The survey results are in: CA-36 Congressional Candidates are Committed to Cycling!

By Heidi Sickler

Bikesiders! The final results from Bikeside’s CA-36 Congressional Candidate Survey are in!  In total, we got nine of the sixteen candidates to respond, including the major frontrunners Debra Bowen, Janice Hahn, Marcy Winograd and Mike Gin.  That’s not bad for a scrappy bike org!  Now the Bikeside Steering Committee is deliberating on who to endorse, but in the meantime, check out the results.  You can download a short PDF summary here (PDF), but below you will find the full detail of all the responses (almost 7000 words!)  Of particular interest – check out the universal support for expanding CicLAvia, as well as the number of candidates who are willing to join Bikeside at LA Critical Mass.

We can’t say thank you enough to the nine responsive candidates for taking a very tough survey: Debra Bowen (Democrat), Janice Hahn (Democrat), Michael Gin (Republican), Marcy Winograd (Democrat),  Stephen Eisele (Republican), Michael Chamness (Coffee Party), Dr. Loraine Goodwin (Democrat), George Newberry (Republican), and Katherine Pilot (No Party Preference) – thank you all.

Five of the CA-36 Candidates at the Torrance Police Officers Association forum.  Photo by Alex Thompson

Five of the CA-36 Candidates at the Torrance Police Officers Association forum. Photo by Alex Thompson

There was unanimous support among all nine candidates for improving biking and walking conditions in Southern California. Secretary of State Debra Bowen expressed her support for campaigns that encourage motorists to respectfully share the road with cyclists.  She also noted her support for bicycle friendly policies while serving in the California Assembly and Senate. We liked LA City Councilwoman Janice Hahn’s proposal to require bike plans for any local community that takes federal transportation funds – this is a bold policy that deserves further consideration.  In Redondo Beach, Mayor Michael Gin is building bike friendly communities through the South Bay Bicycle Master Plan and the “Vitality City” biking and walking initiative.  Mayor Gin believes that Redondo Beach’s model can be replicated nationally through federal legislation.

Bikeside was impressed to see candidates’ interest in participating in a Critical Mass ride this year and in expanding CicLAvia beyond 7.5 miles. We’re thrilled to hear that Michael Chamness will be joining Bikeside for the next Critical Mass ride! We were also encouraged to see that Marcy Winograd continues to be a strong supporter of a Cyclists’ Bill of Rights that says bicyclists should be able to ride safely and free of fear on our city streets. We hope that Stephen Eisele remains involved in bike planning in the South Bay Area. He believes that in order to win over the hearts and minds of the people, cities should launch pilot programs in small communities to demonstrate the benefits of biking.  Overall, candidates agreed on the need for federal policies that raise the street presence of cyclists and educate drivers to promote a safe coexistence of the two modes of travel on the same roadways.

Here’s how each candidate would make the 36th Congressional District more bike friendly:

Support legislation to amend the Affordable Care Act to require health insurance companies to offer discounted premiums for people who bike to work, as many European countries currently do.

  • Yes: Hahn, Winograd, Gin, Chamness, Eisele, Goodwin, Newberry, Pilot,
  • No: [no candidate responded this way]
  • Other: Bowen

Elaboration on those responses:

  • Debra Bowen: “I have recently heard about the report that says Denmark saves $1 in health care costs for every 1 mile cycled by its residents and my interest was peaked by Germany’s offer of discounted premiums for people who bike to work. I think there’s an opportunity to work with the Congressional Bicycle Caucus and Health Care Caucus to establish innovative policy that provides incentives promoting healthier choices in our communities such as bicycling and walking to work.”
  • Janice Hahn: “I am an avid cyclist. I recognize the many benefits bicycling serves: from better personal health to a greener environment. Also, bicyclists are just friendlier people! President Obama’s Affordable Care Act included several pilot initiatives seeking to lower the steep rise in health care costs. As part of these pilot programs, I would explore health care discounts to encourage exercise. But this is not the only opportunity to incentivize cycling. We should require the development of master bicycling plans for local communities who take federal transportation funds. And we should adjust taxing policies to recognize the equivalent fuel-costs saved by bicycle commuting as tax deductible.”
  • Marcy Winograd: “It’s healthier to bike to work, so it should be in the insurance industry’s interest to offer lower premiums. Ultimately, we need to eliminate insurance companies from the health care equation, as they provide zero health care.”
  • Stephen Eisele: “I believe preventive care to be extremely important and would support incentivizing individuals to maintain an active lifestyle that will help reduce the cost of healthcare.”
  • Dr. Loraine Goodwin: “Persons who exercise should be considered for discounted premiums.”

Pledge to support the expansion of CicLAvia beyond its current 7.5 mile route.

