Are You Bike-Friendly? CD4's Steve Veres Responds

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 is the primary election for important City Council seats in the City of Los Angeles. LACBC invited all candidates to share their perspectives on bicycling and transportation with our members and supporters. While LACBC does not endorse candidates, we encourage you to consider these responses before casting your vote on March 3rd.

Below are responses from Council District 4 candidate Steve Veres.

All candidate responses are available here: http://la-bike.org/vote

1. Please share a memory involving a bicycle that has had a lasting effect on you (whether or not you were the one on the bicycle).

As a UCLA student I commuted to and from Campus by bicycle for 2 years. I loved it, but the stand out memory was being involved in collision with a vehicle. A driver did not see me and turned left into a driveway immediately in front of me. The car hit me and I flew over its hood. I was taken by ambulance to the ER. I had a concussion, deep contusions all over, a nasty case of road rash from my arms up to my face. I was so sore and stiff for weeks. Since, I have been a steady advocate for bicycle safety.

2. Approximately 200 people are killed in traffic in the City of Los Angeles every year, about half of whom were walking or biking. In September, the Department of Transportation released a new strategic plan Great Streets for Los Angeles, including the ambitious goal to eliminate all traffic fatalities in the city by 2025 (“Vision Zero”). Many of the projects designed to improve safety will also slow vehicle speeds or reduce capacity, sometimes on major streets. Do you support Vision Zero? How would you evaluate a project that increases delay for drivers in order to make a street safer for walking and biking?

We need to make efforts to make streets safer for ALL people, regardless of their mode of transportation. I would support any effort that can reduce injury and death for this cities citizens. I’m supportive of Vision Zero. I support smart efforts that make our streets safer like complete street initiatives.

3. The Department of City Planning is in the process of updating the City’s Mobility Plan for the first time in decades. Among many exciting components, the plan calls for a citywide network of protected bike lanes--designed for people ages 8 to 80--called the “Bicycle Enhanced Network” or BEN. Many of these BEN projects will require reallocating either a traffic lane or parking lane in order to construct the bicycle facility. Do you believe making Los Angeles a city where everyone feels comfortable riding a bike on the street is worthwhile? How would you approach the tradeoffs inherent to such a project?

I believe that ensuring a balance between all forms of transportation is important when looking at improving the city. I am on the record as supporting a complete re-examination of the city and neighborhood plans that have been largely ignored over the years. As a part of this examination, I would want to be sure that we look at bike lanes as part of the whole re-examination of this city’s transportation system.

4. In 2011, the City Council unanimously adopted the Bicycle Plan proposing a comprehensive 1,600-mile bikeway network across the City. What steps would you take to ensure implementation of Bicycle Plan projects in your district? Are there any specific projects in the Plan you would prioritize? To what extent would you feel obligated to implement a plan adopted by your predecessor?

I am one of the only candidates who can truly say that they are not tied to the current or former set of plans that have been put in place. As you surely know, several candidates have been part of L.A. City Hall and claim their experience is an asset. There are two Councilmember La Bonge Staffers, one Councilmember Koretz Staffer, two Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Staffers including one that was a lobbyist for DWP. Over the years, this group of city hall employees is more hype than substance. They have not significantly changed the city’s path to a more positive direction. I believe their experience amounts to continued Bureaucracy.

Los Angeles is suffering. Today’s City is nothing to be proud of, and if you are then you’ve seriously got something wrong with you. If you think being a chief of staff, commissioner, press aide, or whatever else you think qualifies you as experienced in L.A. government is a good reason you should run for the 4th, I disagree. I will be an independent leader and representative of this city and of the Fourth District.

As I mentioned above, I support the re-examination of the Master Plan for Hollywood and any of the other neighborhoods in my district. We need to make sure that we are taking bike accessibility into account when reworking these plans.

5. (CD4 only) Bike lanes are currently proposed for all of the following streets prioritized by the Bicycle Plan. All of these projects involve a “road diet” to make the street safer for walking, biking and driving. Which of these projects are you prepared to support at this time? Please feel free to share any thoughts about specific projects.

