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Candidate Questionnaire 2020

West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition Candidate Questionnaire
West Hollywood City Council Election — Tuesday, November 3, 2020

On Tuesday, November 3, West Hollywood voters will head to the polls to decide a number of ballot measures and elected offices, among them will be two of the City Council’s five seats.  The seats are at-large, meaning each council member represents the entire city.

The West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition crafted a seven-question questionnaire and sent it to all eleven candidates. Their completed questionnaires are linked to below, in alphabetical order.

As a chapter of a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, we cannot endorse candidates, but we hope you find this information helpful as you educate yourselves about candidates.

For a sample ballot & precinct map, please visit the City’s Election Information Web page.

Completed questionnaires:

We did not receive responses from the following candidates:

  • Marco Colantonio
  • Tom Demille (withdrew)
  • Noemi Torres

Larry Block Responses

1.  What mode(s) of transportation do you use, and why?

Walking is my main mode of getting from place to place in our little village. I also use ride-sharing and the Metro bus. I live around the corner from my shop on Santa Monica Blvd and mostly walk to and from. I’m visually impaired and have a driver’s license that does not allow highway or night driving. My carbon footprint is quite small and my car is mostly used for work to pick up deliveries or for my staff to utilize.

2.  Would (or do) you feel safe biking as a primary mode of transportation for short and medium-length trips? Why or why not?

This is a hard question for a disabled person. The most honest, upfront answer I can give is to project my feelings about using bikes as a primary mode of transportation.

As an owner of a small business with employees in the heart of West Hollywood, many of the staff need to use bicycles as their primary mode of getting to and from work. We provide a place for them to store their bicycles and we encourage all the staff to not take cars to and from home due to traffic and parking issues. My main concern is my employee’s safety and can reflect on various times that their safety can be compromised by drivers who are not paying attention. I believe that a young person in Los Angeles should be able to utilize biking as their primary mode of transportation. While it’s not for everyone, we must provide the connectivity to make biking a way of life.

3.  What do you think the city should do to improve safety and convenience of bicycling in West Hollywood? Is there anywhere you feel the city should add additional bike lanes, greenways, and/or protections to existing bike lanes?

First, we need connectivity into Beverly Hills, on both the eastbound and westbound lanes. We also need to connect eastbound Sweetzer to the east. The number one goal is to make bike lanes clear and safe.

Second, I support moving bike lanes to the inside of the curb and having a safer zone for bikes. I’d go as far as to say I’d support one lane and encourage all other green forms of transportation in a green lane.

4.  What do you think the city should do to promote and/or incentivize active transportation (such as bikes, scooters, and walking) in West Hollywood?

I’d answer this with ‘build it and they will come’, providing visually safe bike lanes will create a lifestyle that others will join and enjoy. The best promotion is happy, safe bikers. Scooters on the other hand seem to complicate things (sorry) – when they are left lying on the street all over, and roll on the sidewalks with no discipline. If we expand our bike lanes properly, scooters and bikes will co-exist safely, and that is the goal.

5.  What do you think the city’s policy should be on shared scooters, bike-share, and other micro-mobility?

The city policy should be to promote safety first. Find a safe way to include scooters. Promote safe bike lanes and make a long term commitment to connectivity.

6.  What are your thoughts on bringing Metro Rail to West Hollywood, and for first-mile, last-mile access to and from a subway stop?

I’m all for the Metro to West Hollywood. I’m not a big fan of the route through West Hollywood. I am not for displacement of residents in transit corridors or ripping up the street and killing the rest of our small businesses. Post pandemic and with more working from home I hope that we can continue to develop safe mass transit that people will use. I prefer Metro to La Brea, and south to Beverly, San Vicente first and the closest possible stop to West Hollywood at Fairfax.

7.  Should the City consider adding more barriers to motor vehicle cut-through traffic on residential streets that are often used as thoroughfares?

Yes I support bike lanes on streets such as Willoughby or others. We must have complete connectivity with clear safe lines and lanes.

 

Jerome Cleary Responses

1.  What mode(s) of transportation do you use, and why?

I drive and walk and use my bike. I use all of these because they can be fast and effective.