  • Yes, I pledge to support the expansion of CicLAvia and I pledge to support extending it to 15 miles of LA streets: Bowen, Hahn, Winograd, Gin, Newberry.
  • Yes, I pledge to support the expansion of CicLAvia: Chamness, Eisele, Goodwin, Pilot.
  • No, in these hard economic times, we cannot afford to spend money on CicLAvia or other bicycle advocacy events: [no candidate responded this way]
  • Other (please elaborate below): [no candidate responded this way]

Elaboration on those responses:

  • Dr. Loraine Goodwin: “I would have to see the proposed routes, but I am sure the 15 miles would be great.”
  • Janice Hahn: “Yes, I pledge to support the expansion of CicLAvia and I pledge to support extending it to 15 miles of LA streets. The Ciclovia program in Bogata, Colombia — the inspiration for L.A.’s program — occurs every Sunday and the city is even experimenting with closing roads on three weekdays a year. There is enormous room for this program to grow here in L.A.”
  • Katherine Pilot: “I support CicLAvia, but would not look to the taxpayer for funding.”

Encourage motorists, law enforcement, and traffic engineers to recognize that bikes have a right to use our streets. [candidates can pick as many answers as apply]

  • I will establish or support a federal funding source dedicated to increasing staff dedicated to improving bike friendliness at the local, state and federal level: Hahn, Winograd, Gin, Chamness
  • I will commit to riding my bicycle to work at least once a week: Hahn, Winograd, Chamness, Goodwin, Newberry.
  • I will sponsor legislation that establishes federal income tax credits for bicyclists: Gin, Winograd, Hahn, Chamness, Eisele, Newberry.
  • I will sponsor a national campaign that encourages motorists to respectfully share the road with cyclists: Winograd, Hahn, Gin, Chamness, Eisele, Goodwin, Pilot.
  • Other (please elaborate below): Bowen.

Elaboration on those responses:

  • Marcy Winograd: “I agree with the cyclists Bill of Rights that says bicyclists should be able to ride safely and free of fear on our city streets. Anything that I can do to make that a reality, I will gladly embrace.”
  • Debra Bowen: “I will support campaigns that encourage motorists to respectfully share the road with cyclists.  I have little experience with federal funding programs but while I was in the Legislature, I worked with Tom Torlakson, who regularly rode his bike to work and has sponsored many bicycle friendly policies, all of which I supported.  Drivers should be encouraged to recognize cyclists’ rights through education and enforcement of existing traffic laws.  I understand that local public safety agencies, such as LAPD, are working to educate their own officers about the laws and the need to enforce them.”
  • Janice Hahn: “I am deeply disturbed by the lack of respect drivers afford bicyclists on our roads. There is only so much we can do to legislate changes — we also need to improve road behavior on a cultural level. Beyond anything I might do in the halls of Congress, I will be an outspoken advocate for the rights of cyclists. I am proud of Mayor Villaraigosa’s efforts in this regard, speaking passionately about bicycling every chance he gets.”
  • Stephen Eisele: “I believe this movement should be grown organically with strong support from elected officials. Tax credits for bicyclists is a great step forward.”
  • Dr. Loraine Goodwin: “Biking is more of a local, city, state issue – but I support it.”

In light of the Complete Streets Act, we asked candidates what they would do to ensure that roads are used to accommodate all modes of travel:

  • Debra Bowen: “I am not familiar with the Complete Streets Act, but I am very interested in learning about your ideas on how to implement standards that ensure that our transportation investments create streets that are safe for everyone.”

  • Janice Hahn:For decades, we have been stuck in the feedback loop of our reliance on cars. Our historical preference for cars drove the development of our car-centric transportation infrastructure, which, in turn, reinforced our preference for cars. As someone who has spent time driving on the traffic jammed and smog choked freeways of Los Angeles, I can tell you, this is not a sustainable path. It is not sustainable for our environment, and it is not sustainable for the growth and economic viability of our cities. We need a smarter transportation network, one that takes advantage of all modes of travel. In Congress, I would continue to fight to modernize our roads to encourage precisely the diversity of conveyance described in the Complete Streets Act. One way or another, we must make our streets suitable for more than just cars. It is the only way forward.”
  • Michael Gin: “At the very least, I would look for ways to incentivize communities to designate more of their streets as bicycle routes (at least Class 3 routes). Also, I would look for ways to link bicycle routes in the region so that the development of safe bicycle routes is done in a coordinated way. In Redondo Beach, we are the lead South Bay city in developing a South Bay Bicycle Master Plan. The development of this plan will compliment our Vitality City efforts and our desire to help create a healthier community. This is a model that can be shared through possible Federal legislation or incentives across our Nation.”
  • Michael Chamness: “Bike lane mitigation for all road improvements statewide and increased investment credits for private developers.”
  • Stephen Eisele: “I think it’s important especially in residential areas and in the coastal areas of the 36th district that we develop future projects with other modes of transportation in mind: walking, biking, smart cars etc. I would want to incorporate and advocate within that plan any opportunity to think about our future needs and about a potential LA where alternative modes of transporation are more frequently in use. We tend to be extremely myopic in our thinking when it comes to infrastructure–time to plan for the future!”
  • Marcy Winograd: “I would push for bicycle lanes, wider streets, bike boxes, etc.”
  • Dr. Loraine Goodwin: “I will have to review this Act.”
  • George Newberry: “Ensure adequate lines are drawn.”