  • 6th Street (Fairfax to La Brea)
  • San Vicente Blvd (Wilshire to Venice) yes
  • Hyperion Ave Viaduct (Rowena to Glenfeliz) yes
  • Hollywood Blvd (La Brea to Sunset)
  • Hillhurst Ave (Los Feliz to Sunset) yes
  • Lankershim Blvd (Hatteras to Cahuenga) yes
  • Cahuenga Blvd (Lankershim to Odin) yes

6. Studies have shown that people on bicycles spend more per month in local business districts than those arriving by other modes. What steps would you take to ensure that local businesses in your district are able to benefit from better bicycle access?
I am a big believer in local business. I would support any efforts to increase access to local businesses – including supporting bicycle parking and street side seating for restaurants. I would also encourage large scale fun rides that bring new customers to area.

7. The LA Times recently wrote a feature story documenting that hit-and-run collisions are on the rise for bicyclists, according to state records. The majority of seriously injured or fatal hit-and-run victims are people walking and bicycling. What steps would you take to reduce the rate of hit-and-run and ensure perpetrators are prosecuted?

We need to make every effort to make our cities safer. Part of that is ensuring the efficient spending and allocation of funds by the LAPD and making sure that every neighborhood is working to ensure their safety. Another part is working to support legislation that would crack down on those kind of crimes. That is why I would support efforts like Assemblymember Gatto’s legislation on hit and runs and other efforts like it. I also supported Bradford’s 3 foot law for cyclists.

8. An additional countywide transportation sales tax is currently being formulated by Metro. None of the existing three half-cent measures (Propositions A & C and Measure R) currently dedicate significant funding for walking and biking, despite these modes making up 19% of all trips and 39% of all roadway fatalities in the county. Would you support allocating at least 10% of any future transportation tax measure to walking, biking and safe routes to school?

Yes. Last mile and first mile efforts can be a great nexus between existing public transit and bicycle efforts.

9. LACBC’s Neighborhood Bike Ambassadors work with local businesses, neighborhood councils, homeowner associations and other stakeholders on bicycle issues. Will you commit to meeting with the local bike ambassadors in your district on a regular and ongoing basis? Would you be willing to lead a regularly scheduled bike ride with your constituents?

During my time with the LA Community Colleges and my time with Sen. DeLeon’s office I have always maintained an open door policy for anyone. I would continue this policy and actively work to ensure that there is always communication between my office and the LACBC.

10. Would you presently feel safe riding a bike in Los Angeles, and if not, what would it take to make you feel comfortable on our city streets?

There are parts of Los Angeles that I would feel safe riding a bike in and others that I would not. The fact that there are places where people are not safe riding a bike on our city’s streets is something that is unacceptable and needs to be addressed. People should feel safe in this city regardless of their mode of transportation.

11. Is there anything else you'd like to share with L.A.'s bicycling community?

Despite the large number of candidates in this race, I have earned the support of a wide range of organizations and people. I would love to count you as one of my supporters and add your names to the following list:

Los Angeles County Democratic Party
Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters
State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León
State Senator-Elect Isadore Hall
State Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez
State Senator Ricardo Lara
State Assembly Majority Leader Dario Frommer (Ret.)
State Assemblymember Mike Roos (Ret.)
State Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez
State Assemblymember Miguel Santiago
Los Angeles Community College District Board President Scott Svonkin
Los Angeles Community College District Trustee Mike Eng
Los Angeles Community College District Trustee Mona Field
Los Angeles Community College District Trustee Ernest Mo
Los Angeles Community College District Trustee Tina Park (Ret.)
Founding Executive Director of Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC) Joe Edmiston
Affiliated Property Craftspersons (Local 44)
Animators (Local 839)
Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1277
American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Los Angeles Community College Guild 1521
Art Directors Guild (Local 800)
Cinematographers Guild (Local 600)
Costume Designers Guild (Local 892)
Iron Workers Local 416
Iron Workers Local 433
Laborers (LiUNA) Local 300
Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists (Local 706)
Motion Picture Costumers (Local 705)
Motion Picture Studio Electrical Lighting Technicians (Local 728)
Motion Picture Studio Grips/Crafts Service (Local 80)
Motion Picture Set Painters & Sign Writers (Local 729)
Production Sound Technicians, Television Engineers, Video Assist Technicians and Studio Projectionists (Local 695)
Script Supervisors, Continuity and Allied Production Specialists Guild (Local 871)
Stagehands and Projectionist in Hollywood and Los Angeles for Television and Theater Stage (Local 33)
Studio Teachers (Local 884)
Teamsters Joint Council 42
United Association (UA) Plumbers Local Union 78

Thank you for your support and I hope to be able to add you to this list soon!

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