2.  Would (or do) you feel safe biking as a primary mode of transportation for short and medium-length trips? Why or why not?

Yes, I would feel safe biking as my primary mode of transportation for short and medium-length trips because it’s a great way to get around. It’s quicker and faster than driving or walking.

3.  What do you think the city should do to improve safety and convenience of bicycling in West Hollywood? Is there anywhere you feel the city should add additional bike lanes, greenways, and/or protections to existing bike lanes?

I think the city should do a lot more to improve safety and convenience for all bike riders by making more bike paths in other areas and safeguarding them in a way that makes it more accessible and safer. The city should add additional bike lanes and greenways on main drags like Melrose, Fountain, Fairfax, LaCienega. Yes and protect the existing bike lanes with more pylons and signage and ad campaigns with the city.

4.  What do you think the city should do to promote and/or incentivize active transportation (such as bikes, scooters, and walking) in West Hollywood?

I believe the city should promote to incentivize bikes and scooter and walking by creating a specific fun memorable media campaign throughout the city. This could be done simply in some ways with story telling by local residents in the ads and banners. This can also be done additionally by creating reminders that drivers can see as they pass by the streets.

5.  What do you think the city’s policy should be on shared scooters, bike-share, and other micro-mobility?

The city’s policy has to be pro-active and specific since some of the failings of the scooters and electric bikes have been problematic. Part of the problem as we know had to do with the business model of encouraging anyone to just ditch and leave the scooter anywhere which including blocking sidewalks. This creates havoc for the elderly and handicap walking on our sidewalks. By illuminating the best assets of this micro-mobility we can specifically re-group in a better way in marketing their mass appeal and safety.

6.  What are your thoughts on bringing Metro Rail to West Hollywood, and for first-mile, last-mile access to and from a subway stop?

My thought on this is that I highly encourage it all. My one note is that in the past 5 years no one could have predicted Lyft, Uber and the scooters so my concern is we should have a think tank to develop other ideas for transportation too. This can be done while another decade of Metro Rail construction continues onward.

7.  Should the City consider adding more barriers to motor vehicle cut-through traffic on residential streets that are often used as thoroughfares?

Yes I think this would create safer havens especially for bike riders, scooters and people walking.

 

Councilman John Duran Responses

1.  What mode(s) of transportation do you use, and why?

I walk to work. I am fortunate to live 2 blocks from my office. When I have to go to courts (as an attorney), I drive my vehicle.

2.  Would (or do) you feel safe biking as a primary mode of transportation for short and medium-length trips? Why or why not?

Yes. I participated in 4 Aids Life Cycle rides from San Francisco to Los Angeles over the years. I think biking is safe in urban areas. However, the cyclist has to be wary of car doors swinging open and drivers not paying attention.

3.  What do you think the city should do to improve safety and convenience of bicycling in West Hollywood? Is there anywhere you feel the city should add additional bike lanes, greenways, and/or protections to existing bike lanes?

We are looking now at expanding transportation with motorized bikes (which I support) along with traditional bikes. I support shared use of the road.

4.  What do you think the city should do to promote and/or incentivize active transportation (such as bikes, scooters, and walking) in West Hollywood?

Think the city has a long record of supporting bikes, walkability and Metro. I did vote against scooters when it was before us a few years ago. However, I would support scooter use in the city if we can find proper docking stations.

5.  What do you think the city’s policy should be on shared scooters, bike-share, and other micro-mobility?

I generally support if we can find docking locations.

6.  What are your thoughts on bringing Metro Rail to West Hollywood, and for first-mile, last-mile access to and from a subway stop?

I have been a consistent vote on bringing Metro to WeHo over the years. I support walking, bikes and scooters for first and last mile.

7.  Should the City consider adding more barriers to motor vehicle cut-through traffic on residential streets that are often used as thoroughfares?

I do not support this concept.

 

John Erickson Responses

1.  What mode(s) of transportation do you use, and why?

When I worked at City Hall, I got to and from work via the #4 or #704 bus because there was a stop right at City Hall. I only use my car when necessary. I will use the Metro Red Line to get to and from my work at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. But because my job requires quit a bit of travel during the day on routes not serviced by Metro, I frequently have to use my car. In WeHo, I walk.