Support continued dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects such as ISTEA’s Transportation Enhancements Program?

  • Yes, I support continued dedicated funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects such as ISTEA’s Transportation Enhancements Program: Bowen, Winograd, Chamness, Eisele, Newberry.
  • Yes, AND I will introduce or support legislation to increase funding levels for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure during the next reauthorization of the surface transportation bill: Hahn, Gin,  Goodwin.
  • No, in these hard economic times, we cannot afford to spend money on the Transportation Enhancements Program’s bicycle and pedestrian projects: [no candidate answered this way]
  • Other (please elaborate below): Pilot.

Elaboration on those answers:

  • Marcy Winograd: “In these tough economic times, it makes sense to help people forsake the car for an alternate, much less expensive means of transportation.”
  • Katherine Pilot: “I am in full support of maintaining the current infrastructure for the well-being and safety of our commuters, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Hopefully in the near future we can plan on larger transportation projects that currently are too expensive to facilitate.”

Do you own a bike? When was the last time you rode it?

  • Yes, I rode my bike this week. – Chamness, Eisele, Goodwin, Newberry AWESOME!
  • Yes, I rode my bike this month. – Pilot.
  • Yes, I rode my bike this year. – Hahn, Bowen, Winograd, Gin
  • No, I don’t own a bike. – [no candidate answered this way]

Elaboration on those answers:

  • Stephen Eisele: “I ride my bike every weekend along the beach and to get around local parts of town.
  • Katherine Pilot: “I live in the South Bay and pretty much park my car come Friday evening and either walk or bike ride to get around during the weekend. For any errands duing the week I don’t get done on the way home from work, I usually walk.”
  • George Newberry: “It’s a Trek Madone.” – editor’s note – Newberry convinced me just by describing his bike.  Ask any real biker about biking and they’ll eventually tell you what kind of bike.  I’ll bet Newberry is a serious cyclists.
  • Janice Hahn: “Yes. I own an old mountain bike and I hardly ride it enough! I can’t wait to go for a weekend ride with my grandchildren after the election.” – editor’s note – again, there is nothing more convincing than describing your bike.

Will you sponsor or co-sponsor legislation that establishes funding parity among all modes of transportation, including bicycling and walking?

  • Yes: Hahn, Winograd, Gin, Chamness, Newberry, Pilot
  • No: [no candidate answered this way]
  • Other (please elaborate below): Bowen, Eisele, Goodwin

Elaboration on those answers:

  • Debra Bowen: “I support improvements in bicycle infrastructure and I am interested in learning about any and all potential mechanisms for making it easier to incorporate walking and bicycling in our communities.  I also support fairness in transportation funding, but am not sure what is meant by parity when costs per project miles vary.  We need infrastructure funding that supports bicycling and walking as well as mass transit.  I look forward to learning more about the Transportation Enhancements, CMAQ, TIGER II grant funds and SAFETEA-LU’s Non-Motorized Pilot projects.”
  • Janice Hahn: “For decades we have invested heavily in automobile infrastructure. Right now, we need more than parity. In order to compensate for this long imbalance, we need to subsidize mass transit and cycling in every opportunity we can. There is no reason why auto infrastructure cannot be maintained and improved with added emphasis on the needs of cyclists. The specific legislative programs we use might change over time, but I will focus on increasing the number of cyclists, pedestrians, and mass transit commuters.”
  • Katherine Pilot: “I will support additional funding once we are able to create a solution for our deficit and budget. Maintaining the current infrastructure is important for me and our district.”
  • Stephen Eisele: “I will have to look at the issue closely. I support this measure in principle but want to see exactly where the funds will be going to before making an informed decision. But we should encourage walking/biking as alternatives (and provide the infrastructure to do so).”

Would you like to come out and ride Los Angeles Critical Mass with Bikeside? It happens the last Friday of every month and it begins around 7 p.m. at Wilshire and Western.

Editor’s note – we are really stoked about these answers – a lot of candidates committed to join us at an upcoming Critical Mass ride, including a commitment from Chamness ride with us at this month’s Critical Mass!  Here’s the breakdown:

  • Yes, I will join Bikeside for the next Los Angeles Critical Mass bicycle ride:Chamness!
  • Yes, I will join Bikeside for a Los Angeles Critical Mass bicycle ride this year: Gin, Hahn, Winograd, Eisele, Goodwin, Pilot.
  • No: Newberry.
  • Other (please elaborate below): Bowen.

