2017 Los Angeles CD11 Endorsement: Mike Bonin

Primary Election day: Tuesday, March 7, 7am-8pm
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Representing Los Angeles’ Westside, Councilmember Mike Bonin has been a stalwart leader on moving Los Angeles toward becoming a more multi-modal City; and in ensuring quality and safe infrastructure for those who get around by bike, on foot, and by using public transit. After winning election in 2013, Bonin quickly showed a passion for a more progressive transportation system in taking public transit to City Hall on his first day in office.

As Chair of City Council’s Transportation Committee, Bonin has been, as Streetsblog LA puts it, “pretty much at the center of nearly every major transportation-related decision the city makes.” Bonin played a critical role in pushing forward and shepherding adoption of Los Angeles’ ambitious and potentially transformative Mobility Plan 2035, working it through a difficult political process and consistently framing the importance of the Plan with impassioned and inspiring introductions before Council. Bonin broke with unwritten Council protocol as one of two votes of dissent when Councilmembers Koretz and Price removed important streets from the Mobility Plan’s Bicycle Enhanced Network. Bonin has pushed for funding for active transportation, championed bike share, supported LADOT’s People St program, and is working toward bringing protected bike lanes to Venice Boulevard and expanding Breeze Bike Share in Venice. With this track record, it should come as no surprise that Councilmember Bonin’s tireless work on transportation recently earned him a Streetsie award as 2016 Elected Official of the Year.

In his response to a Bike The Vote L.A. questionnaire, Councilmember Bonin reinforces how important a role he has played – and will continue to play – in improving mobility options within Los Angeles. Bonin expressed his goal of implementing Mobility Plan 2035, his commitment to pursuing Vision Zero, and his important role in “working to change some of my colleague’s minds about the Bicycle Enhanced Network.”

Councilmember Mike Bonin has been a critical regional leader on active transportation, safe streets, and more livable communities. Bike The Vote L.A. is honored to endorse Mike Bonin for re-election to the City Council in District 11.

(See below for Mike Bonin’s response to Bike The Vote L.A.)

1. You are known as a multi-modal council member who frequently takes Metro to and from City Hall. How often do you commute by bike, and what are the impediments that keep you from biking to more destinations and with more frequency?

I have commuted to events in the district by bike, but the vast geography of the district I represent and packed schedule of meetings after events after meetings makes it difficult to build in the time necessary to bike to every event (it isn’t uncommon to have more than a dozen meetings or events in a single day).  When my schedule is localized to the Mar Vista area, I will spend the day on my bike between meetings, and like to take my son to preschool by bike.

2. What role do you see for walking, biking, and transit in improving the lives of Angelenos?

Giving people options other than single-passenger vehicles is central to my work as a Councilmember. Not only does a good multi-modal transportation system make sense for the people who want a healthier and more cost-effective way to get around, but it also makes life better for all Angelenos by taking cars off the road and pollution out of the air. Every person who decides to walk, bike or take transit is a car that isn’t on the road causing traffic.

3. Los Angeles recently lost a great leader who fought to improve the safety of cyclists in Los Angeles, former Councilmember Bill Rosendahl. Can you share a little of how Councilmember Rosendahl influenced your perspective and approach to transportation?

Bill and I had a very symbiotic relationship when it came to politics and policy. It was a little hard to tell where his passions and interests ended and mine began.  We both shared a love for neighborhoods and a hatred for traffic gridlock.  It’s hard not to have those feelings and not have a strong commitment to cycling and cyclists. Bill’s interest in standing up for cyclists had very little to do with the mode of transportation; it has everything to do with the fact that he felt people were being marginalized, and voices were being ignored, and that always infuriated him. I was proud to help convince Bill to take the Streetsblog challenge and and hop a bike for the first time in decades for an educational video.

4. You regularly host “Bike With Mike” events. What inspired you to lead these rides, and what have been some of the biggest takeaways from riding with constituents at these events?

I made “Bike with Mike” events a regular part of my Access 11 program for a few reasons. First, Access 11 is intended to improve accessibility to local government by “bringing City Hall to the Westside” and giving people an opportunity to meet with their Councilmember without forcing them to trek downtown. “Bike with Mike” events allow me to meet neighbors who might not come out to an office hours event or to a community meeting. “Bike with Mike” events also offer neighbors, and especially families with young children, a family-friendly community event to participate in, where they can meet their neighbors and learn more about their community. Finally, I host these events to show that there is great, easy and enjoyable opportunities for people to bike in LA. I have been very happy that these “Bike with Mike” events are some of the best-attended Access 11 events I host, and I look forward to continuing to host them in my next term.

5. You were a critical figure in City Council in getting Mobility Plan 2035, Los Angeles’ guide for transportation, adopted. Why did you support the Mobility Plan, and what are the next steps to making its vision of safe mobility options – including a Bicycle Enhanced Network – a reality?

Nearly half of all trips taken in Los Angeles are less than three miles in length, but nearly 90% of those trips are done in a car. It makes no sense that generations of bad policy have forced people into their cars, and I championed the adoption of Mobility Plan 2035 because it will make our neighborhoods safer places to walk, bike and it will make taking transit easier and more convenient. Now that the Plan is adopted (repeatedly), I am going to work with the Department of Transportation and my colleagues on the City Council to make sure it is actually implemented. This will mean pursuing important goals like Vision Zero and working to change some of my colleague’s minds about the Bicycle Enhanced Network so people will be able to bike between neighborhoods with safe and convenient routes.

6. You expressed support for Metro’s funding ballot measure, Measure M. Why do you support Measure M, and what opportunities does it provide for Los Angeles both locally and regionally?

Getting Measure M approved was a major priority for me in the November election because it will be a game-changer for transportation in LA. Not only will an expanded transit network let people get out of their cars, but some of the biggest projects (such as the airport-Metro connection and rail through the Sepulveda Pass) dramatically improve life for people on the Westside by eliminating a significant amount of soul-sucking traffic, but the money that is dedicated to active transportation projects will provide needed funding for walking and biking infrastructure. I am very excited to serve as both the Chair of the City Council’s Transportation Committee and as a Board Member on the Metro Board of Directors, which will give me an influential voice in how this money is prioritized.