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Are You Bike-Friendly? CD4’s Fred Mariscal 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 Fred Mariscal.

All candidate responses are available here: /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).

When I was a kid my mom bought me a really cool bike and took me to the park to learn… she took me every day until I was able to bike on my own. My mom past away when I was 18. That was one of the most memorable days of my life.

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?

Yes I do support Vision Zero. I’m just wondering where the funding to redesign intersections or streets for enhanced pedestrian safety will come from?

I believe that streets belong to all of us not just people driving cars, so we need to share the roads with bicyclist too, and safety should always be our first priority. However, I’d like to look at options in which delay for drivers can be diminished without compromising safety.

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 do believe that making LA a city where everyone feels comfortable riding a bike and walking is important. As I said cars shouldn’t own our streets. This is a difficult question because vast majority of residents worry about how to mitigate traffic and some fear that “BEN” may makes things worse. On the other end it may start forcing us to really look into alternative ways of getting around, and of our cars and starting using public transit and other means.

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?

If the City Council adopted the Plan I’m going to support it. I will make sure that the Plans on my District are implemented as previously agreed. I’m not going to feel obligated to implement a good plan adopted by my predecessor.

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.

  1. 6th Street (Fairfax to La Brea)

  2. San Vicente Blvd (Wilshire to Venice)

  3. Hyperion Ave Viaduct (Rowena to Glenfeliz)

  4. Hollywood Blvd (La Brea to Sunset)

  5. Hillhurst Ave (Los Feliz to Sunset)

  6. Lankershim Blvd (Hatteras to Cahuenga)

  7. Cahuenga Blvd (Lankershim to Odin)

I don’t see why I couldn’t support all of them. However, I’d like to start with two or three and see how it goes. I’d have to spend more time analyzing this proposal to figure out which ones.

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 think we need to have more bike parking racks. Many bikers use parking meters. I’d like to create a marketing campaign to encourage more biking like the article suggests, and I’d like to start looking at development of better bicycle and human-centric access (like the City of Chicago’s “people spots”) near businesses.

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?

I’m going to push for stiffer hit-and-run penalties, and work in conjunction with the City Attorney. Need to perhaps place signs where this happens the most. We need to make sure that everyone including bikers obey traffic rules. Often times I see bikers coming at me opposite direction. We all need to obey traffic rules.

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?


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 to both.

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, I don’t feel safe. We need to make sure everyone obeys traffic rules, bikers as well. And we need to make sure the rules are enforced.

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

Thank you for the opportunity.

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