Elaboration:

  • Debra Bowen: “Sounds like fun! I would like to learn more about Critical Mass.”
  • Janice Hahn: “This event might be a little too demanding for me. But as long as the riders are respectful of our road laws, and as long as each rider understands the event is meant to improve community relationships between drivers and cyclists, I fully support these regular gatherings.”

Secure additional federal funding for bicycle infrastructure projects, such as TIGER II and President Obama’s FHWA Livability grants.

  • Debra Bowen: “Bicycle and pedestrian projects compete with larger transit projects – often rail – for TIGER II funds.  Municipal Planning Organizations such as Metro (LACMA) now require all transit corridor projects to identify potential bicycle facilities along the corridor during the project planning process. If USDOT rewards MPO and municipalities for integrating more bicycle facilities into larger rail and bus project funding requests, it could encourage local planning and transportation departments to implement bike lanes more quickly.  And since bicycle use reduces energy consumption carbon emissions, the US Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Petroleum Reduction Technologies Projects for the Transportation Sector could expand its eligibility criteria to include bicycle facilities.”
  • Stephen Eisele: “I would want to work closely with the state on this issue, combining forces and knowledge based on what the region needs. If there is an opportunity to make LA more biker friendly and accessible then we should have a plan for LA and possibly configure it through the use of more state-specific block grants. I would advocate for smart funding–LA needs to ease traffic congestion and this could possibly be a first step.”
  • Janice Hahn: “As I said above, when we reinvest in our transportation infrastructure, we have a tremendous opportunity to reshape our roads and evolve the way we travel. I would work to make sure that legislation like TIGER II and the FHWA Livability grants look forward, not back. We need to modernize our transportation networks, and that means making room on our byways for mass transit, pedestrians AND cyclists.”
  • Michael Gin: “To me, encouraging pedestrian and bicycle-friendly routes and infrastructure in communities helps to build healthier communities. In Redondo Beach, we have a program through our Beach Cities Health District called Vitality City. We are already looking for land use opportunities and policies that will encourage greater pedestrian and bicycle access in our community. The healthier our communities are, the lower our overall healthcare costs will be in the future.”
  • Marcy Winograd: “I will organize a “Bike to the Capitol” club and invite both Democrats and Republicans to join — this in an effort to raise consciousness and forge consensus around the need to fund bicycle infrastructure projects. I will also bring the federal funding issue to the Congressional Progressive Caucus, so that as a caucus we can promote this more effectively.”
  • Katherine Pilot: “At this time I believe that addtional funding is hard to come by, provided we get real solutions for our deficit and budget I will support additional funding in the future for bicycle infrastructure projects.”
  • Michael Chamness: “I would redirect subsidies from oil, gas, and non-renewable energy industries into mass transit and alternative transportation projects that include bike education and implementation programs.”
  • Dr. Loraine Goodwin: “I organized several walk to school days and for years encouraged cities to adapt to encourage biking instead of cars.”
  • George Newberry: “Work with other Congressmen.”

In Copenhagen, a city of 560,000 bicycles, 521,000 people and 35,000 bicycle parking spaces, 85% of residents own a bike. From Copenhagen, we have learned that LA can do more – much more – for cycling. We asked candidates what elements of Copenhagen’s Bike Plan they would recommend for Southern California, and on what timetable they would implement them:

