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Are You Bike-Friendly? CD4’s Tara Bannister 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 Tara Bannister.

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 attending USC my best friend was struck by a vehicle while riding her bicycle to school. This led me to believe that our roads are unsafe and should be designed in a way where drivers, bicyclist and pedestrians can coexist.

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?

I strongly support Vision Zero. Throughout my campaign I have pushed for Los Angeles to think bigger, brighter, bolder and Vision Zero is exactly that. I believe Los Angeles should be designing streets to incorporate all modes of transportation not just cars. We need to stop being so dependent on vehicles to get from one point to the other and we can accomplish that by giving our residents options to do so.

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 it is worthwhile to make Los Angeles a city where everyone feels confortable riding a bicycle. BEN promotes a healthier lifestyle as well as a form of transportation that is less detrimental to our environment. However, it is crucial that before we implement a project of this magnitude we make sure our infrastructure is improved and that our side streets are capable of handling the extra flow of traffic.

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?

As a candidate who is committed to enhancing the quality of life of residents in the 4th district, it is important to me that the constituents are not only informed of projects but are also given the opportunity of voicing their concerns, provide input and have their questions answered. Equally as important is sufficient funding for such projects.

I do not feel compelled to continue the current Councilmember’s plan if it doesn’t improve the quality of life of my constituents.

5. 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)

There should be bike lanes and safe sidewalks for all of CD4 residents to use in the above streets. I am ready to support all of them as long as we can first and foremost fix the infrastructure – potholes, tree trimmings, and sidewalks. We need to make our streets walkable and bikeable before we can implement a road diet. We also need to create awareness of the bike lanes and sidewalks. Tourists and visitors overwhelmingly use Hollywood Boulevard, we need to add signage and promote the rules of the road better in order to avoid accidents.

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 would promote having bike racks outside shops and restaurants – bicyclist won’t have to worry about leaving their bikes in an unsafe place and local business will be able to accommodate its clientele.

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 would fix our streets and sidewalks so bicyclists and walkers are able to travel safely. I would also like to partner with local organizations to educate what a cyclists/pedestrian should do to avoid collisions with vehicles and if they are involved in an accident how to react in the situation – including identifying the perpetrator and collecting information that will lead to his/her arrest.

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, I would support allocating 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?


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?

I do not feel 100% safe riding a bike in the streets of Los Angeles. I feel safe riding in parks or other recreational areas but not in the streets.

In order for me to feel safe riding a bicycle on the streets we need to fill in potholes and there also needs to be a buffer between the bike lane and the vehicle lane.

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

I first came to Los Angeles in 1989 as freshman at USC and fell in love with the city immediately. After receiving a degree in political science I got involved in several political campaigns, which eventually led to me being senior advisor to Governor Gray Davis. I have lived in Park La Brea in CD4 for over 10 years and now I am running to represent the people of the Fourth Los Angeles Council District because I know that we’re not getting the representation we deserve. I know that many people first came to Los Angeles seeking the same new life that I did, yet their needs are being neglected by City Government. Basic needs – like safe communities, accessible sidewalks, quality roads, consistent water supplies, nurturing schools, and promising economic development – are getting short shrift by career politicians. I am fighting to ensure that Los Angeles is the very best place in which to live, work, and raise a family, and that LA residents can afford to do so.

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