2017 Los Angeles CD3 Endorsement: Bob Blumenfield

Primary Election day: Tuesday, March 7, 7am-8pm
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Running unopposed for his second term as L.A. City Councilmember, Bob Blumenfield has been a consistent advocate for walking and biking in Council District 3. Covering the West San Fernando Valley neighborhoods of Reseda, Canoga Park, Tarzana, Woodland Hills and Winnetka, Blumenfield has uniquely pushed for a more livable narrative in a landscape that’s highly suburban.

A longtime advocate for transit dating back to his days as a State Assemblymember, Blumenfield was a supporter of Measure M’s passage. In his cohesive and thoughtful response to Bike The Vote L.A., Blumenfield praises the first and last mile connectivity for residents to transit hubs that Measure M will bring.

Blumenfield also has a solid track record of supporting biking and walking in District 3 and beyond. As a member of the Arts, Parks, and River Committee in City Council, he helped the adoption of the Griffith Park Circulation and Enhancement Plan.On Ventura Blvd., Blumenfield is leading a study to reconfigure a portion west of the 101 crossing to include bike lanes, a road diet and diagonal parking. Blumenfield highlights in his response to Bike The Vote L.A. that he also champions the value of connecting the future L.A. River Bike Path across the entire San Fernando Valley, expanding beyond its current terminus in Canoga Park.

As the third District moves forward over the next 5½ years, one of the biggest question marks will be the implementation of the Great Streets project along Sherman Way in Reseda, which Blumenfield highlights as opportunities for quality bicycle infrastructure. The commercial spaces along this corridor are in need of rejuvenation and provides a great opportunity to bring back businesses where the Pacific Electric Railroad used to roam. We look forward to seeing Blumenfield’s optimism and prioritization of biking and walking to help ensure the street as a vibrant, central hub for the Reseda community.

Councilmember Blumenfield hosts an annual “Bike with Bob” ride to highlight bike infrastructure and improvements, now in its fourth year. As a strong ally in advocating for active transportation in City Council, Bike the Vote gladly endorses Bob Blumenfield for CD3.

(See below for Bob Blumenfield’s response to Bike The Vote L.A.)

1. What future do you see for active mobility, and public transit in the daily lives of Angelenos?

It’s an exciting time for active mobility. I have seen the city and region take significant strides toward improved active mobility and the transformation of the traditional Los Angeles “car culture” to one where transit, bicycles, and walking are becoming more viable options for more people. The passage of Measure M for transportation funding provides a path for far-reaching transit construction and I will support projects that facilitate the first and last mile via bikeshare, improved pedestrian access, and local bike lanes and bikeways in my district and the city.

2. A high percentage of people in Los Angeles without access to cars depend on bikes as a way to get to work and school, but lack safe options to commute. Mobility Plan 2035 established “safety first” as the priority in transportation decisions. Do you support prioritizing the safety of Los Angeles’ most vulnerable commuters in implementing Mobility Plan 2035, both in CD3 and throughout Los Angeles?

We must increase our public information programs to emphasize safety on our streets for cyclists as well as pedestrians and auto drivers. At the same time, we should urge stepped up enforcement against drivers who break the law and endanger cyclists. I do support prioritizing bicycle and pedestrian safety in the Mobility Plan and have been working most recently on incorporating plans for bike lanes in my “Reseda Rising” and  “Reimagining Ventura Boulevard” efforts, seeking input from the community on streetscape and transportation improvements to guide these projects.

3. Mobility Plan 2035 enacted a ‘Vision Zero’ for Los Angeles, with the goal of eliminating traffic-related deaths within 20 years. In order to meet this goal, LADOT identified a “High Injury Network” to prioritize safety improvements on L.A.’s most dangerous streets. However, after a year and a half, we still haven’t seen much action to reduce transportation-related deaths on City streets. What do you see as the hold-ups for improving safety on Los Angeles streets, and how would you work to address these impediments in reducing speeding to save lives?

Vision Zero remains our goal as a city, and a combination of infrastructure improvements, enforcement, and cultural change is needed to realize this goal. The cultural changes must include educating drivers about the danger of distractions and applicable laws.  Very few of the high injury network streets are in the West Valley or my district so I do not know specific reasons for what steps may or may not have been taken to address them, but in my district I work closely with LADOT and LAPD to identify intersections and streets that need upgrades and enforcement.  I also have requested that LAPD update the speed surveys on Valley streets to facilitate strong enforcement of limits.

4. Angelenos recently approved Metro’s transportation funding plan, Measure M, with an impressive mandate of support from over 71% of voters. What opportunities do you see for Measure M to improve the options for Angelenos get around in CD3 and elsewhere? Given that Measure M will return millions of dollars directly to the City of Los Angeles each year, do you support increased funding to make biking and walking in the city easier and safer for Angelenos?

As Chair of the San Fernando Valley Council of Governments Transportation Committee, I was a vocal advocate for improvements to the Orange Line and the regional transit network. I was gratified that Metro heeded my request to prioritize grade separations on the Orange Line in Measure M and implement operational improvements that will make it a more viable option for more riders, getting people where they want to go more quickly and providing an alternative to driving. Eventually the transit alternative to the 405 will be revolutionary for people going between the Valley and the Westside.

The Local Return component of Measure M will provide millions of dollars for local project, and I have urged that the local return in the City of Los Angeles be distributed fairly throughout the city. Voters and residents of the Valley must see their fair share of local return for neighborhood level improvements such as road repair and bike lanes. The City Council should adopt a policy for fairness in local return that also includes active transportation and safety.

5. Do you envision a time when the entirety of L.A. River within the City of Los Angeles would feature a continuous bike path? What would it take to transform the L.A. River within the 3rd District into a safe, inviting greenway for all ages?

The River runs right through the heart of my district. I have been a longtime supporter of the LA River, including allocating funding to River projects while I served in the State Assembly, supporting the River Master Plan and Alternative 20, and the purchase of the G2 parcel on the City Council. Each year I lead my Community Bike Ride to showcase bike infrastructure and amenities in my district, and this year the ride on February 26 will feature sections of the LA River and the new Confluence Park which I was proud to open last year. River projects take time, funding, and collaboration. My district has been able to open River bike paths, some of which are maintained by the City and others by Los Angeles County. Currently we are working to resolve some problems related to homeless encampments on the river and maintenance issues. My hope is that a successful partnership between levels of government, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, and the community will develop to keep the path safe and maintained for everyone, in a model that can be applied to the entire River corridor over time.

6. Los Angeles is beginning to employ bike share as a new transportation option, but many barriers to access remain, particularly the cost of riding and the fact that a credit card is needed to use the system. Some cities have offered subsidies to low-income riders and cash payment options to address these issues.  What can the City of Los Angeles do to help as many residents as possible enjoy the benefits that bike share will bring?

The public can be slow to embrace new concepts and that includes bike sharing. We must continue to publicize and promote the notion of bike sharing to make larger numbers of people aware of its availability. At my community bike ride in 2016, I partnered with Metro to showcase their bike share program that has been expanding this year.  To be successful, Metro needs to find optimal and convenient locations for their bike share stations to encourage ridership.