  • Debra Bowen: “In Southern California, we have begun to recognize the benefits of Copenhagen’s transportation model.  On March 1, 2011, Mayor Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles City Council (12-0) adopted the 2010 LA Bike Plan, which identifies over 1,600 miles of bikeways throughout the City of LA.  Many of Copenhagen’s bicycle-friendly policies are in the City’s Bicycle Plan.  Examples include developing a comprehensive transportation and recreation bikeway system in the City, providing convenient and secure bicycle parking, and monitoring and evaluating our bicycle-related programs. Many of the infrastructure elements that Copenhagen has, such as bike-only signals and protected bicycle lanes, are treatments that the City can start implementing. I will need many more questions answered before I know what the right time table is and how these and other policies can be implemented regionally.”
  • Stephen Eisele: “Having lived in Europe (France, Germany, Italy) and as a well-travelled individual, I am well aware of their much more efficient public transportation systems and biking culture that permeates much of Europe. However, most European cities do have the benefit of being constructed for pededstrians from the get-go due to their long history. Many of the town squares are already biker/walker friendly. Los Angeles was built first and foremost for automobiles which is why we are in the current predicament today. I think it begins with advocacy but also by showing its efficacy. I believe a good place to start would be in the beach cities (SM-Redondo Beach area) where many residential neighborhoods reside and businesses and shops are close by, creating a more “european” community feel. I feel this would be the place to start and to demonstrate the benefits.”
  • Janice Hahn: “Naturally, Copenhagen and Los Angeles are very different cities. The 36th congressional district alone has 20% more population and four times the square mileage of Copenhagen proper. LA cyclists are presented with a different set of challenges and opportunities, but the best practices developed in Copenhagen will be very useful to us as we update and overhaul our transportation infrastructure. We would do well to follow Copenhagen’s lead in areas like improving bicycle parking and signal intersections to make cycling increasingly viable and an appealing alternative to driving both in terms of safety and convenience. Bicycles will have a crucial role to play in resolving so-called “last mile” problems as we expand our mass transit systems here in Los Angeles. As in Copenhagen, we should be sure to design our public transport with cyclists in mind. All too often, mass transit systems are not designed to accommodate bikes. By successfully integrating the two, we can dramatically increase the maximum range of cyclists, and increase ridership on the mass transit lines to people who aren’t in convenient walking distance of a transit stop. Public transportation and cycling are natural partners. We’ve already begun this work in the LA City Council, with innovative steps that I championed like Measure R and the 30/10 project—steps that will achieve in 10 years what normally takes 30. We know what needs to be done, and we know that it needs to be done now, and in Congress I will continue to find novel ways to speed up the critical work on our transportation networks, here in Los Angeles and all over the United States.”
  • Marcy Winograd: “Features of the Copenhagen Bike Plan include: urban bike-sharing program; on-street bike rentals; plentiful bike-repair shops; 13 high-class bike routes, with smooth even surfaces, clear signage, service stations along the routes, and the ability to go at higher speeds and overtake other cyclists. Estimated cost of high class bike routes – 47 million. All of the above are desirable for Los Angeles — and the sooner, the better!”
  • Michael Gin: “One of the biggest hurdles for increasing cycling is the lack of safe bike routes. Many of our roads in Southern California are geared towards vehicular traffic. Through increased bike route designations, better signage, and a targeted campaign that links bicycling and walking with healthier lifestyles, we can gradually start to change our attitudes about biking vs vehicular travel.”
  • Michael Chamness: “Happy to dig deeper and offer ideas at a later date.”
  • Dr. Loraine Goodwin: “Again, I would need to investigate these comparisons more.”
  • George Newberry: “I’d have to read it first.”

LAPD staff assigned to bicycle safety and traffic enforcement are stretched very thin. We asked candidates if they would support significant federal funding for LAPD and other enforcement and public safety agencies to work and improve safety conditions for cyclists.

  • Debra Bowen:Yes, for example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration could expand its Safety Data Improvement Program to include data on fatalities involving cyclists and pedestrians at Secondary Highway and other major intersections. This financial support could help local public safety agencies to collect data on collisions that involve a cyclist and pedestrian fatalities. Creating bicycle collision reporting systems will help ensure that public safety agencies process reports and issue finding expeditiously. Such data is needed to identify hotspots throughout the region that require better traffic enforcement. The data would also help localities access additional federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds to help mitigate unsafe conditions at intersections where 39% of all cyclist collisions occur in the City of LA.  I understand that LAPD has implemented a mandatory, cycling-specific training course for its officers.  Officers are reminded that cyclists have all the same rights and responsibilities as motorists.  LAPD is also developing additional training for accident reporting procedures and stolen bicycle reporting. Officers are also receiving training on illegal parking that obstructs bike lanes and cyclists. Since January 2010, LAPD has been conducting regular meetings with representatives and advocates from the City’s bicycling community to receive input and feedback on issues of concern.”
  • Stephen Eisele: “I support the use of more bicycle safety and traffic enforcement and would support more funding. Again, I would have to see if more federal funding vs. local is needed but in principle I am supportive.”
  • Janice Hahn: “I would definitely support increased funding for enforcement and public safety agencies to improve safety conditions for cyclists. I have even supported providing civil remedies for cyclists who have encountered threats and harassment from motorists. The LAPD has not always been the most responsive to the concerns of cyclists, and as a City Councilwoman, I have directly questioned the members of the LAPD command about whether they are giving bicyclists a fair shake. Our cyclists are inherently at risk — more so than any driver safely encased in an automobile. Since we cannot protect every bicyclist all the time, it is imperative we protect cyclists through our civil and criminal laws. Neglectful driving that results in an injury to a cyclist should carry a significant punishment. But I also believe that cyclists have a responsibility to safely share the road. I am proud of Malibu’s efforts to hold regular city meeting with cyclists, in which safe road behavior is taught and discussed. Unfortunately, less-frequent cyclists tend to be the least respectful of our road laws. We should reach out to all citizens with better education and training. Driver AND cyclist education must be a major component of our transportation environment.”
  • Marcy Winograd: “Yes, unfortunately a lot of people in Los Angeles are fearful of riding their bikes on city streets. We need to improve safety conditions.”
  • Michael Chamness: “Sure.”
  • Dr. Loraine Goodwin:  “Definitely.”
  • George Newberry: “Yes.”

