2012 Candidate for District 11 Supervisor
Candidate Name: John Avalos
1. Do you ride a bicycle in San Francisco for any purpose?
Bicycles and punk rock changed my life. I began biking in San Francisco in 1992. I ride my bike daily for a variety of trips: from my home to City Hall, to our campaign headquarters, around town on many stops during the day -- running errands, going to house parties, debates, etc. I am comfortable biking both in casual clothes or wearing a suit and tie. I am a longtime SFBC member.
2. The City has established a goal that 20% of trips in San Francisco be made by bicycle by 2020. Do you endorse this goal?
What will you do as Supervisor to realize this goal, providing a better biking experience for locals and visitors? [75 word limit]
Learning from Amsterdam, Freiburg, and Copenhagen, I will:
3. It has been shown that the most effective way to boost the number of people bicycling and improve the bicycling experience is to designate dedicated space for bicycling through physically separated bikeways and traffic-calmed streets.
The SF Bicycle Coalition has set out its Connecting the City initiative, an ambitious but achievable vision of crosstown bikeways that are comfortable and inviting for people of all ages and abilities, connecting neighborhoods and helping locals and visitors to shop, work, and play more often by bike.
Reconfiguring our streets to include crosstown bikeways and other "low stress" bike routes will draw concern from some neighbors unused to this next-generation infrastructure and the reprogramming of some on-street car parking and traffic lanes. Do you support completing 25 miles of continuous crosstown bikeways within four years, directing City staff to complete them on such streets such as three blocks of Oak and Fell Sts., Polk St., 2nd St., Masonic Ave., Ocean Ave. and the Embarcadero?
What will you do as Supervisor to realize the Connecting the City vision, creating crosstown bikeways that are comfortable and inviting for people of all ages and abilities? [75 word limit]
The network must feel safe for everyone, from young children to senior citizens, with separate facilities (cycle tracks, paths), bike lanes, and very slow-speed traffic-calmed streets. In fact, 25 miles is too few. I will support the serious investment necessary to build a complete network, including for example two-way cycle tracks on each side of San Jose Ave. in District 11. A more bike-friendly city is better and safer for everyone--not just bicyclists.
4. Market Street is San Francisco’s most well-traveled corridor, with a quarter of a million daily transit vehicle boardings on or under it each weekday and more daily bike trips than almost any other street in the United States. Market Street is scheduled for full repaving in 2016. The City is leading a community planning process to deliver a Better Market Street when the repaving work takes place. Do you support a wide, continuous, physically separated green bikeway the full length of Market Street (maintaining and enhancing good Muni and the pedestrian travel) as part of this work?
5. Sunday Streets is a popular program, now in its fifth year, which the SF Bicycle Coalition is proud to have helped launch. Sunday Streets creates miles of temporary car-free streets for people to participate in healthy physical activities in diverse SF neighborhoods, on bicycles, on foot, on skates, in wheelchairs, with dogs, with hula hoops, etc.
Will you support the launch of a trial of a regular, weekly Sunday Streets route between April and October beginning in 2013?
6. Do you also support growing Sunday Streets to a citywide network, where multiple routes can occur simultaneously, helping to connect multiple neighborhoods by 2017?
7. San Francisco’s Safe Routes to School program encourages students and their families to walk and bike to school through a program of education and collaboration with schools and parents. Though funding has been limited, in its three years of existence the program has taught bicycle and pedestrian safety to over 5,500 children in classrooms across the city.
Will you help to expand this program to all schools in the city?
8. Pavement quality is an essential issue for safe, comfortable bicycling. Over half of the city’s streets are in a state of poor repair, as rated by the Department of Public Works, and more consistent funding is needed to keep our streets in a stable condition and reverse the downward trend. At the same time we need to accelerate major streetscape enhancements for biking, walking, and transit on streets like Masonic Avenue, Second Street, and Market Street.
Do you support dedicating additional funding to improve pavement quality, prioritizing bicycle routes?
