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Stella Maloyan’s response to our questionnaire can be summed up with one exceptional quote: “Vision Zero is insufficient. We need Action Zero.” While she doesn’t call anyone out by name, Maloyan makes clear that she’s dissatisfied with the inadequate pace of progress on the City’s signature street safety initiative, pointing out the hypocrisy of politicians who talk a good game on the need to address climate change but continue to stand in the way of meaningful improvements that would make it easier for more people to walk and bike.

Maloyan is committed to getting 10 miles of protected bike lanes installed throughout the 12th District in her first term, including a route connecting Cal State Northridge to Metrolink. At the same time, she pledges to work hard at engagement and coalition building so that crucial improvements gain lasting support from the community. Between her strong commitment to safe streets and her background in the nonprofit sector, Stella Maloyan is poised to be a strong and effective ally for bike and pedestrian advocates on the City Council.

Bike The Vote L.A. 2019 Primary Grade: A

(See below for full candidate questionnaire response)

Let me say at the outset that I am a strong supporter of public transit and active transportation. Most politicians would follow that sentence with a BUT; where they’d equivocate about why we can’t build protected bike lanes — too soon they’d say — or lower transit fares or increase frequency of bus service. With me, there is NO BUT. If elected, I would be the strongest ally on council to bicyclists, pedestrians and transit users. Period.

My seventeen years with the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) taught me many things. The first is that progressive change is achievable; I know this because my organization helped achieve great policies at LA City Hall. Second, winning policy requires team effort. It takes multiple progressive sectors coming together to push in smart ways. Finally, it takes leadership. I’m running for office because I’m tired of politicians saying one thing and doing another, or talking around an issue as a way to offend no one. You can’t have a councilmember preaching action on climate change while they’re blocking the construction of bicycle lanes from public transit to the largest commuter school in the entire United States.

1. What role do you see for walking, transit, and biking in the getting residents and students in Council District 12 to and from local businesses, parks, and schools?

Walking, biking and public transit are currently being used by people in the 12th District. My goal is to dramatically increase the opportunity for people to leave the cars at home. If people are given the opportunity to enter the street feeling safe and supported, I know they will walk and bike to school/work more often and use our streets for recreation.

It’s an infrastructure question, and this is where city council must stand firm: we must design streets so that pedestrians and bicyclists feel welcome and safe.

The design of LA’s streets, as well as the pace of our car-centric life, must be challenged. And I’m willing to do that. For me, it’s a quality-of-life question. Why must we cede so much of our public space to the automobile? Why do we make safety a secondary priority in order to allow cars to speed through our neighborhoods? Our priorities are off. And it’s critical to recognize that burning gasoline is LA’s #1 contribution to climate change. Our current convenient way of “getting around” is posing a danger to our children’s future.

LA City’s Mobility Plan 2035 lists over 150 strategies to reduce automobile use and make streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. Unfortunately, the City has been slow to implement the plan, and too many of these strategies remain merely ideas on paper.

Specifically, my goal in the first four years of my term will be to construct at least 10 miles of protected bicycle lanes in CD 12, with a particular focus on connecting Cal State Northridge (CSUN) with the Metrolink Northridge Station, and to begin to connect CSUN with the Balboa Orange Line Station, five miles away.

Second, I will work with LAPD to enforce speed limits and safety measures along key thoroughfares. Drivers need to be on notice that they must share the road.

Third, I will work with the City and Metro to expedite the construction of the North San Fernando Valley Bus Rapid Transit project. Metro has a lot on its plate right now, but that cannot be an excuse. I will use my position to prioritize this project – to move it from study phase to implementation. I will also work with Metro to ensure that these new rapid buses have room for bikes to be safely placed inside the buses as well.

Next, well-intentioned members of the Northridge public have opposed double-tracking Metrolink’s Ventura County Line. I sympathize with them. Nevertheless, I would work to negotiate with all parties to get a win for residents while making the line safer, reducing air pollution, and speeding the movement of passenger trains.

Last, although not in my district, I will help expedite the design and construction of the Sepulveda Transit Corridor and the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor. Once built, these lines will help CD 12 residents move about the region.