Photo by Bikeside Chris

 

Electric vehicles purchased in or after 2010 are eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500.  We asked candidates if they think that bicycle owners who do not own a motorized vehicle should also be eligible for a federal income tax credit, and, if so, how they you structure the tax credit:

  • Debra Bowen: “This is a unique proposal and needs a more thorough analysis than I am able to pursue at this time.”
  • Michael Gin: “I believe that this is a novel idea. Bicycles create much less of an impact on our roads and infrastructure that vehicles do. I would need to do some further research into how the $7500 electric vehicle tax credit was developed and structured. However, I do believe that a tax credit for bicycle owners who do not own a vehicle should be developed.”
  • Janice Hahn: “We would need to study how to structure these incentives to encourage bicycle riding, and not simply pay out to every person with a bicycle rusting away in their basement, but it is an objective worthy of serious thought. One idea I would immediately pursue is tax deductions for fuel costs saved by bicycle commuting to work.”
  • Marcy Winograd: “Yes, bicycle owners should also be eligible for a federal income tax credit because they are not contributing to global warming. I would structure the tax credit in a way that allows bicyclists to deduct the cost of their bike, repairs, and routine maintenance.”
  • Stephen Eisele: “I think it’s an interesting idea to extend tax credits to bike owners who use their bikes as one of their primary modes of transportation (e.g. they ride to work everyday). This is a bit more difficult to implement simply because many individuals own bikes and do not ride them. I think it would be possible to apply for tax credit by submitting your work route, distance travelled, etc and/or by demonstrating that an individual has opted to use their bike as the primary mode of transportation.”
  • Katherine Pilot: “I do agree that bicyclists who do not own a motorized vehicle should be eligible for a federal income credit.”
  • Michael Chamness: “Definitely. The credit should reflect the entire purchase price/value of the bike.”
  • Dr. Loraine Goodwin: “The cost comparisons are very different, but I definitely encourage biking and walking.”
  • George Newberry: “Yes, in the same way.”

Potholes are a major safety hazard to cyclists. We asked candidates if they would sponsor legislation that directs municipal Departments of Public Works repairing streets with federal funds to prioritize corridors identified in the municipality’s bike plan (if one exists):

  • Debra Bowen: “Generally speaking, I do not see pothole repair as an issue that requires federal intervention. However, I am always open to learning and coming to new conclusions.”
  • Katherine Pilot: “I want all potholes addressed. They are a hazard to all users of the streets, but I do not believe that utilizing federal funds is an option at this time.”
  • Stephen Eisele: “Potholes are a safety hazard to automobiles as well. I believe the municipalities should be able to prioritize what streets to fix first based on traffic and so forth. I would advocate for these decisions to include the bike plan.”
  • Janice Hahn: “As someone who spent the past decade on the LA City Council, I’m quite familiar with potholes. While for most people, they are merely a nuisance, for bikers they are downright dangerous. I definitely favor prioritizing corridors where there are bike lines.”
  • Marcy Winograd: “Yes! Not only are potholes hazardous to bicyclists, but also to older people. My mother once fell over one in Boston and blackened her eye.”
  • Michael Chamness: “Yes.”
  • Michael Gin: “As a Mayor, I want to ensure that we look for ways to incentivize cities to repair roads that are designated bike routes in order to preserve and enhance safety for cyclists. However, I don’t want the Federal government to be so prescriptive as to require that streets that are bike routes must be repaired and repaved first before other streets that may be in a worse state of repair. Perhaps funding can be separated into special funds for designated bike routes. This might encourage cities to designate more bike routes and be eligible for more federal funding for municipal streets.”
  • Dr. Loraine Goodwin: “Again, cities do these inspections and repairs.”
  • George Newberry: “More funding should be put into the roads initially like the Europeans do.”

Many Southern California drivers show incredible disrespect for cyclists. They fail to recognize that cyclists and pedestrians have a right to use streets as well, and treat them with dangerous disrespect. We asked candidates what the next Congressmember from the California 36th do to change these attitudes:

  • Debra Bowen: “Public Safety Announcement campaigns have been helpful in educating the motoring public of their responsibility to ensure the safety of cyclists using the roadway.  I am very interested in hearing your ideas for other possible actions.”
  • Marcy Winograd: “The next Congress member could go on regular bike rides with Bikeside on some of the more challenging and often-disrespected routes, and grade each bike ride according to the level of courtesy of the drivers. Report cards could be issued and posted somewhere — on the Internet, on streets, in bike and car shops.”
  • Michael Gin: “I think that the concept of “Sharing the Road” is critical. At the same time, cyclists are sometimes guilty of ignoring traffic controls such as stop signs and yield signs when they are riding. I would develop a campaign that would encourage drivers to share the road with cyclists and a similar campaign for the cycling community to ensure that they obey all applicable traffic laws.”
  • Janice Hahn: “There is no doubt that our transportation infrastructure needs a comprehensive overhaul worthy of the 21st century, and cyclists will be an important part of that future. Our present transportation network makes scant accommodation for biking, making cyclists’ lives not only difficult, but dangerous. In Congress, I will work hard to make our transportation network safer as well as smarter. But until we can update our roads to respect our cyclists, we must be certain that our motorists do. I remember in 2008, hearing the tale of the Brentwood physician “teaching a lesson” to the cyclists he wasn’t willing to share the road with. I was appalled. We must do everything we can to correct the malice and disregard that imperils our cyclists. This will be achieved through a combination of steeper civil and criminal penalties for neglectful driving that leads to the injury of a cyclist. But also, we need to improve bicycle awareness on a cultural level. The more we promote cycling events such CicLAvia, the more public figures are seen on bicycles themselves, and the more we make bicycling part of our everyday experience, the quicker this cultural shift will occur. I was proud to join my friend Bill Rosendahl to vote in favor of an ordinance that would make it a civil violation of the Los Angeles Municipal Code, including a fine of up to $1,000, for anyone to harass, threaten, or assault a bicyclist. As a Congresswoman, I would continue to support measures like this, and to speak out about cyclists as a valuable component of our 21st century transportation.”
  • Stephen Eisele: “I think leading by example is always the best method and raising awareness. If the 36th District comes together on the issue of biking combined with raised awareness from public officials and locals as well, we can help promote these efforts.”
  • Michael Chamness: “Put on a helmet and hit the streets with their constituents.”
  • Dr. Loraine Goodwin: “I would be very happy to do whatever I can to increase bike and pedestrian safety. this has always been a problem even in heavy biking and pedestrian communities.”
  • George Newberry (Republican): “Increase advertising, but cyclists need to obey the rules of the road, as I try to do, and quit running stop signs and traffic lights.”

Employees of the LA Department of Transportation once said that “for the bike to catch on we need a revolution in our bicycle infrastructure.” We asked candidates what they would do to make cycling a central part of the Los Angeles lifestyle:

  • Debra Bowen: “I don’t think that it is valuable to argue about which came first, the chicken or the egg.  I do believe that Congress should prioritize bicycle projects that already have local financial support and that will help ease congestion and emissions.”
  • Stephen Eisele: “I agree that we need better biking infrastructure and a better bike plan. I think we have to start by winning over the hearts and minds of the people of LA and start in communities where it makes most sense to ride your bike to go to the beach rather than take your car. I would advocate pilot programs in some of the smaller communities to demonstrate the benefits of biking, such as in the beach cities in the 36th District.”
  • Janice Hahn: “You would be hard pressed to find an American city more dependent on the car than Los Angeles. Breaking the car’s near total monopoly on our transportation network will require no small effort, but the benefits of reducing car use are too manifold for us to ignore. This isn’t just an environmental matter. It is about the health and wellbeing of the families of our community. When someone bikes to work, they aren’t just improving their own health. They’re improving the health of every child that doesn’t have to breathe in that smog. They’re making every breath of someone with lung disease that much easier. They’re improving our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. If we make the city safer for bikers, if we develop serious mass transit so people can use their bikes to get across the city, and expand the number of bike lanes/paths, I think more and more people will find that biking makes sense.”
  • Marcy Winograd: “We need a revolution in bicycle infrastructure, but also in our way of thinking about community, leisure, and work. I suppose it’s easier to change the infrastructure first, and then create the attendant consciousness — though I suppose an argument could be made for the reverse order, as well. As a member of congress, I could organize district-wide bike rides, sponsor essay contests about cycling and/or alternate forms of transportation, introduce legislation (!) to fund bike infrastructure improvements, and make it easy for my staff to ride to and from our district offices.”
  • Michael Gin: “I believe that creating a bike revolution starts with a safe bike infrastructure. I would help created a bike master plan for the greater LA Area that uses the South Bay Bike Master Plan as a model. In addition, I would look to some of our creative advertising businesses in the 36th District to develop (as a community service) some ads that would help promote cycling in the greater LA area. Attitudes and habits sometimes change as our culture changes. Good marketing and advertising that promotes the health, transportation, and community benefits of cycling could help shift LA’s attitudes towards becoming a more bike friendly city.”
  • Michael Chamness: “Sponsor alternative transit projects and funding that continue to provide for expanding infrastructure to accommodate bike users on the roadways and within communities. Specifically, it’s crucial to track and leverage ridership data for future programming options.”
  • Dr. Loraine Goodwin: “Most of the people I know love to bike. An evaluation of lifestyle and city infrastructure would be needed.”
  • George Newberry: “Advertising.”

