“The most significant obstacle to CD 15 becoming more bike friendly is the amount of automobile traffic on our streets,” wrote Joe Buscaino, Council District 15 candidate, in Bikeside’s biking and walking survey. “It makes biking more difficult for casual riders. While we have some bike lanes throughout the district, I do believe we need many more,” said Buscaino (pronounced Boo-Sky-ee-No). He believes Neighborhood Councils are in the best position to make neighborhoods bike-friendly.
One of the issues dominating the CD 15 race is neighborhood safety. “Public safety is near and dear to my heart,” Buscaino told audience members and moderator Stephen Box at the October 29th Watts-Willowbrook candidate forum. “I will not cut city public safety services,” emphasized Buscaino. “Everything else, I’ll put on the table,” he added.
Buscaino has served as an LAPD officer for 15 years – six of those years as a Harbor Area Senior Lead Officer. In January 2006, Buscaino founded the Harbor Area Teen Community Police Advisory Board (CPAB) – an organization LAPD Chief Charlie Beck expanded citywide. The Teen CPAB focuses on educating teens about gang prevention measures and the fatal consequences of driving under the influence.
To make every street a safe place to bike for children, teens and adults, Buscaino says he wants to fully implement CD 15’s portion of the LA Bike Plan. “I have also believed for some time that we should start installing more bicycle-safe street grates and lighting for bikeways,” added Buscaino. The LAPD Senior Lead Officer told Bikeside he’s most excited about the Comprehensive Safe Routes to School Strategic Plan, which seeks to reduce injuries and fatalities through construction projects that improve safety of K-12 students who walk or bike to school. “There are some areas in San Pedro and Wilmington that accommodate bike riding,” noted Buscaino, “but I am sad to say that we still have a long way to go here, as we do across Los Angeles.”
Buscaino says the best part about his bike rides is the exercise and “the environmental benefits of riding a bike instead of driving.” As a California Conservation Corps Green Advisory Committee member, Buscaino says he’s excited about the Bike Plan’s Greenhouse Gas Emission Tracking Program. Such a program would quantify emissions reductions generated by less driving and more bike trips. In addition to car pollution, CD 15 residents are susceptible to the Port’s maritime and truck pollution, which costs $61 billion and results in 3,700 premature deaths each year.
Sustainable transportation such as biking could help reduce pollution and support Buscaino’s push for green job and product growth. “Even if I have to go through the White Pages,” Buscaino told the Watts candidate forum audience, “I’ll reach out to businesses to relocate to CD 15.” Green transportation could help draw more green technology firms and research centers to CD 15 by sustainably connecting people to jobs. Buscaino believes there’s room for bikeways growth in CD 15, including more bike paths, lanes and routes in San Pedro, Watts and Wilmington. “I believe that bike friendliness is likely to spread if it is implemented in the City of Los Angeles,” the San Pedro insider told Bikeside. “Bike riders will demand more bike-friendly policies and programs in adjoining cities if they can get them in LA,” asserted Buscaino.
Embedded into every conversation about his campaign is Buscaino’s ties to the San Pedro community. “The majority of my campaign contributions come from people who live in CD 15. That is unheard of and unprecedented,” declared Buscaino at the October 29th candidate forum. “I’m proud I’m not endorsed by public officials,” he told members of the Watts community.
Thank you, Joe Buscaino, for answering Bikeside Survey and for your interest in sustainable transportation! Bikeside looks forward to working with you on making the streets of CD 15 safer for all road users.
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!