2020 Los Angeles Endorsement: Sarah Kate Levy
Candidate Campaign Page: https://www.sarahkatelevy.com/
Earlier this year, Bike The Vote L.A. made an endorsement of an exceptional candidate, Sarah Kate Levy in the City Council District 4 race. Additional candidates have entered the race, and we are pleased to report that Bike The Vote L.A. has decided to make a second endorsement of another superb candidate, Nithya Raman. In making this dual endorsement, we recognize the incredible opportunity available to CD4 voters, in having a choice of not just one, but two inspirational leaders who understand transportation equity and are ready to take action on safe streets.
Los Angeles’ oddly gerrymandered Council District 4 stretches from Sherman Oaks and Toluca Lake through the Hollywood Hills and down a sliver of Hollywood into Miracle Mile, Hancock Park, and Koreatown; and through Griffith Park into Los Feliz and Silver Lake. Home to some of the most hotly contested active transportation corridors in the city, it’s been represented since 2015 by Councilmember David Ryu, who replaced termed-out Councilmember Tom LaBonge.
Bike The Vote L.A. sent questionnaires to announced CD4 candidates, asking them to outline their vision for a safer, more equitable, and more sustainable transportation system. Challenger Sarah Kate Levy’s response was so outstanding that Bike The Vote L.A.’s CD4 Election Committee has taken the rare step of making an early endorsement in next year’s primary election, set for March 3rd, 2020.
Levy has a long track record as a political activist working with Democrats for Neighborhood Action, Planned Parenthood Advocacy, and serving as the current president of the L.A. Metro National Women’s Caucus. Levy has placed housing, transportation, sustainability, and quality of life at the center of her campaign platform, and clearly done the homework necessary to be an informed leader on each of these important topics.
Levy’s impressive response to Bike The Vote L.A. outlines her determination to achieve Vision Zero by reducing deadly speeding, reorienting streets towards the safety of all road users, and creating a network of protected bike lanes. Levy makes it clear that her vision of L.A.’s transportation system is one where everyone has access to quality transit, one that isn’t designed around travel by cars, and one where children are able to walk and bike safely to school without the threat of death or serious injury.
Council District 4 has seen a marked shift in public support for safe streets over the past few years, with widespread support for the successful Rowena bike lanes in Silver Lake, championing of local roadway safety projects by neighborhood councils in Los Feliz and Mid City West, and the election of a progressive leadership slate to the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council. After years of a mixed record on safe streets, incumbent Councilmember David Ryu—who voted against L.A.’s Mobility Plan 2035 in November 2015 and killed a much-needed road diet for 6th Street—has recently appeared to shift his stance on safe streets by definitively backing the Rowena road diet after funding a study to question its effectiveness.
We applaud Councilmember Ryu’s newfound support for the Rowena road diet, which was implemented under his predecessor. But unfortunately, new bike and pedestrian infrastructure in CD4 has come at a dismal pace under Ryu’s leadership. Should Councilmember Ryu be re-elected, we encourage him to take a more proactive role in making the case for new speed calming infrastructure, protected bike lanes, and roadway safety reconfigurations throughout CD4.
We asked the candidates for their positions on implementation of projects that reduce deadly vehicle speeds on L.A.’s High Injury Network and safe bike infrastructure connecting to the L.A. River Path. Where Councilmember Ryu’s responses left his stance unclear, Levy expressed unwavering support for these critical projects. Levy also went a step further, outlining a number of additional projects she plans to implement in each of CD4’s neighborhoods. In her words, “Safer streets save lives, period.”
After years of inaction on Vision Zero, the City of Los Angeles is at a crossroads for determining whether it will take the bold steps necessary to end roadway deaths by 2025. With her determined, clear-headed support for the tangible, on-the-ground changes needed to make that vision a reality, Levy is the type of leader L.A. has been looking for. Bike The Vote L.A. is honored to endorse Sarah Kate Levy for Los Angeles City Council District 4.