9. Do you support bringing more funding to bikeway construction and maintenance by prioritizing at least 50% of the streets in the repaving schedule to be streets that are designated bike routes?
10. Funding for bikeways and other bicycle improvements and programs in San Francisco is currently derived from a mix of local, regional, and federal grants, with a tiny fraction coming from the SF Municipal Transportation Agency's operating budget. Given the City's policy commitments to increasing everyday bicycle transportation, would you support an increase for bicycle project and program funding within SFMTA's budget?
11. What are your ideas for other funding sources for bicycle projects and programs in San Francisco? [75 word limit]
12. San Francisco is joining a growing list of major cities with sophisticated bike sharing programs. The initial pilot program will include only 1,000 bicycles between SF and the South Bay, nowhere near the level of saturation that's been shown to be necessary for bike sharing to succeed. To become successful, this program will require rapid expansion to neighborhoods across the city.
Will you commit to seeking and securing funding to expand this cost-effective, exciting new transportation system to more San Francisco neighborhoods?
13. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was designed to help citizens and policy makers understand the environmental impact of proposed projects by requiring structured analysis before permitting them to go forward. Under the current practice of CEQA by the SF Planning Department, projects that reduce traffic speeds and make streets safer for walking, biking and transit (e.g. transit lanes, bike lanes, wider sidewalks) are often required to complete lengthy and expensive analyses, increasing the cost and delaying implementation, even though these projects have a clear benefit to the environment. Would you support changes at the local level to evaluate transportation impacts differently, exempting projects which prioritize sustainable transportation modes and allowing them to come forward faster and more affordably?
14. In San Francisco, the majority of traffic injuries are attributed to unsafe speed. It is well-established that the speed of motor vehicles plays a key role in how likely a person is likely to survive a collision. A person on foot or bike hit by a person driving a motor vehicle traveling at 40 MPH has an 85 percent chance of being killed; at 30 MPH, the likelihood goes down to 45 percent, while at 20 MPH, the fatality rate is only 5 percent. Would you support efforts to reduce speeding by enforcing the speed limit more strictly and, on key streets, lowering speed limits and redesigning streets to prevent speeding and improve safety?
15. With 96% of pedestrian injuries in 2011 caused by motor vehicles, will you direct the SF Police Department to more energetically cite aggressive/dangerous driving and speeding within the city, placing traffic safety as a high priority within the Department, and supporting prioritized measured enforcement to protect people biking and walking?
How will you help make our city streets a safe place for everyone, particularly people bicycling and walking? [75 word limit]
I am supportive of the SFBC’s 8-80 plan and the overall bike network and will work assiduously to see the network expanded year after year. I will take every effort to maximize local dollars, including Prop B funding, for bike infrastructure for safer streets, separated bike lanes, public bike storing spaces and bike sharing programs. Earlier this year, I passed legislation to require that commercial buildings provide access for bikes to be safely parked during [response truncated]
16. If elected, your term will end in 2017. How do you plan to improve transportation, in your district and citywide in these four years? [75 word limit]
As Supervisor, I will promote and take part in neighborhood transportation planning efforts. As in the past my office staff, interns and I will perform street outreach to inform residents and transit riders to receive input on important transit policy changes. I want to promote greater pedestrian and cyclist awareness and will continue working closely with schools on Safe Routes to Schools efforts. I will publish in my newsletter opportunities for biker education programs and [response truncated]
DISTRICT SPECIFIC QUESTIONS
Alemany Boulevard is a key connector for many bicycle commuters, and received a new, physically separated bike lane on parts of the street. However, Alemany Boulevard between Seneca and Niagra has no bicycle facilities. Will you support the timely construction of bike lanes here to fill in the gap of the existing bicycle lanes on this critical connector?
Ocean Avenue is a key connection for residents of the OMI, Outer Mission, and western neighborhoods, but the street includes bicycle lanes on only a small part of the street, and speeding traffic poses a danger to people bicycling and walking. Will you support the creation of bicycle lanes and other traffic calming measure along the Ocean Avenue corridor?