Candidate for Board of Supervisors, District 9
1. Do you use a bicycle in the city? If so, for what purposes (commuting, recreation, errands) and how often? Please indicate how you most commonly commute to work. (300 words or less)
I have been a city cyclist and public transit rider since I moved to San Francisco over 15 years ago to start teaching. I only purchased a car in the last 8 years. After being elected to the San Francisco School Board, I had to resign from my public school teaching position and take up a job outside the school district in Redwood City, and I have since used a car as my primary work transportation.
I still maintain two bicycles that I use regularly, though, and continue to advocate for efficient and energy-conscious transportation models. As a candidate for supervisor, I have led my campaign in highlighting my support for improvements to the bicycle network and increased safety for cyclists and pedestrians, specifically within District 9.
I have strong support within the bicycling community and co-authored legislation at the School Board to install bike racks at middle and high schools in San Francisco.
I look forward to biking and riding MUNI to City Hall as a supervisor.
2. In the next year, the City's Bicycle Plan should be re-instated after a 3-year delay in physical bike improvements on city property, which was caused by a lawsuit and a slow Environmental Review process. The silver lining to this frustrating situation is that a significant package of Bike Network improvements -- 50+ proposals for bike lanes and intersection improvements throughout the city -- will be fully analyzed and ready for legislation and implementation.
Will you support approval and implementation of this full package of projects, which will fill significant gaps in the Citywide Bike Network and which, in some cases may include removal of existing on-street parking or traffic lanes?
3. Specifically included in the package referenced above are proposals for adding bike lanes on the following streets, some of which may require removing traffic lanes and/or parking spaces, in order to make room. Will you support legislation to add bike lanes on these streets, all of which are part of the official Citywide Bike Network but lack specific safety accommodations for the growing number of bicycle commuters:
2nd St. Yes 5th St. Yes 17th St. Yes Masonic Ave. Yes Cesar Chavez Ave. Yes Bayshore Blvd. Yes Illinois St. Yes Portola Ave. Yes
4. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was designed to help citizens and policy makers understand the environmental impact of development proposals by requiring environmental impact reports (EIRs) for projects with potentially significant environmental impacts. Currently, the SF Planning Department regards the convenient movement of private automobiles as an environmental concern, increasing the cost and delaying the implementation of dedicated transit lanes, bike lanes, and even sidewalk widening, even though these projects are clearly beneficial to the environment. Would you support changes at the local level to reform environmental review to facilitate transit-first projects?
5. Would you support a citywide goal to decrease the number of private motor vehicle trips in San Francisco, understanding that in addition to improving transit, bicycling, and walking, the goal would be met by also making motor vehicle trips and parking less convenient in some cases?
6. Poor pavement quality is a major hazard and common complaint for bicyclists in San Francisco. Do you support more funding from the City's budget and/or a new bond measure, for street repaving, with a priority on bicycle & transit routes?
7. Model bicycle-friendly cities around the world (including American cities such as Portland, OR, New York City, and Chicago) follow the standard practice of using colored pavement to demarcate bike lanes. These colored bike lanes help delineate space for bicyclists, increase awareness of bike lanes among drivers, and discourage cars from double-parking in bike lanes. Would you support the use of colored pavement in bike lanes in San Francisco?
8. Would you support the implementation of "bicycle boulevards," traffic-calmed streets that function as bicycle priority routes, similar to street designs in use in Berkeley and Palo Alto, even if this means restricting continuous automobile access at some intersections (while still allowing auto access to all homes and places of business)?
9. Do you support the creation of a bicycle/pedestrian/maintenance pathway on the Bay Bridge's West Span (understanding that such a path is already being built on the East Span)? And will you support local funding and advocacy for additional regional, state, and federal funding, to build the pathway?
10. The popular car-free space in Golden Gate Park (which the SFBC helped expand from Sundays to Saturdays) and the new "Sunday Streets" initiative to pilot a 5-mile car-free space on city streets are both part of a worldwide trend to increase car-free space in urban areas to benefit pedestrians, cyclists, and, more fundamentally, city life itself. As Supervisor, would you be willing to significantly increase car-free spaces in San Francisco?
11. If you are an incumbent running for office, did you vote for the Healthy Saturdays car-free legislation in Golden Gate Park last year?
