Candidate campaign page: http://vote4meghan.com/
The diverse and vibrant community of Culver City sits at a turning point. With new light rail access to Downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica, walkable residential and commercial districts, and a location near L.A.’s traffic-choked Westside, the City is well-positioned to forge a healthy and sustainable path on mobility. Unfortunately, according to the most recent rankings from the Governor’s Office of Traffic Safety, Culver City currently ranks 11th worst of 92 peer cities statewide for pedestrian injuries and 17th worst for bike-related injuries. Some important decisions lie ahead that will affect safety and quality of life for residents, workers, and visitors: whether to adopt Vision Zero, how to bring a bike share system to the city, and whether to provide protected bike connections between the Expo Line and the City’s thriving Downtown (to name just a few). With three of five seats on the Culver City Council up for grabs, the April 12, 2016 election will determine the approach the City takes on all of these issues.
Several weeks ago, Bike The Vote L.A. sent questionnaires to all seven candidates for City Council to ask them where they stand on the issues and how they would tackle the challenges surrounding sustainable transportation in Culver City. Several candidates impressed us with their responses. Scott Wyant reminded us of his role in getting key bicycle connections included in an Expo-adjacent development project during his time on the Planning Commission. Daniel Lee emphasized the need for the City’s transportation system to provide low-cost alternatives to driving. And Thomas Small voiced strong support for protected bike lanes, even if it means making tough choices to reallocate street space currently devoted to cars. Livable streets-minded voters are fortunate to have such a great slate of candidates from which to choose this year.
As we reviewed the responses, however, it was clear that there was one candidate whose record, policy positions, and commitment to the cause of safe and sustainable streets made her worthy of special recognition: Meghan Sahli-Wells.
The only incumbent Councilmember in the race as well as the City’s immediate past Mayor, Sahli-Wells is familiar to livable streets advocates as a co-founder of the Culver City Bicycle Coalition and out on the road as a daily bike commuter. On the Council, she’s been a strong ally for residents who care about healthy, sustainable mobility. She worked to bring CicLAvia to the City in 2013 and 2015; voted against the removal of crosswalks on Jefferson Blvd; worked to implement Safe Routes to School improvements to reduce speeding and enhance safety near Culver City schools; and supported implementation of the City’s Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan, which she helped to craft prior to her election to the Council. She’s taken on leadership roles that touch transportation issues beyond the City’s borders, serving on the Expo Line Construction Authority Board and on the Energy and Environment Committee of the Southern California Association of Governments.
In her response to our questionnaire, Sahli-Wells put forward a compelling vision of Culver City’s transportation future, from modest improvements like signage and bicycle loop detectors, to more ambitious undertakings like protected bike lanes and a Vision Zero initiative to work toward the elimination of all traffic deaths. She reminded us of her role in advancing the City’s participation in the coming Westside bike share system, which is now in the feasibility planning stage. Perhaps most importantly, she showed a commitment to prioritizing the safety of vulnerable street users in her willingness to dedicate street space to install protected bike lanes and in her focus on lowering vehicle speeds on neighborhood streets.
For these reasons, Sahli-Wells is best positioned to provide leadership in implementing Complete Streets in Culver City. We hope that, once Culver City residents have cast their votes on April 12, she will be returned to the City Council and joined by two other livable streets-minded colleagues who will stand with her when the time comes to make difficult decisions. We wholeheartedly endorse Meghan Sahli-Wells as an exceptional leader who will continue to make Culver City a more livable and vibrant community.