2.  Would (or do) you feel safe biking as a primary mode of transportation for short and medium-length trips? Why or why not?

No. Currently our transportation infrastructure doesn’t prioritize the safety of cyclists on par with cars, and the idea of sharing lanes on roadways with cars moving at 50 mph seems too risky. We need to do more to protect bikers and pedestrians. While the city is making improvements, they are not enough to help individuals feel safe biking as a primary mode of transportation.

3.  What do you think the city should do to improve safety and convenience of bicycling in West Hollywood? Is there anywhere you feel the city should add additional bike lanes, greenways, and/or protections to existing bike lanes?

The city must invest in creating a network of protected bike lanes, where bicyclists are separated from cars with a physical barrier. And it must be planned with the greater context of regional bikeways in mind to ensure it is part of a broader network, and can be fully utilized as a primary mode of transportation. We need to look at what LADOT is planning for Melrose and how we can do something similar to create greater safety and priority for pedestrians and bikes on both east-west and north-south routes.

4.  What do you think the city should do to promote and/or incentivize active transportation (such as bikes, scooters, and walking) in West Hollywood?

The primary work we have to do is safety. We know that the average trip length of cars in the area is well within a reasonable range for bicycles to become a much more heavily utilized mode of transportation. We can educate the public about bike share, increase available bicycle parking in commercial areas, and publicize maps of bike routes and bike parking to members of the community. Once we have strengthened safety for bicyclists and have upgraded our infrastructure, we can look at how we can partner with hotels in the area to encourage use of bikes, like providing information on routes and bike share.

5.  What do you think the city’s policy should be on shared scooters, bike-share, and other micro-mobility?

The city must move forward, more quickly, to integrate micro-mobility as a strategic part of our transportation planning. We know that with our present (and even near-future) public transit system, we will continue to have last-mile challenges. West Hollywood has taken good steps with shuttle service, but micro-mobility really closes a lot of gaps. Whether it’s public, public-private partnership, or private, we can figure out the best way to deploy micro-mobility alongside bike share so that residents (and guests) can have safe, easy, and cost-efficient access to transportation options.

6.  What are your thoughts on bringing Metro Rail to West Hollywood, and for first-mile, last-mile access to and from a subway stop?

Expanding rail access to West Hollywood will continue to support the success of our small businesses and make it easier for residents to get around. We know there’s huge support for West Hollywood dedicating funds to making sure this happens – and in the 2020’s, not 2046. Regarding last-mile, as mentioned earlier, we should expand our use of bike-share and integrate micro-mobility into our strategic planning to dramatically reduce private vehicle usage, reduce traffic, make our streets safer, our air cleaner, and our residents happier. Fortunately, for most West Hollywood residents, depending on the route chosen, most people in the city will in reality live just a few blocks from a stop.

7.  Should the City consider adding more barriers to motor vehicle cut-through traffic on residential streets that are often used as thoroughfares?

I think it’s about how we’re utilizing our streets and how we look at them from a planning perspective in relation to the local context. For example, I live on Fountain Ave., arguably the most dangerous street in West Hollywood to vehicle drivers and passengers. The problem isn’t necessarily that it’s cut-through traffic, it’s the conditions that make it desirable for those driving through. It’s almost entirely residential yet the speed limit is 35 mph and cars routine drive about 50 mph+.

We’ve removed parking and made it two lanes in both direction during rush hour, and it turns practically into a highway. In an area like this, there should be only one lane in either direction to allow both for the parking to be permanent in areas where it is currently time-restricted and to reduce the speed limit to 30 mph, expand sidewalks, and add protected bike lanes. There are probably a few intersections where we should also look at adding stop signs and/or roundabouts. These are upgrades that bring the priority back to local residents, and likely have the side effect of shifting traffic back to routes like Sunset Blvd.

 

Councilman John Heilman Responses

1.  What mode(s) of transportation do you use, and why?

I typically drive to work and walk for short neighborhood trips. If I’m teaching on campus during the summer, I take the bus and Metro Rail to campus and run home.