How will you ensure that President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2012 $4.1 billion Livability Grant Program funding is distributed fairly and is not based on the composition of authorizing committees?

  • Debra Bowen: “The LA County Congressional Caucus continues to fight for the region’s fair share of federal funding, including transportation funding. Data driven policymaking will also help ensure that the region receives federal resources that are consistent with ridership figures and population growth. We need to help ensure that L.A. remains on-track toward expanding mass transit and bicycle facilities that connect homes in the far reaches of the county to the centers of economic activity.”
  • Stephen Eisele: “It’s up to the elected official from each district to be a strong advocate for the issues and in the case of LA, based on need and where change can be positively impacted. LA is the 2nd largest city in the United States and yet relies almost exclusively on cars for transportation; yet there are pockets of the city that are much more pedestrian/bike friendly that could be transformed relatively quickly compared to other major cities. I would advocate for the cost benefit analysis of helping our 2nd largest city begin the transformation towards alternative modes of transportation.”
  • Michael Gin: “This is a question that really applies to all appropriations from the Congress. Not all states will have representation on every committee. Consequently, it will be important for the next Member of Congress from the 36th District to develop relationships with other members on key committees that could benefit our District and our greater LA region. In addition, I would encourage the various appropriations committees to develop guidelines that are fair and equitable for all of our States.”
  • Janice Hahn: “Yes, there are still congressional fiefdoms — money that is commandeered by the most powerful legislators. In the case of Obama’s Livability Grant Program, I would like to see communities compete for the money in the same way that school districts compete for Race to the Top education grants. Communities with the most innovative transportation plans — pro pedestrian, cyclist, and mass transit commuter — would receive the most funding. With the enormous strides L.A. has already made in its cycling program, we would be prime candidates for a lion’s share of the funding.”
  • Marcy Winograd: “Monitor the distribution of funds and write the President a letter, should the funding be unfairly allocated — or obtain a position on one of the authorizing committees and push for equitable distribution of funding — or make this an issue that I advocate for at the Progressive Caucus.”

Bikeside will use the results of this survey to make an endorsement later this week! We will inform our readers, our email list, and our volunteers of our endorsement, and will phone bank on behalf of the endorsed candidate.

We have included a PDF of all the survey results below. If you have any questions regarding the survey, please contact Bikeside President Alex Thompson at contact@BikesideLA.org.

Results of Bikeside’s CA-36 Congressional Candidate Survey

California 36 Congressional District Candidates

Democratic Candidates (5)

  • Daniel Adler, New Media Entrepreneur in Marina del Rey
  • Debra Bowen, California Secretary of State — Completed Survey
  • Loraine Goodwin, Physician, Teacher, Arbitrator of Madera – Completed Survey
  • Janice Hahn, Los Angeles City Councilmember — Completed Survey
  • Marcy Winograd, High-School Teacher — Completed Survey

Other (5)

  • Michael Chamness, Non-Profit consultant – Coffee Party – Completed Survey
  • Steve Collett, Certified Public Accountant – Libertarian.
  • Katherine Pilot, Longshore Office Clerk – no party preference — Completed Survey
  • Matthew Roozee, Business Executive, Mathematician – no party preference
  • Maria Montano, Public school teacher – Peace and Freedom Party

Republican Candidates (6)

  • Patrick Bobko, Hermosa Beach City Councilman
  • Stephen Eisele, Businessman and Aerospace Entrepreneur — Completed Survey
  • Mike Gin, Redondo Beach Mayor — Completed Survey
  • Craig Huey, Small Business Owner
  • George Newberry, Real Estate Agent and Retired Military – Completed Survey
  • Mike Webb, Redondo Beach City Attorney

 

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6 Responses to “The survey results are in: CA-36 Congressional Candidates are Committed to Cycling!”

  1. Chris, this is an incredibly well done summary! Thank you for taking the time to do this. And also a huge thanks to all who made this survey happen, especially Heidi and Alex. Wonderful job!

  2. Kudos for this herculean effort to get potential policymakers on the record with regard to cycling and cycling policies! Great summary, too.
    I was struck by the image, though. Cops get policymaker attention not only because they are the classic good guys, but but because they unionize and show remarkable solidarity where their interests (not to be confused with the public interest, mind you) are threatened.
    Why not a bike riders union? Why shouldn’t candidates feel compelled to appear at one of our own public events? Let’s take a cue from the Bus Riders’ Union, which has been remarkably effective – and perhaps nowhere more so than in securing hundreds of millions of bucks for transit improvements.
    We need to organize if we are to get recognized (happening now), gain influence (soon enough), and pry real dollars for improvements on par with other transportation interests (we’ll see).

  3. First off I would like to say wonderful blog!
    I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.

    I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing.
    I’ve had difficulty clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there.
    I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first
    10 to 15 minutes tend to be lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin.
    Any ideas or tips? Cheers!

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