2012 Candidate for District 5 Supervisor
Candidate Name: Julian Davis
1. Do you ride a bicycle in San Francisco for any purpose?
There is simply no better way to get around San Francisco than by bicycle – the ease of movement, the fact that it’s carbon free, the health benefits, and the ability to feel connected to what’s going on around you are all positive aspects of bicycling in this city. Our bike infrastructure could use significant improvement. The people of San Francisco deserve better. As Supervisor, I will be a consistent ally to fellow cyclists.
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]
We have a long way to go to realize this important goal. Connecting the City and other infrastructure improvements are important, as well as implementing a successful Bike-Share program. One of the most important roles we can play is to hold Mayor Lee and our other city leaders accountable to their promise as well as the nearly 30 year-old “Transit-First” mandate. I will put an end to foot-dragging in City Hall that has negatively impacted [response truncated]
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]
I support the entire Connecting the City vision. As Supervisor, I can play an important role in explaining to residents and businesses in District 5 the benefits of connected bikeways on which more people can safely move around on bicycles. That means fewer cars and more carbon free transportation. This initiative is critical for the overall functioning of our city, particularly as oil prices rise and the climate warms.
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]
I’d like to explore congestion pricing for private automobile drivers on our downtown streets. Other potential funding sources include a local gas tax, a local vehicle license fee, and a downtown transit assessment district. I’d also like to explore a voluntary program where businesses pay in and receive benefits, for instance, Convention and Visitor’s Bureau promotions.
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]
Infrastructure improvements go a long way – from more expensive options like bulb-outs, round-a-bouts and complete re-designs of entire streets to cheaper options like more visible crosswalks, bike parking, enhanced transit connections, protected bike lanes, more green paint, and traffic-calming art. San Francisco should aim to be number one on the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Communities rankings and reward businesses that achieve gold or platinum status.
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]
District 5 is a leader in the movement for bicycling and walking. Not only will I fight to implement the projects already in process (Masonic, Fell and Oak bikeways, Van Ness BRT) but I will lead on further improvements including separated bikeways alongside the Panhandle, further traffic calming measures on the Wiggle (particularly Scott Street), and Geary BRT. D5 will be a shining beacon for the rest of San Francisco.
DISTRICT SPECIFIC QUESTIONS
The three blocks of Fell and Oak Streets, between Scott and Baker Streets are a large barrier for many people who would like to ride a bicycle in San Francisco. Our Connecting the City vision calls for the construction of a physically separated bikeway comfortable to people of all ages on these important three blocks, helping to connect the quiet residential streets of Lower Haight and the serene mixed use path of the Panhandle, Golden Gate Park, and western neighborhoods. Will you commit to making the completion of this project by the end of 2012 a key issue in your campaign?
The popular “Wiggle” bicycle route, the flattest path between Market Street and the Panhandle Park, through the Lower Haight, is used by thousands of bicycle commuters each day. Do you support the development and construction of a plan to create neighborhood-oriented streets by prioritizing walking and bicycling activity on these streets, slowing and deterring cut-through motor vehicle traffic?
In 2010, hundreds of neighbors came together to support a plan to improve pedestrian and bicycling safety on Masonic Avenue through traffic-calming, new greening and a curb-side bikeway. Even with parking removal expected, most nearby neighborhood associations supported the proposal, and surveys showed strong support for this project. Will you commit to being a champion for full funding and implementation of the community-supported Masonic Avenue plan in the coming years?
Webster Street, between Grove and Sutter Streets is a key connection for Japantown to Western Addition, Hayes Valley, and the Mission. Will you support the a redesign of the street to reduce dangerous speeding by adding a buffered bicycle lane?