Over the past several years, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition has made great strides toward making bicycling a safe and convenient way to travel, connecting diverse communities to make our county more livable, economically vibrant and environmentally sustainable. Critical to this progress has been supportive leadership from our County Supervisors, who also serve on the Metro Board of Directors.
It is our hope that our new supervisors will continue this progress and elevate LA to the next level. The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition invite all supervisor candidates to appeal directly to an engaged, thoughtful group of voters–our county’s bicyclists–by responding to our questionnaire.
Note: The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is a 501(c)3 non-profit organizations and cannot endorse candidates or engage in electioneering on behalf of a candidate. We are offering this questionnaire as a service to candidates to communicate with potential voters for informational purposes only. All candidates have an equal opportunity to respond and responses will be distributed without bias in the order in which they are received.
The election for the L.A. County Board of Supervisors’ Fourth District is on Tuesday, June 7th. To register to vote, check your registration, request a vote-by-mail ballot, or find your polling place, visit: www.lavote.net.
Below are responses from Fourth District candidate Janice Hahn.
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).
-Soon after I got divorced, I took my kids on our first solo vacation to Yosemite. We rented bikes. Mark, my youngest, was a toddler. He was on the toddler seat on the back of the bike. We rode through the majestic valley of Yosemite. Everyone was free and joyous, and I thought maybe everything will be alright. And, I hope that my kids were feeling the same way.
-Bishop Juan Carlos Mendes of South Gate told me that when he was 9 years old he won an essay contest and the prize was a bicycle. My father, Kenny Hahn, presented the bike to him over 50 years ago. The first time I met him the Bishop told me the story of getting the bike and what it meant to him. The story was a full circle because he got the bike from my dad and now he was my friend. And, in the back of my mind, I always wondered what happened to my childhood bike — did it go to Bishop Mendes.
County supervisors have great power to improve the safety, health and livability of Los Angeles County through both their role on the Metro board shaping countywide transportation policy and investment decisions and through oversight of County departments, including Public Works, Public Health and Parks & Recreation. In 2012, the County of Los Angeles adopted a Bicycle Master Plan proposing 831 miles of new bikeways due to be completed by 2032. What would you do to ensure that implementation of the Bicycle Master Plan projects continues during your term? How many miles of new bicycle facilities will you commit to implementing each year in your district?
I will make sure to dedicate adequate funding and personnel to further advance the Bicycle Master Plan during my term as County Supervisor. I will ensure that we follow through with our adopted Bicycle Master Plan and as County Supervisor, I would do my utmost to build as many miles of bicycle facilities in my area as possible, and will keep our county on track towards reaching the ultimate 831 mile goal.
County Public Works design standards currently favor high speed traffic by requiring minimum lane widths larger than other transportation agencies. This has created an unnecessary barrier to implementing bicycle projects in urban unincorporated areas, resulting in shared “class III” bike routes on major streets where dedicated “class II” bike lanes would be more appropriate. Do you support adopting the Model Design Manual for Living Streets produced by the County Department of Public Health, but not yet adopted by Public Works?
Yes, I support an expanded vision for bike lanes throughout the city. I am confident that I, as a county supervisor, will be able to work with the other supervisors and various city agencies to come to an infrastructure solution that allows for both appropriate bike lanes and safe driving lanes. Not only will this allow more bicycle traffic, it will also keep bicycle riders safer by ensuring that car drivers have adequate space in their lanes to give bikers a space to share the road.
Studies have shown that protected bikeways (i.e. those that are separated from moving vehicles by a curb or parked cars) can reduce injuries by as much as 90%, while reducing collisions and improving safety for all road users. The County Bicycle Master Plan calls for the implementation of such facilities, but none have been planned on County streets to date. Would you support the implementation of protected bikeways, and can you suggest any areas in your district where such facilities should be built?
Protected bikeways are extremely valuable tools for keeping bikers safe from collisions, and I fully support a more aggressive program of creating such protected bikeways. As a county supervisor, I would look to implement such protected bikeways in areas that are popular amongst bikers, like in Long Beach. By starting in areas with heavy bike traffic, I hope to significantly reduce bike injuries and make bicycling a safer, more appealing option for people across the city.
In Los Angeles County, 19% of all trips are made on foot or by bike and 39% percent of those killed on our county’s streets are people walking and biking, yet Metro only allocates 1% of its funding to these modes of transportation. The three sales tax measures that generate a majority of Metro’s revenue (Proposition A, Proposition C and Measure R) dedicate 0% for walking and biking. Metro’s potential sales tax, the Metro Plan, could address these underfunding issues, do you support allocating at least 10% to active transportation as part of the Metro draft expenditure plan?