2. Thirty-eight percent of Cal State University, Northridge students do not have access to a car for their daily commute. What actions can Los Angeles take to make the CSUN campus more accessible for students, staff, and faculty including better bike, pedestrian, and transit connectivity around the campus? Additionally, do you support implementation of protected bike lanes on Parthenia Street to connect Metrolink Northridge Station to existing protected bike lanes on Reseda Boulevard?

California State University Northridge campus currently sees over 200,000 weekly car trips. I would work with the City and campus administrators to set measurable time-specific targets to reduce car trips. There are many options, from van-pooling to dedicated buses connecting the campus from the Red and Orange lines, from removing parking spaces to subsidizing Metrolink passes. (Today, CSUN offers reduced fares on the Metro U-Pass, but not for Metrolink.)

Yes, I support protected bike lanes, and Parthenia Street is acceptable. But a more suitable route may be Aliso Canyon Wash to Nordhoff Boulevard. A well-designed, well-lighted bike path along the wash, under the shade of oak trees, could make the bicycle commute more inviting, thereby drawing more students to this way of commuting. Through Measure M, Metro may even have funds for such a path.

3. CD12 sees some of L.A.’s worst speeding and street racing, with three out of the top five most dangerous intersections in all of California located within the District. In response to the condition of dangerous streets across the city, Los Angeles adopted a ‘Vision Zero’ program with the goal of significantly reducing the 240+ annual roadway deaths that the City currently sees. Do you support prioritizing safety on L.A.’s High Injury Network streets in CD12 such as Reseda, Roscoe, and Balboa Boulevards, even when there may be trade-offs in terms of automotive travel time or on-street parking?

Vison Zero is insufficient. We need Action Zero. Yes, I fully support prioritizing public safety efforts along CD 12’s major boulevards.

That said, I am sensitive to businesses that view street parking as benefitting their bottom line. I think it’s a question of education and smart planning. As part of street safety, I would establish a concurrent economic development taskforce to help businesses realize the financial benefit of having more livable (slower) streets.

4. LADOT has determined that speed is the predominant factor in whether traffic collisions are deadly. Despite this fact, Los Angeles recently increased speed limits on 100 miles of local streets to abide by state law, including raising the speed limit to 45 mph on Winnetka Ave., Wilbur Ave. & Reseda Blvd. in CD12. Would you support implementation of lane reductions and other traffic calming infrastructure in order to reduce vehicle speeds on surface streets in CD12?

Yes, with a caveat. Traffic calming must not look like big government telling people how to behave – that approach never works. Instead, there needs to be collaboration between government and on-the-ground communities and institutions. Local groups can provide context on why the change is needed. The best outcome would be for the CD 12 public to tell me what they want – and that they want traffic calming. I’m ready to lead on the issue and support dramatic changes to protect the public. But it will take a coalition, not just one leader standing alone, to achieve this goal.

5. Los Angeles’ traffic woes are compounded by the reality that many parents, students, and workers don’t feel safe commuting even short distances or performing school drop-offs walking, rolling, or by bike. What would you do as Councilmember to improve active transportation options around schools, public transit, and in commercial districts to provide better mobility options for CD12 residents?

As explained above, I will work with LAPD to enforce speed limits and promote safety measures in key areas, and I will work to build many miles of protected bikeways in the district. However, there is a human element as well. Angelenos are unaccustomed to sharing the road. As councilmember, I’d promote bicycling via various media, my newsletters and via social media.

6. While one of Los Angeles most recently developed districts, CD12 also has the largest senior population by percentage in the city. What improvements to mobility options would you implement to empower CD12’s senior population to comfortably age in place?

AARP is a major supporter of CicLAvia, which is a great reminder that we shouldn’t assume being older entails becoming inactive or immobile.

Affordable senior housing is one of my core issues – and to make those facilities livable by promoting biking and walking go hand-in-glove. Just as I will work to build affordable housing in my district and throughout Los Angeles, I will focus these efforts along transit corridors and work with planners to co-locate commercial and cultural attributes within walking distance.