Bike The Vote L.A. sent out a 6-point questionnaire to all 7 candidates running for Culver City Council. We asked candidates to be succinct in their responses, in hopes that they might better outline for voters what their positions were on making streets safer and more livable for all who use Culver City streets.
With 3 seats open on Culver City’s 5-seat City Council, this election will determine whether the City continues to build on work to calm traffic on residential streets and in proximity to schools, and whether the City will provide needed bicycle connections between new transit options and business districts.
A group of our members has reviewed the responses and graded candidates for their positions on livable streets. See below summaries of what each candidate has to offer to continue to make Culver City a more vibrant community, and click through below to see full candidate responses.
Culver City’s election is on Tuesday, April 12th. Polling stations are open on 4/12 from 7am to 8pm. Check here for polling locations and voter information: http://www.culvercity.org/city-hall/election-information
Incumbent Culver City Council Member and former Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells has a superb record of leadership in making Culver City streets safer for everyone. From her early work in co-founding the Culver City Bicycle Coalition, to developing a Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan for the City, to bringing CicLAvia to Culver City, and her depth of experience as a bike commuter; there is nobody who has worked harder to make Culver City a better place for people who bike or walk. Her response to our questionnaire displays a deep knowledge of the issues the City faces in implementing Complete Streets and articulates a detailed and practical vision for how to get there. In four years on the City Council, Meghan Sahli-Wells has been a consistent bike-friendly vote, a knowledgeable ambassador for bicycling, and an energetic advocate working to improve the safety and livability of Culver City streets. Residents have reaped many benefits from her outstanding work, and she deserves a chance to continue that work with another term in office.
Bike The Vote L.A. 2016 Grade: A+
A frequent bike-commuter and member of the Culver City Cultural Affairs Commission, Thomas Small shows an exceptional grasp of the concepts of – and need for – livable streets. In his response to Bike The Vote L.A, Mr. Small strongly declares that Culver City “need(s) more bike lanes and paths that are separated entirely and protected from cars,” and displays a willingness to make tough decisions to ensure quality bike infrastructure, including to “seriously consider dedicating the space from on-street parking” to create protected bike lanes. Mr. Small supports expeditiously bringing a bike share system to Culver City and to coordinate its implementation with current and future transit-oriented development. In consideration of recently removed crosswalks on Jefferson Blvd, Mr. Small makes it clear that pedestrian and bike access should be prioritized for the benefit of Culver City residents over desires vehicular throughput. Thomas Small is a superb candidate with a vision to improve livability and increase mobility options in Culver City.
Bike The Vote L.A. 2016 Grade: A
Environmental advocate and social welfare activist Daniel Lee offers a bold and fresh vision for Culver City coupled with solid support for implementation of livable streets. In his response to Bike The Vote L.A.’s questionnaire, Mr. Lee demonstrates that he is ready to make the tough decisions needed to implement connected bicycle infrastructure, support for implementing bike share, and for adopting a Vision Zero policy to end traffic deaths in Culver City. Mr. Lee understands the dual benefits of improved bicycle infrastructure in improving quality and safety for current bike commuters, as well as in providing a greater range of healthy, sustainable mobility options for people who aren’t currently commuting by bike. Mr. Lee also shows that he understands the importance of maintaining a convenient and walkable City through his opposition to recent removal of crosswalks on Jefferson Blvd. Daniel Lee is a thoughtful and needed voice for safer streets for Culver City.
Bike The Vote L.A. 2016 Grade: A
Scott Wyant has a keen understanding of the long-term goals to provide Culver City with more diverse mobility options. As a Culver City Planning Commissioner, he supported incorporating needed bicycle connections into the design for the Expo Line-adjacent Ivy Station development project. Also a former member of the committee overseeing development of Culver City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, Mr. Wyant has deep knowledge and experience with the opportunities and challenges for implementing livable streets in Culver City. We have some concerns with Mr. Wyant’s hesitancy to prioritize the safety and mobility needs of vulnerable road users above the convenience of drivers passing through Culver City, and hope to see him continue to develop a platform and strategy that puts safety first. With his depth of experience and understanding, Scott Wyant will make a strong advocate for a more multi-modal Culver City.
Bike The Vote L.A. 2016 Grade: A-
Göran Eriksson presents a strong, bike-friendly platform through support for a Vision Zero policy in Culver City, support for a bike share system, and the need to provide access to transit for bicycle commuters, particularly between the Expo Line and Downtown Culver City. As a Culver City Chamber of Commerce board member, there’s no doubt that Mr. Eriksson understands the ways in which a connected, safe, and convenient network for bicycle transportation helps local businesses and the local economy. We were troubled by Mr. Eriksson’s support for removing crosswalks on Jefferson Blvd, where we would prefer to see priority placed on the mobility needs of local residents aiming to commute and/or get exercise on foot. We also would like to see more prioritization and urgency from Mr. Eriksson for bicycle infrastructure, including making the sometimes difficult decision to reallocate roadway space to make it safer to bike and walk. But we have faith that Mr. Eriksson’s vision for a safe and convenient transportation system – and his knowledge of European models for bicycle infrastructure – will make him a thoughtful advocate on the City Council of a more bikeable and safer Culver City.
Bike The Vote L.A. 2016 Grade: B+
Marcus Tiggs carries a depth of knowledge of bicycle infrastructure and the benefits of a transportation system that offers options to different modes. We greatly appreciate his support for Vision Zero, the need to reduce speeding in order to improve roadway safety, and his desire to bring bike share to Culver City. Two items give us pause in Mr. Tiggs platform: 1) his support of an unbalanced plan that removed crosswalks from Jefferson Blvd. to prioritize speeding traffic through Culver City, and 2) his lukewarm support for protected bike lanes. We hope to see Mr. Tiggs develop these positions as the need for quality pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure becomes a more clear component of improving roadway safety, and as protected bike lanes become more and more common as a proven, safety-enhancing design treatment. We look forward to seeing Marcus Tiggs as an advocate for a balanced transportation system in Culver City.
Bike The Vote L.A. 2016 Grade: B+
While we appreciated that former Culver City Detective Jay Garacochea responded to our questionnaire, we were disappointed with the positions he articulated. In the most recent 2013 Governor’s Office of Traffic Safety study, Culver City ranked 11th worst in California of 92 peer cities for pedestrian injuries & fatalities and 17th worst for bike-related injuries & fatalities. When Mr. Garacochea explains, “I feel as though our current public transit system is the best the city has to offer,” he displays no urgency or resolve to address the important challenges that Culver City faces to improve safety for its most vulnerable road users. In his answers to Bike The Vote L.A, Mr. Garacochea notes he supports inconveniencing residents’ access on foot in order to prioritize car traffic through Culver City. Mr. Garacochea is hesitant to support a needed safe bike connection between the Expo Line and Downtown Culver City or even to support bringing bike share to Culver City. We are encouraged that he expresses an interest in seeing an increase in bike lanes throughout the City, but considering his reluctance to put safety first in roadway design, Mr. Garacochea makes it clear that he does not currently hold positions that would make him a bike-friendly candidate.
Bike The Vote L.A. 2016 Grade: C-