In Los Angeles County, 34% of students walk or bike to school, while motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for school-age youth. Many more parents don’t feel safe allowing their children to walk or bike to school, resulting in heavy vehicular traffic at school hours and dangerous levels of congestion in front of schools. Metro is currently drafting a countywide Safe Routes to School Strategic Plan, but without an implementation strategy or dedicated funding. Do you support dedicated funding for a countywide Safe Routes to School program that would improve safety for children and parents, and encourage more biking and walking to the over 2,000 public schools in Los Angeles County?
Yes, I support implementing a program that will improve the health and safety of our school children by reducing traffic congestion and encouraging them to walk and bike to school more often. Encouraging biking to school not only protects our environment, it enhances quality of life by decreasing traffic and getting kids moving.
The County of Los Angeles is one of the region’s largest employers, generating significant traffic congestion and pollution around County facilities. Will you provide annual transit passes to all County employees and provide secure bicycle parking for both employees and visitors at County buildings?
I absolutely support utilizing alternatives methods of transportation to improve the environment and help reduce congestion around Los Angeles. I would definitely support installing bicycle parking at County buildings and am also very willing to provide county employees with incentives to use more economically-friendly methods of transportation.
If elected, what would you do to reduce and prevent collisions involving pedestrians, bicyclists and other vulnerable road users? Would you support a countywide Vision Zero campaign and how would you incorporate education, enforcement, engineering, and engagement into that campaign?
I would absolutely support a countywide Vision Zero campaign. Public safety is of utmost importance to me and that includes collision prevention. I would support educational programs for police officers, public transportation officials, and civilians alike to help everyone understand the rules, regulations, and responsibilities of transportation in our city.
AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, calls for the reduction of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020. Passed two years later, SB 375 requires the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to reduce emissions from passenger vehicles and requires regional metropolitan planning organizations to develop “Sustainable Communities Strategies” that integrate transportation, land-use, and housing policies that plan to achieve the emissions targets for their regions. Given that almost half of emissions in LA County come from motor vehicles, what specific policies or plans do you think local cities should implement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector?
Everywhere I go in L.A. County, I sit in traffic, and traffic leads to greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately it plagues our region and our environment, and it’s a reality that we live with every single day.
As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the U.S House of Representatives, I have been pushing for increased investment in local transportation projects that give people more accessibility and increased convenience when it comes to new, smart mass transit options. Still, with continued gridlock in Washington, I believe that it’s time to act locally to address these issue head-on.
In 2008, County residents voted for and passed Measure R, which provided billions of dollars in critical funding for transportation projects. While Measure R has helped tremendously, building new light-rail and subway networks, as well as better roads to help reduce some of the traffic—it clearly wasn’t enough. That’s why now the State Legislature and MTA Board are considering an extension of Measure R which I am in full support of. With that said, however, I believe that we must make sure that whatever new mass transit measure is put forward, that it includes an inclusive plan to ensure that no community in the County is left behind or without mass transit options.
If we want to enact real, countywide reduction of greenhouse gases, then we ought to invest in mass transit projects in all corners of the County. This includes in the San Gabriel Valley in cities like Whittier, or in San Pedro, who got next to nothing from Measure R. It also means ensuring that the Green Line’s proposed extension of a mono-rail or a people-mover that goes all the way into LAX Airport, actually gets built so that less airport travelers will clog up the 405 freeway in and around Marina del Ray and the Beach Cities. Beyond mass transit, I believe the County can play a role in developing other non-vehicle related transit projects like safe bike lanes as well as more pedestrian-friendly and walkable community-based developments. And, I think the County has the ability to offer incentives to encourage commuters to do their part by minimizing the number of trips they take in a car, or to increase the use of carpooling and utilizing mass transit options more frequently.
Support for Bike Share programs is growing across southern California. How do you see your district getting involved in this program? How can you make sure that Bike Share programs prioritize equity to ensure that working class and low-income community members benefit from the program?
I think Bike Share programs are wonderful and a great way to move Los Angeles into a less fuel dependent direction. With that being said, we need to make this a widespread initiative to include all communities, not just the most wealthy. In order to do so, I will get the County involved in Bike Share programs to make costs affordable, locations safe, and bikes accessible.
Multiple sources report that communities of color and low-income neighborhoods are more likely to get ticketed while riding their bike and burdened by the cost of tickets. Would you support actions to address this racial justice issue, such as a countywide ticket diversion program that allowed people ticketed for certain infractions to attend a class on safe bicycle riding and thus reduce their fines?
Yes. Absolutely. Discrimination of all kinds is flat out unacceptable and I will work on the Board of Supervisors combat it where ever possible. That means instituting a countywide ticket diversion program and ensuring that peace officers do not target communities of color.