2015 Los Angeles CD4 Endorsement: Carolyn Ramsay

Election day: Tuesday, May 19, 7am-8pm
Find your polling place: http://lavote.net/locator

While the boundaries of Los Angeles Council District 4 may look ridiculous on a map, it is nonetheless a critical district in terms of L.A.’s bicycle transportation network. Sweeping through Mid-Wilshire, Hollywood, a sizable chunk of the San Fernando Valley, the Cahuenga Pass, and the spectacular landscape of Griffith Park, the district provides key connections – to the Los Angeles River, across the Hollywood Hills, and between dense Central L.A. neighborhoods and business corridors. The district has seen one livable streets project after another stalled under outgoing and bike-unfriendly Councilmember Tom LaBonge, making the race for a replacement that much more important.

Very early in the lead-up to the March primary, engaging voices emerged to provide an opportunity for much-needed progress. Carolyn Ramsay quickly articulated a thoughtful platform on mobility and livable streets, and was an early supporter for a reworking of the Hyperion Bridge with full sidewalks and buffered bike lanes, labeled “Option 3” by City staff and consultants (link).

This is not to imply that Ramsay had to go out on a limb: before going on-record with her decision, she rightly took the time to meet with community members and understand the overwhelming resident, business, and neighborhood council support for this forward-thinking solution. She was the first of the race’s top fundraising candidates to give ‘Option 3’ a thumbs-up, and after her lead, several other other candidates followed. Providing a safe connection by bike and on foot between Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Atwater Village, and the L.A. River is of critical importance and her early support is a testament to her priorities.

Ramsay continued to communicate an interest – based on personal experience – in making the district more accessible by bike by implementing better infrastructure that works for all ages and abilities. Her response to the LACBC questionnaire (link) offered a thoughtful consensus-building approach, which was reinforced by her support at a February candidate forum for a number of long-overdue bike lane projects: San Vicente, 6th Street, Lankershim, and the Cahuenga Pass. One of the most important things that Ramsay brings to in this election, however, is her extensive experience in the district as a former CD4 deputy and chief of staff, including learning from past failures in implementation of the City’s Bicycle Master Plan.

We’ve heard some encouraging things from the other candidate in this run-off election, David Ryu. But Ryu’s reluctance to communicate solutions for the area’s mobility problems, or take a stand in support of long-overdue improvements, gives us pause. Ramsay knows the district, and has solid ideas for how to bring consensus on projects that will improve its livability.

While we do have some concerns with some of Ramsay’s statements regarding improvements that would make Hollywood Boulevard and Hillhurst Avenue more vibrant, people-friendly streets to support thriving businesses, we are encouraged by her willingness to listen and to engage with her constituents towards finding solutions (link). There are lots of people, with lots of opinions – and so long as we keep an open dialogue, we are confident that any project that improves safety will prevail. We look forward to working with Carolyn Ramsay to improve mobility options for all Angelenos, and support her bid to represent the 4th District on the L.A. City Council.