2.  Would (or do) you feel safe biking as a primary mode of transportation for short and medium-length trips? Why or why not?

I would not feel safe with biking as my primary mode of transportation because my primary commute involves a very congested area of Los Angeles. I would feel safe biking for occasional short trips. My principal safety concern with biking is the large volume of vehicular traffic in West Hollywood. I also need to avoid exposure to sunlight during the day and feel less secure with biking at nighttime.

3.  What do you think the city should do to improve safety and convenience of bicycling in West Hollywood? Is there anywhere you feel the city should add additional bike lanes, greenways, and/or protections to existing bike lanes?

We have already agreed to extend bike lanes on Santa Monica near Doheny to complete the current bike lanes and connect them to the lanes in Beverly Hills. I support the proposal to create a greenway on Willoughby. When we are able to break ground on a Metro rail line through West Hollywood, we should use the construction as an opportunity for creating protected bike lanes along the entire length of Santa Monica either at grade or above grade.

4.  What do you think the city should do to promote and/or incentivize active transportation (such as bikes, scooters, and walking) in West Hollywood?

Having a viable bike share program would incentivize bicycle use in the City. Our initial program was not successful. City staff has developed recommendations for a new share program with electric bicycles which seem more user friendly than the previous models. The other initiative I support is the creation of an east-west greenway along Willoughby.

5.  What do you think the city’s policy should be on shared scooters, bike-share, and other micro-mobility?

I support implementing a new bike-share program. City staff has a series of recommendations they will be bringing to the City Council. Staff’s recommendations include an electric-bike share program. Staff’s recommendations also include shared scooters. I will listen carefully to the staff analysis and recommendations, but I remain skeptical about shared scooters based on safety concerns.

6.  What are your thoughts on bringing Metro Rail to West Hollywood, and for first-mile, last-mile access to and from a subway stop?

I have served on the Council’s subcommittee working to bring the northern extension of the Crenshaw line to West Hollywood. We have been successful in getting service to West Hollywood included in the County tax measure. We then worked to build a coalition and a mechanism to expedite the line instead of waiting for the original time frame of 2040. As a result of our work, Metro has just begun the process of preparing an EIR for the northern extension. We now need to work to ensure that we adopt an alignment which serves the maximum number of West Hollywood residents and businesses. We are also currently working to develop funding mechanisms to build the line. As part of the process, we need to look at how people will connect to Metro Line stations and provide a wide array of mechanisms, including shuttles, bicycles and safe walking routes.

7.  Should the City consider adding more barriers to motor vehicle cut-through traffic on residential streets that are often used as thoroughfares?

We have been installing speed humps in various locations in the city to reduce cut-through traffic. We have also installed barriers and turn restrictions in some places to cut down on traffic in residential neighborhoods triggered by apps directing drivers to cut through our neighborhoods. We need to continue to use these mechanisms, but we also need to be cautious about restricting traffic on one neighborhood street and pushing that traffic onto an adjacent neighborhood street. We also need to carefully evaluate the mechanisms we use to ensure that they are effective and not creating unintended consequences.

 

Christopher McDonald Responses

1.  What mode(s) of transportation do you use, and why?

I use my Prius for long distances and for shorter distances I walk whenever I can. I would use a bike locally in West Hollywood on occasion, but predominantly use one along the beach paths in Santa Monica.

2.  Would (or do) you feel safe biking as a primary mode of transportation for short and medium-length trips? Why or why not?

I unfortunately do not feel safe riding a bike in West Hollywood most of the time. I think the bike lanes we have are not clearly defined, many of our streets are not well lit and sometimes bike lanes end without warning.

3.  What do you think the city should do to improve safety and convenience of bicycling in West Hollywood? Is there anywhere you feel the city should add additional bike lanes, greenways, and/or protections to existing bike lanes?

I think West Hollywood should add more bike lanes throughout the city. With traffic getting worse every year there’s no reason not to. Adding more bike lanes is a simple solution that will help not only traffic, but the environment as well. And with residents biking around town locally… that can add a sense of community and could also provide some much needed support to our local small businesses. We first need clearly defined bike lines throughout our city. Lanes should have VERY visible markings painted on the ground and also reflective road markers. Making our streets better lit and our bike lanes more clearly defined will make people feel safer biking in our city.

