1) Do you ride a bike, and if so, describe it?
Specialized road bike – it has narrower tires than mountain bikes, but wider than most racing bikes. There’s a detachable kid seat on the back. My next bike would have narrower tires (I thought commuting would require something more rugged, but I think that’s not true in SM), and fewer gears (currently 18), since they seem to provide more maintenance headaches than cycling efficiency. Not to mention I have a grudge with Shimano right now due to their efforts to kill our marine protected areas in California.
2) If you ride, what kinds of trips do you make by bike, how often, and do you ever ride with friends or family?
I ride less often these days, since my kids are in two different schools. I’m riding 1-2 days per week and I go to school drop-off, my office, and community meetings. When I have to go downtown SM, bike is most preferred because it’s easier for traffic and parking reasons.
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?
First, we need a bike action plan that shows the practical, immediate steps to quickly improve bikability and safety in SM. Second, we need city staff dedicated to bike issues and meeting with our bike community regularly. Third, we need to shift some resources in our budget that are currently dedicated to street improvements toward bike safety improvements. As a councilmember, I have begun this shift. I am pressing for the first item – the bike action plan. We are implementing the second – staffing at the city. I introduced the motion to dedicate city funds to bike education in our current budget.
4) $20,000 was recently budgeted by the council specifically for bicycling education. How do you think that money would be best spent?
I would like to see the funding spent on a) a conference that attracts some of the best people in the country to share ideas about making SM bike-friendly, b) providing bike education classes for the community, and c) enhancing the highly successful Bike-It Day of our schools and expanding it to become a city-wide event with other agencies and employers.
5) How would you work to improve the safety of our streets for all users?
In addition to the bike education programs mentioned, and increasing the number of bikers on the road (both of which improve safety), in the short term, I want to see us immediately deploy ‘bike boxes’ which indicate to bikes and cars where to stop your bike at intersections. I want to immediately paint lanes on every street that presently has the width to accommodate a lane but no paint yet. Also, hosting a regular Cyclovia to attract attention to bikes. In the medium term, I want to connect our lanes to destinations and neighborhoods in a more rational way. I want to develop a ‘bike boulevard’ demonstration and a ‘Safe Route to School’. When Expo is developed, it needs to accommodate bikes in the first instance.
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?
Yes to all!
7) What will you do to ensure that resources for bicycling are distributed equitably through out the city?
We are currently upgrading our parking meters and installing payment center – removing old meters. We should be converting those old posts to bike parking and massively increase deployment of safe bike parking. (Note from Gary; this is mostly in response to the context I provided in that some parts of the city have no bike parking at all.)
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 actually think this is the most difficult area of all the questions you pose because the city has the least amount of influence over behavior of drivers, many of whom live throughout the region. Proper signage, including street paint like sharrows will help. Safety in numbers will help too. By increasing the number of bikes on our streets, we change behavior of drivers. Police enforcement bears mentioning, but would never reach all behavior on the road.
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?
SM is in the midst of renovating the pier bridge and the california incline. Those projects may be able to create a better connection over our bluffs in the mid-to-north part of our city. In the South, we simply need better signage and dedicated crossings. These could provide a vibrant connection to Main Street businesses.
Bonus) Finally, you can also include any comment you’d like to say to my readers, on any topic you’d like.
Thanks, Gary, for being such a great activist. I encourage your readers to join the council during its complete budget process, which begins in January with priority setting and concludes in June with an adopted budget. Come tell us to put our money where our mouth is. Thanks!