“The 15th District has failed to develop a practical bike network that makes pedestrian and bicycle mobility a true option of transportation for their community,” wrote Council District 15 candidate Jayme Wilson in September’s Bikeside’s survey on bike friendliness. “Bicycle infrastructure, traffic calming devices, traffic signals and other street improvements that [support] the pedestrian and biking activities within the 15th District must be added,” according to Wilson.
Bikeside’s 20-question survey aims to measure candidates’ support for the five E’s of bike friendliness: engineering, encouragement, enforcement, education and evaluation. Wilson said that he favors bike-friendly engineering solutions that “minimize the negative impact of parking by accommodating bicyclists, carpool and car share vehicles in design of upcoming public parking infrastructural sites.”
Former San Pedro Chamber of Commerce President Jayme Wilson is one of 14 candidates vying for the Council District 15 (CD 15) seat vacated by former Councilmember Janice Hahn who was recently elected to the 36th Congressional District seat. CD 15 encompasses the communities of San Pedro, Watts, Wilmington, North and South Harbor Gateway and the Port of Los Angeles. The election for the CD 15 seat will be held on November 8, 2011. If more than 50% of the vote does not go to any one candidate, the top two vote-getters of any political party, will advance to the January 17, 2012 runoff.
As you’ll see below, Bikeside’s survey covered topics ranging from implementation of the LA Bike Plan to regional planning to speed limits. Read on to see what Jayme Wilson had to say, feel free to comment below and don’t forget to vote on November 8th, if you live in CD 15!
[Editor’s note: I just wanted to jump onto Bikeside Chris’s post here and mention that I spoke 1 on 1 with Jayme at last week’s candidate forum for a few minutes. He really impressed me. He knew about the relative affordability of bike lanes, and when I started running through cost comparisons of bike lanes, sidewalks, repaving and bike paths, he understood it all. That’s pretty uncommon to find someone who is that comfortable with the quantitative side. Afterward, he launched into a description of a Safe Routes to School application he had collaborated on, and he discussed curb cuts and traffic calming. On the whole, he gets it, as much as any candidate I’ve talked with yet. – Alex Thompson]
Q&A With CD 15 Candidate Jayme Wilson
Bikeside: How often do you bike?
Wilson: Two or more times a year.
Bikeside: What’s the best part of your bike rides? What’s the worst? How can we cultivate more of the good and less of the bad?
Wilson: I am a huge advocate of bikers and active people in my community. I believe exercising, especially biking, is not only great for our environment but also an activity that enhances our health and promotes healthy living. I not only encourage my community members to participate in cycling activities, but as the next City Council member, I will see to it that there are more bicycle friendly roads available. By fixing the sidewalks and making smoother roads in the 15th District, I believe the community will be more attractive for all active citizens to enjoy.
Bikeside: In Bikeside’s recent survey, 70% of respondents (386 out of 552) say that Los Angeles is not bike friendly. Generally speaking, what do you see as the obstacles to CD 15 becoming bike friendly?
Wilson: I believe the sidewalks in my district have not been maintained, making it hard for active members of the community to make much use out of them. It concerns me that the trees and the hedges are not being cleaned out, making it dangerous for cyclist to bike along the side of the road or even on the sidewalks. Furthermore, there are also too few bike lanes incorporated into 15th District’s roads! As the next City Council member, I will see to it that there are funds being set aside for building bike friendly roads for active citizens to use.
Bikeside: Which components of the 2010 LA Bike Plan do you plan to implement in CD 15 to make streets safer and more inviting for cyclists?
Wilson: I like the plan that has been incorporated into the West Hollywood and Santa Monica Boulevardwhere there exists Bike friendly routes and lanes added to their streets. I believe the 15th District has failed to develop a practical bike network that makes pedestrian and bicycle mobility a true option of transportation for their community. Though, I support a shuttle service system to be active for key destinations of my district via the West Hollywood General Plan 2035: M-2 section. I do believe that we should seek to incorporate suggestions like minimizing the negative impact of parking by accommodating bicyclists, carpool and car share vehicles in design of upcoming public parking infrastructural sites. I believe we have the capacity to collect fees from developers and even set aside city funds to follow projects in sidewalk improvement, aesthetic repaving and landscaping, bicycle infrastructure, traffic calming devices, traffic signals and other street improvements that [support] the pedestrian/biking activities within the 15th District. In addition, as funding becomes available, as a City Councilmember, I believe we should attempt to explore the development of bicycle stations throughout the 15th District and at major transit stops that [include] lockers, showers, bicycle repairs and even bicycle sharing facilities. Lastly, as employers of the local government, we should also provide incentives for employees to participate in car-sharing and bike sharing programs.
Bikeside: Are there areas of your district that are bike friendly?
Wilson: Yes, but too few and too far apart! That concerns me!
Bikeside: What aspects of those bike friendly streets can you cultivate in other areas?
Wilson: We need to incorporate public parking infrastructural sites for cyclists, improve our sidewalks, aesthetic repaving and landscaping, traffic calming devices. We need to add more traffic signals and other street improvements that [support] the pedestrian/biking activities within the 15th District.
Bikeside: In your view, what are the pros and cons of Caltrans’ current methodology for setting speed limits?
Wilson: The new rules have lots of cons to poke at, speed limits are set based on how fast the “eighty-fifth” percentile of drivers are speeding. This is not safe for our communities, especially our children, and [does] not protect our active members! The only pro in the matter, that I can think of, is that a law concerning how to evaluate speed limits is being upheld and maybe that people are going to get to their destinations faster, but not necessarily safer!
Bikeside: What have you done or worked on in the past that shows your record of being involved in Safe Streets campaigns?
Wilson: For three decades I have given my time and resources to serve on a variety of local organizations; I was a founding member of the Port of Los Angeles Charter School, which has guided young people to not only stay out of trouble, but also aided about 80%+ to graduate and go off to college. I have served as a Chair of the San Pedro Business Improvement District and served three times as Chairman of the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce. Lastly, I was heavily involved in launching the Wilmington Waterfront Park, in fact Jesse Marquez, the director of the Audubon Center at Deb park, is one of my campaign endorsers.
Bikeside: What do you think should be the role of Neighborhood Councils in transportation policy?
Wilson: I believe that local representatives are the individuals that should take full responsibility in making sure the transportation policies of their community are not only safe, but can also promote active life styles. Citizens in the community should be exuded by energy when they get out of the house. The beauty and safety of the 15th District streets can compel even the most inactive person to want to get out and take a stroll, we as city representatives, should just maintain the aesthetics of the sidewalks and streets, for the rest has been offered by our Districts’ geography.
Bikeside: After taking this survey, what do you think about LA and cycling? Does it seem like a more challenging question or easier? Has your perspective changed?
Wilson: I’ve always been a big supporter of safer, better streets. I thank you and your organization for bringing these vital issues to light. As a City Council member, I would continue to support safer, more bike-friendly streets.
Readers: Join Bikeside to flyer on behalf of the pro-walking and biking candidates of CD 15! For more information, please contact Bikeside at contact@BikesideLA.org. If you’re a cyclist who lives in Council District 15, don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, November 8th! Click HERE to find your polling place!