Thursday, October 7, 2010

Candidate Questionnaire: Kevin McKeown (4 year Santa Monica city council seat)

(Kevin took some extra time to compile some photos to go with his answers and I have included them with the appropriate questions below.)

1) Do you ride a bike, and if so, describe it?

Yes, a 1977 Miyata Liberty bought new at Helen's Cycles. This was back when the Miyata was made with 1024 high-tensile steel tubing, and while it's not a light bike, you can't argue with 33 years of durability! Here it is about a year old, (picture1) and more recently (picture2) just after I rode it in the Ocean Park Association's Main Street Fourth of July parade.

2) If you ride, what kinds of trips do you make by bike, how often, and do you ever ride with friends or family?

There have been times when I rode daily as basic local transportation. I've also taken my bike on the back of my car on a number of road trips, riding everything from the rim of the Grand Canyon, to the bike path along the edge of Manhattan and across the Brooklyn Bridge. I now sometimes ride with my wife Genise, a less experienced rider who makes me aware of how challenging some of our local streets can be.

3) On the Council, what will you do to ensure the goals set by the LUCE plan for various bicycling improvements, are seen through to completion in a timely and accountable fashion as we move forward. Additionally for incumbents, what are any notable actions you've done on the council in the past to improve the environment for bicycling in Santa Monica?

I'm one vote of seven on the City Council, but I'm always a vote for bicycles. I've insisted on bike lanes when streets were reconfigured. In the new neighborhoods to be created from old industrial areas of Santa Monica, I plan to push for complete separation of cars and bikes, as is commonly done in Europe. I took this photo (picture3) a few years ago in Helsinki. Even where that proves cost-prohibitive, I want clearly painted bike crossings like this one (picture4) I saw last winter in Barcelona.

4) $20,000 was recently budgeted by the council specifically for bicycling education. How do you think that money would be best spent?

On educating motorists as well as bicyclists. The lack of understanding that bicycles have a right to be on the road is appalling.

5) How would you work to improve the safety of our streets for all users?

We need to learn to demand and design complete streets. I've studied how successful cities integrate bicycles with cars (and often light rail or trams as well!). Sometimes this means separation (picture5), but other times all it takes is a cheap coat of paint (picture6) to make it abundantly clear that bicycles have a place on the road, even in areas of demanding traffic maneuvers. At intersections, we need to make our traffic signals aware of bicyclists, or at least install crossing buttons where cyclists can reach them (picture7), like in the Netherlands.

6) In the interest of improving multi-modal connectivity, would you support upgrading Big Blue Bus racks to ones that can house 3 bikes? As some bus stops in the city are being upgraded, would you ensure bike parking considerations are made at important bus stops in addition to the coming expo-rail station stops?

I was the Councilmember who seven years ago successfully pushed for the current 2-bike racks on all Big Blue Buses (picture8). Now that upgrades are available, we should phase them in. I've already been adamant about bicycle access at future Expo stops, including the ability to get bikes onto Expo trains, and have been pushing for more bike parking throughout the city. We're still a ways from the facilities at this shopping center in Copenhagen (picture9), but we should insist on getting there.

7) What will you do to ensure that resources for bicycling are distributed equitably through out the city?

Encourage bicycling throughout the city. We will naturally need to place the resources where the need is greatest, and growing ridership will justify amenities.

8) What would you do to ensure it be common knowledge that bicycles belong on the street, and that everyone, including drivers, understand the various rights, rules and regulations as they pertain to cycling?

I wouldn't mind in the least being as forthright about the matter as the Irish (picture10). We've made a start with sharrows, and I've already suggested painted (not just striped) lanes. The city funding for "bicycle education" has to be used for drivers as well as bicyclists. For our part, we have to stay off the sidewalks. As justifiable as it may seem for safety reasons when confronted with heavy traffic, riding on the sidewalk generates immense ill will towards cyclists, and is, in effect, a capitulation to the
canard that we don't have a right to the streets themselves.

9)  How would you propose improving bicycling connectivity to the beach bike path, to promote more synergy with beach riders and local business, as well reduce driving trips to the beach by residents who live close enough to ride there?

I recently drew this map (picture11) to show city planners how pathetic our current connection from the city proper down to the bike path really is. That convoluted red line is the route I have been following for 34 years. I will insist that the new Pier bridge not only accommodate cyclists, but
encourage them. Likewise, I am working with engineers on the California Incline reconstruction to include safe ways for bicycles to access the spiral-ramped cycle/pedestrian bridge across PCH.

Bonus) Finally, you can also include any comment you'd like to say to my readers on any topic you'd like.

All we have to do is make bicycling attractive enough (picture12), and the world will follow us.

If you agree with what I've done and what I plan to do for bicycling in Santa Monica, please help me get re-elected:


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