The Vote’s interview committee that she did not have a depth of experience on active transportation issues, describing herself as a “car person” based on her need to travel around the district that she represents. We appreciate her candor and it became clear early in our conversation that issues of equity in transportation planning and transit access resonate very strongly with García’s career of advocating for equity in education.
While García provided some promising responses to Bike The Vote’s questionnaire, we would be more confident in her determination had her statements included more detail. For example, García contradicted what appeared to be bold support for on-street bus rapid transit in Eagle Rock with a statement of no preference that she subsequently provided to the Boulevard Sentinel. Nevertheless, it is apparent that García has already significantly improved her stance on transportation issues as a result of listening to us and other advocates during the campaign. We hope that she will continue to engage with safe streets advocates and we can see her developing into a stronger ally over time.
Bike The Vote L.A. 2019 Primary Grade: B-
(See below for full candidate questionnaire response)
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?
Yes, I pledge to refuse any donations from the fossil fuel lobby.
2. 242 Angelenos were killed in car crashes in 2018, a 32% increase from 2015. Clearly, L.A. has failed to make significant progress towards Vision Zero. Despite proven success in reducing the severity of crashes, road diets have been removed from Vision Zero projects on the high-injury network across LA. Why do LA’s streets remain so deadly by design? Would you commit to implementing road diets across the high-injury network to reach Vision Zero’s goals?
My candidacy is about raising expectations. That is what Vision Zero does. We aren’t moving quick enough and giving the right attention and resources to the highest need areas. I think road diets are absolutely needed.
3. Los Angeles’ 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 Angeleno youth. If elected councilmember, how would you prioritize student safety and active transportation options around schools?
We need to raise expectations by creating concrete goals, then work with leaders at our schools. We need to reverse the decline in students riding bikes or walking to school.
4. 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 sees widespread support from transit users, Northeast Los Angeles residents, students, and environmentally-focused non-profits. What are your views on Metro’s proposal to have dedicated bus lanes on Colorado Boulevard through Eagle Rock?
Yes, we need Bus Rapid Transit along Colorado through Eagle Rock. We need to both listen to community voices and we need to help lead to make change happen.
5. Over the past year, we have seen increased use of privately owned electric bikes and scooters throughout Los Angeles, particularly in Downtown. Unfortunately, without a network of bike lanes or on-street storage space for these vehicles, vital pedestrian space is sometimes negatively impacted by sidewalk riding and storage for dockless e-scooters and bikes. Would you direct LADOT to reallocate curbside car parking for dockless scooter and bike corrals? In order to reduce conflicts between scooter/bike users and pedestrians, would you implement a cohesive network of bike lanes on all streets Downtown?
We need to rein in the scooter and electric bike industry. That said, we need to be strategic. Pedestrian safety is critical. I would support reallocating curbside parking in areas certain areas. And yes, in more crowded areas, like the streets of downtown LA, we need a more cohesive network of bike lanes.
6. The previous CD14 administration made some important progress towards providing safer streets through projects like Spring and Main Forward as well as York Blvd. and First Street bike lanes. But much work is still required to provide safe streets for all road users. Please respond to the following questions regarding specific CD14 issues and projects:
6A. My Figueroa opened in 2018, providing dedicated bus lanes and protected bike lanes between Expo Park/USC and Downtown. Will you direct LADOT to secure funding to extend these bus lanes, protected bike lanes, and pedestrian improvements up to Cesar Chavez/Sunset Blvd during your term?
My Figueroa has made important improvements. We now need to extend those to Cesar Chavez/Sunset.
6B. With the construction of the Wilshire Grand project, $9.175 million was set aside to improve transportation along 7th Street. What is your vision for use of these funds?
We need to begin with improvements for people riding buses and riding bikes. Buffered bike lanes are a critical, as are off transit platforms.
6C. In response to recent collisions harming area students, The Eagle Rock Association (TERA) has initiated “Slow Yosemite,” a project aimed at providing a safer Yosemite Dr. serving Eagle Rock High School and Rockdale Elementary School. Will you commit to continue support for this project in collaboration with TERA?
6D. The stretch of North Figueroa in CD14 between York Blvd. and Colorado Blvd. is a treacherous one, taking the lives of Ervin Garcia and Manuel Alonzo in 2017. Do you think a road diet is possible on North Figueroa? As councilmember, would you dedicate staff resources towards getting community support to reduce speeding and provide a safer street for drivers, people on bikes, and pedestrians?
I would need to look into the road diet on North Figueroa more though I understand the importance of road diets. I would indeed invest staff resources to work with the community to ensure the stretch between York and Colorado’ Blvds is significantly safer for everyone.
6E. TERA, in collaboration with CD14, recently secured $16.3 million in Metro funding to implement “Rock The Boulevard,” a remaking of Eagle Rock Blvd. oriented towards the people, with protected bike lanes, curb extensions, and increased trees and green space along the boulevard. Will you commit to help making this community vision for a people-oriented street a reality?
Yes I commit to working with the Eagle Rock community to fulfill this vision for so people can walk and ride safely, and drivers can get where they are going.