Not an Incumbent
12. Market St. is the city's most well-used street for transit riders and bicyclists. Bike traffic has jumped 30% on Market St. in the past year alone, and now makes up a significant amount of usage during the commute hours (bikes often outnumber cars). The SFBC and many other community-based organizations believe that measures to prioritize transit riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians on the eastern part of Market St. by banning private auto traffic will improve MUNI performance, transform Market Street for the better, and encourage more San Franciscans to walk and bicycle to work. Various details remain to be worked out (we support allowing access for taxis, vehicles with disabled placards, and deliveries at certain hours).
Do you support measures to prioritize transit riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians on Market St. east of Van Ness Ave. by banning private auto traffic, as described above, as other American cities have done successfully?
13. If the proposal above were not politically feasible at this time, would you support measures, within your first year in office, to significantly lessen auto traffic on Market St. (such as forced right-turns for private vehicles), based on the recommendations from a comprehensive Market St. Action Plan developed by the community and the Transportation Authority?
14. Would you support a proposal to dedicate 1% of the City's transportation funding to bicycle facility improvements and safety projects?
15. Presently, traffic law enforcement in San Francisco is given a low priority, leaving vulnerable users (pedestrians and bicyclists) to fend for themselves and discouraging increased walking and bicycling. Would you direct the SF Police Department to more assertively enforce aggressive and dangerous driving within the City by placing traffic safety as a higher priority within the Department?
16. In recent years, childhood obesity has been identified as a significant health risk, particularly for America's children. One important component to improving the health of our children is encouraging walking and bicycling to school, activities which have dropped precipitously in the past 50 years as cars have come to dominate streets.
As a Supervisor, would you champion and fund a "Safe Routes To Schools" program, which has proven successful in other communities to encourage more kids to walk and bicycle by creating safer space on our streets, which may require the removal of parking and traffic lanes, and developing more supportive policies?
17. Would you support legislation to require commercial buildings (with appropriate exemptions and alternatives) to allow bicycle access and secure parking/storage?
18. This year, the Board of Supervisors enacted the "Climate Change Goals and Action Plan" ordinance, which commits the City to greenhouse gas reduction targets of 20% below 1990 levels by 2012, with progressively larger targets in subsequent years. Given that roughly half of San Francisco's greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector, and that the vast majority of those emissions come from private automobile use, what specific legislation or plans would you implement to reduce our green house gas emissions in the transportation sector? (300 words or less)
Reducing green house gas emissions requires reducing the number of vehicle miles traveled in private automobiles. I will work to provide incentives to encourage greener travel modes while at the same time ensuring that those who choose to drive pay the true cost for their choice.
The City could do more to invest in pedestrian and bicycle safety infrastructure, and making changes so that MUNI is a safe, reliable and convenient way to travel. In addition to colored bike lanes on streets like Valencia, bicycle boulevards should be established on several streets in the Mission such as Capp and Shotwell, and numbered cross streets with fewer autos like 15th (converted to two-way) and 23rd. I also support Sup. Mirkarimi's legislation to further encourage employees to take advantage of pre-tax savings on transit.
The city can take steps to green it's own vehicles. I support further electrification of MUNI and transitioning the City's auto fleet to low or no emissions vehicles. In addition, I support working with downtown business to implement a Direct Impact Assessment and finance cheaper public transportation for employees, to encourage the use mass public transit.
Charging private automobiles for the true cost of driving will encourage people to drive less and also provide a funding source for the needed investments in other travel modes. I support: imposing a local vehicle license fee, implementing congestion pricing for congested corridors and gateways, and variable (demand-sensitive) pricing parking benefit districts on Valencia and Mission.
Development is another way that the City can encourage greener travel-mode choices. New development must not negatively impact MUNI. By lowering parking ratios in new residential development, we can reduce the number of auto-trips generated. Well-planned development can also promote carbon sequestration, by encouraging greening and gardening, and preserving solar access for eastern neighborhoods.
District 9-specific Questions
1. The Mission District has a high concentration of bicycle commuters, due in part to well-used north-south bike lanes on Valencia, Harrison, and Potrero Streets. However, there is an obvious lack of safe east-west bike lanes through the neighborhood.
There is strong community support for proposals for new east-west bike lanes on Cesar Chavez and on 17th Street, both of which are facing resistance from some city agencies. Would you support removing traffic lanes and/or some parking in order to stripe continuous bike lanes along the length of these streets?
2. The long-awaited Better Valencia project has begun with widening sidewalks and bike lanes and adding greening on Valencia St. between 15th & 19th Sts. Will you prioritize and lead efforts to fund and implement the remaining (planned but unfunded) improvements on the rest of Valencia St.?
3. Do you support traffic calming (including creating bicycle boulevards) on some streets in District 9, to slow car traffic and give priority to bicycle traffic?