“My brother was riding a bike and a 16-wheeler hit him. He flew up in the air about 30-40 feet, bounced on the ground, and thanks to God, he survived, but that’s a danger,” said Justin Brimmer, CD 15 candidate, at the October 9th CicLAvia edition of Bikeside Speaks. “We give them bikes, we give them the opportunity to express themselves and go green, but yet they have to risk their lives to do it. Unacceptable. We need bike lanes all throughout [Council District 15],” added Brimmer.
Brimmer told hundreds of cyclists that he’d work to bring the Bike Plan’s Backbone Bikeway Network (Backbone) to life in CD 15. “[The Backbone] is necessary. A lot of the folks in our district do not have cars. A lot of the folks in our district have to depend on alternative modes of transportation to get to the places they need to go,” explained Brimmer before signing the Cyclists’ Bill of Rights.
To establish cycling as a long-distance form of transportation, Brimmer said more water stops are needed in CD 15. “When you’re riding and you’re using your bike, not just as a fun two-minute ride, but as a form of transportation, and just like they refuel with gasoline, we need to be able to refuel with Gatorade, or water or anything [cyclists] may need to keep them going that extra mile or two,” emphasized Brimmer who was joined on stage by his wife Misha and daughter Jordan. You can listen to Justin Brimmer at Bikeside Speaks in Enci Box’s embedded video below.
When asked by former Bicycle Advisory Committee President Glenn Bailey which parts of the LA Bike Plan he’d implement first, Brimmer said he’d look for creative solutions to accommodate pedestrian, cyclists and skaters on CD 15’s narrow streets. “I believe you have to have a requirement of at least 30 feet of right-of-way for five feet worth of bike lane space. A lot of [CD 15] streets are too narrow to actually accommodate this [requirement]. The Bike Plan has to be adaptive so that it can accommodate this type of geographic that we have in the 15th Council District. I know some districts, like in Venice, have a design that allows pedestrians to have one portion and bicyclists to have another portion. That’s the type of thinking we need in the 15th District,” replied Brimmer.
In addition to CD 15 representation on the Metro Board and enforcement of the city parking occupancy tax, Brimmer thinks bike facilities are part of a larger commitment to accommodate different modes of transportation that allows CD 15 residents to move. “A lot of people in our district depend on public transportation. We don’t have a Blue Line that goes all the way to San Pedro and connects Downtown. The DASH Line is being cut. Certain MTA Lines are being combined with other MTA lines. So a lot of it is the dependence on a bike or a skateboard,” Brimmer told Stephen Box.
At the October 22nd LA Harbor College CD 15 Candidate Forum, Brimmer finished first in a straw poll of 14 candidates. The former Hahn Deputy told audience members at Saturday’s Watts-Willowbrook Candidate Forum he thinks the real question is which candidate will truly fight hard to ensure that CD 15 receives its fair share of city resources. “We have increased fines, fees, and taxes, but our city services are decreasing,” asserted Brimmer at the October 29th Candidate Forum. “It’s crucial that we have repaved streets. The potholes are not only a danger to bicyclists, but they’re a danger to skateboarders, they’re a danger to car drivers, and I really think it’s a sign of a failing infrastructure,” insisted Brimmer. The CD 15 candidate said one of the things he would change is how the city “distributes the miles that get repaved,” which “need to be based off of a triage system. Based off of those streets that have the worst or have the most need, should be the ones that get repaved.”
To promote district pride and increase revenues, Brimmer said cycling can be “marketed in a way that invites the bicyclists internationally, if not nationally and locally, to come to our district and maybe eat there.” According to Brimmer, transforming CD 15 into a bike tourism center will require opening up streets and creating pathways that attract cyclists of varying skill level to the area’s diverse landscape and terrain. “So if you do want to bike up Western Avenue and go up those high hills, you need to be able to have that opportunity. If you want to stay low and stay flat and go through the Harbor Gateway, you need that opportunity as well,” Brimmer enthused.
Over the last month, Brimmer has reiterated he’s running for City Council because he believes too many young people’s lives are being cut short. “One in four members in [CD 15] lives in poverty. Sixty percent of our district is under the age of 34. So we have a fairly young demographic, but one of the things we have to understand is that we have to bring them to the forefront and give them something to do,” remarked Brimmer. “So I knew that what we needed was a visionary and a leader who had a vision or something that was big enough for everybody. Not only in San Pedro,Wilmington and Harbor City, but also the Harbor Gateway and Watts. So that’s why in the [campaign] title we have a joint vision ‘From the Bridge to the Towers,’” explained Brimmer.
Many thanks to Justin Brimmer and his family for participating in Bikeside Speaks and the democratic process! Bikeside looks forward to working with you on bringing the Backbone Network to life in CD 15!
Readers: Join Bikeside to flyer on behalf of the pro-walking and biking candidates of CD 15! For more information, please contact: 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!