Are You Bike-Friendly? CD4's Wally Knox 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 Wally Knox.

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).

I visited Copenhagen a few years ago because I am a quarter Danish and had a store of family stories to check out.  The streets were shared between motorists and bicyclists.  It was very impressive.  If they can achieve public support for bicycling we can do it here.

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?

To pretend that we will completely eliminate all traffic fatalities in ten years is a fantasy.   To work to reduce fatalities is, of course, important. However, I do not favor increasing traffic delays.  

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 strongly favor having demonstration projects to establish bicycle lanes in areas where the public supports the effort.

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 strongly favor finding demonstration projects in CD4 in areas where the public supports the effort.  I urge the Bicycle Coalition to work with me to identify areas where we can build complete bicycle corridors that have rational beginnings, routes, and destinations.  I would love to work with the Bicycle Coalition to build public understanding and support of the importance of integrating bikes into our transit options.  But, I strongly urge you to recognize the importance of earning the public’s support.  Absent the public’s support your entire effort could be halted.  By making securing that trust your central priority, you can achieve wonders.

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)
  • Hyperion Ave Viaduct (Rowena to Glenfeliz)
  • Hollywood Blvd (La Brea to Sunset)
  • Hillhurst Ave (Los Feliz to Sunset)
  • Lankershim Blvd (Hatteras to Cahuenga)
  • Cahuenga Blvd (Lankershim to Odin)

I am not prepared to support these particular measures. I am committed to finding alternatives that will attract public support. Will you work with me to identify those alternatives?

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?

As I have said, I favor establishing demonstration projects to establish the benefits of having complete bicycle routes that include destinations such as local shopping areas and have adequate parking for bikes.

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?

To be honest, I know nothing about this issue. Would you please sit down with me to educate me on your suggestions? Is it feasible to promote the collection of cell phone photos of incidents taken by the public to identify the persons who are fleeing those accidents?

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?

I have made clear that I will NOT support an extended or additional tax measure (such as the proposed measure R-2) unless and until the commitment to projects that benefit CD4 are written in stone.  I would be happy to include bicycle and walking projects in those projects.  But, I have not established a percentage of those projects.  We should review funding available from other sources and coordinate the potential measure R extension with that funding.

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?

Yes! And Yes!

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?

No, when I bike I do not feel sufficiently safe.

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

Let me conclude by reiterating that I want to work with you to identify demonstration projects in CD4 that will enhance public support for integrating bicycles into our transit mix.

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