Candidate campaign page: https://carlosforla.com/
Carlos Amador’s response to our questionnaire is informed by his own experience as a survivor of a hit-and-run, car-vs.-bicycle collision that sent him to the emergency room. Citing that experience, Amador supports prioritizing safety improvements on L.A.’s High Injury Network and implementing protected bike lanes on streets like Parthenia Street. He opposes raising speed limits on 12th District streets and supports alternatives to traffic enforcement, including redesign of neighborhood streets and educational programs.
Amador offers a range of helpful policy ideas to improve mobility options and help key segments of the 12th District community to get around without driving, including leveraging Measure M funds to improve street safety; creating more affordable housing for workers and students; and providing more tailored transportation options for seniors. With that kind of platform, voters and safe streets advocates will be well-served by Amador as councilmember.
Bike The Vote L.A. 2019 Primary Grade: A
(See below for full candidate questionnaire response)
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?
The city of Los Angeles seems to be living two different realities. On the one hand, we have some regions with forward-looking developments of biking infrastructures like the ones seen in downtown LA, pedestrian-friendly initiatives with diagonal crosswalks, and public transportation infrastructure booms that aim to make the city more accessible to the residents and less reliable on cars. At the same time, there are parts of the city, including the Council District 12, that have been neglected on developing a vision to make the streets in the region more bike-friendly, pedestrian accessible, and transit reliable.
There is that same-old argument that it is the “car culture” of Los Angeles that does not allow for such people-centered models in the city to take place. But, I believe, it is the city’s leaders who have not allowed for such initiatives to really flourish and change the culture in our region. I believe that if we want to see our city, and in particular the northwest San Fernando Valley, be fully accessible to all. There is a critical role that walking, biking, and transit accessibility for residents, workers, and students will play in improving the health of our communities, tackling climate change, and have a true right to the city. My role as a city council member to achieve this vision will be to provide the existing resources for the community, champion the necessary policy changes, and facilitate the conversations at the district level.
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?
Cal State University, Northridge, in many ways, is the heart and soul of the San Fernando Valley. It is the only public university in the valley where the next generation of workers, thinkers, and leaders go to gain the tools to improve their communities. It is also a cultural and economic center, providing opportunities to the surrounding communities to access jobs, education, and cultural events beyond the classroom. But, access to the university continues to be an issue for students, staff, and faculty alike. As a city council member, I will work with university administrators, state, county, and city officials to expedite the transit developments in the northwest San Fernando Valley under Measure M and other transit funded projects. This will help increase the accessibility to the university for everyone. I will work on expanding the current bus routes connectors, and work with university administrators in seeking avenues to expand the funding for vanpools and public transit passes. I am in full support of implementing protected bike lanes on Parthenia St. to connect the Metrolink Northridge station to existing bike lanes on Reseda Boulevard. I will also support the implementation of additional protected bike lanes in the surrounded areas, expanding the network beyond the immediate university radius. Finally, I believe that we must look into community-conscious affordable housing development so students, staff, and faculty can live closer to campus and decrease the need to travel long distances.
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?
As a bicycle rider, a survivor of a car-bicycle collision, and parent of a four year old girl who enjoys riding her own bike, I am in strong support of policies that strengthen protections for bicycle riders, pedestrians, and people moving through our streets in alternative modes of transportation.
In December 2011, while heading home from work on my bicycle, I was struck by a vehicle in a hit-and-run collision. The exact moment of the impact has been erased from my memory due to the concussion, but as I recovered my consciousness laying on the pavement, I remember asking a passer-byer to call my wife. The next memory I have is riding on the ambulance to the emergency room. That night I spent it in the emergency room recovering from the injuries. Thankfully, the injuries that I endured during the accident were relatively minor. And, I am happy to be able to continue to ride my bicycle.
Because of my own experience, I know first hand the importance of having strong policies in place to decrease the number of accidents and fatalities in our streets. To tackle street racing, we must take a community-driven approach where stakeholders from across the district come together and chart out a plan of action. As a council member I will bring community leaders, leaders of neighborhood councils, schools, surrounding colleges, and LAPD, to design and launch a program that creates education and community-accountability to decrease the number of street races in the valley.
And, I am in support of prioritizing safety on LA’s High Injury Network streets in Council District 12. Ultimately, the vision zero program should not only be about how we reduce the staggering numbers of roadway deaths, but how we envision a city where pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicle drivers, can co-exists in an equitable way.
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?
I agree that a main factor on whether a collision leads to a death has to do with the speed that the cars are traveling at. I also agree that there is a speeding problem across the city that must be addressed. But, I disagree with the decision to increase the speed limits in order to enforce speeding laws. The way to address speeding issues in our streets is not by following the framework a decades-old state law, nor is it by setting speed traps across the city. As a council member, I will support alternative models to address the issue of speeding on our streets, including lane reductions, radar speed signs to alert drivers, and community educational programs, among others.
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?
Our city streets should be equally shared with pedestrians and bicycle riders. But, one of the main reasons why community members do not feel safe traveling short distances on foot or by bike is the lack of safety on the streets. As a council member of the 12th district, I will work with community-based groups and transportation groups to identify and implement a robust protected bike lane system throughout the region. Everyone should have the opportunity to walk, ride their bikes, or use public transportation, whether to do school drop-offs, grocery runs, or do the daily errands. But, another factor that impacts the ability to walk or bike to do errands on the regular basis is the fact that for the majority of working adults in the district, their jobs are not close by. That means that working people need to spend longer times commuting to and from work, which limits the amount of time available to do school drop-offs or do errands by foot or bike. As a city council member, I will focus on bringing and keeping good-paying jobs in and around the district, so working people can spend less time commuting and more time in their communities. I will also take advantage of the Measure M transit infrastructure projects in the region to develop more Transit Oriented Communities. Developing community-conscious housing around major transit projects will shift our communities from being car-reliant, to becoming oriented around the local community.
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?
Our government bodies at every level have fallen behind on adapting and supporting programs that assist the aging populations. As a social worker, I am aware of the needs that these community members have as they age with dignity. As a council member, I will support and expand the public transportations systems to make the district and the region more accessible for seniors. I will work to expedite the transit developments established through Measure M funding and other transit funded projects. I will also work with community stakeholders, city agencies like the City Department of Aging, and County Departments, to assess the development of more community resource centers, in-home assistance, and tailored transportation support for the aging community.