4.  What do you think the city should do to promote and/or incentivize active transportation (such as bikes, scooters, and walking) in West Hollywood?

I want to make West Hollywood a more welcoming and bike friendly city. I think by making people feel safe while biking on the streets will go a long way towards making that happen. I think we saw with CicLAvia last year that the hunger and passion to bike ride in our neighborhood is there, but currently bike lane consistency and safety just isn’t where it needs to be. I understand it’s not always realistic to close down streets at the level of CicLAvia, but the city could set up smaller scale events throughout the year. We can work with local businesses to do bike crawls and stores/ restaurants can provide special offers to bikers. There are lots of fun ways to get people in West Hollywood excited about biking, but again I believe it first starts with making people feel safe.

5.  What do you think the city’s policy should be on shared scooters, bike-share, and other micro-mobility?

I think we should support shared scooters, bike-share, and other micro-mobility, but with regulations. We can’t have bikes and scooters piled up along our sidewalks and blocking access for those using wheelchairs. For example with a scooter… one solution is that there needs to be pre-selected areas through the city that a scooter must be placed for the ride to end. And the scooter must also be placed in the upright position for the ride to end. We need to work the GPS technology on the scooters to make it work for everyone in the community. These moods of transportation should add to our city rather than become a hazard or nuisance. Also more clearly defined bike lanes will help with people riding them in the proper areas.

6.  What are your thoughts on bringing Metro Rail to West Hollywood, and for first-mile, last-mile access to and from a subway stop?

I fully support bringing the Metro Rail to West Hollywood. And in regards fo first-mile, last-mile access I think we should push for riders to uses bikes and other non automotive modes of transportation getting themselves to and from the Metro station as much as possible. To make that a more appealing option the city should set up secure bike racks and docking stations at the metro entrances/ exits.

7.  Should the City consider adding more barriers to motor vehicle cut-through traffic on residential streets that are often used as thoroughfares?

I believe anything that will help cut-through traffic on local streets should absolutely be looked into. Especially when it comes to vehicular speeding down our local streets and creating dangerous situations. I believe speed bumps are a great option and provide much relief to local neighborhood streets… reducing cut-through traffic and also making streets safer.

 

Sepi Shyne Responses

1.  What mode(s) of transportation do you use, and why?

I am a frequent user of public transportation and the mode I use depends on where I am traveling to and how safe I feel. When I am working in Century City, I use public transit or my bicycle. When I work in Downtown LA and working late I use my car. If I am only working for a few hours I use the West Hollywood Shuttles and the Metro.

2.  Would (or do) you feel safe biking as a primary mode of transportation for short and medium-length trips? Why or why not?

Sometimes. Personally, I feel safe traveling to Century City because of the designated bike lanes. For short trips within West Hollywood, I usually walk because I feel safer. I don’t feel safe cycling to Downtown LA because that direction does not have enough protected bike lanes.

3.  What do you think the city should do to improve safety and convenience of bicycling in West Hollywood? Is there anywhere you feel the city should add additional bike lanes, greenways, and/or protections to existing bike lanes?

Bicycle lanes need to be added from City Hall through the Eastside because that area gets dangerous for cyclists. N. Crescent Heights from Sunset to Santa Monica is a wide enough street that could become safer if bike lanes are added especially because cars speed down so fast from Laurel Canyon. A lot of cyclists use N. Crescent Heights. Melrose from La Cienega to Doheny needs to be more bicycle-friendly and it would help the shops as well.

I feel the city should continue to improve bike lanes by transforming them into green bike lanes and add protections where feasible.

4.  What do you think the city should do to promote and/or incentivize active transportation (such as bikes, scooters, and walking) in West Hollywood?

The city should partner up more with the Weho Bike coalition to encourage businesses to have themed incentive programs that provide discounts and other incentives to people who use their bikes to get ride to the businesses and also develop a bike and dine month with discounts to patrons who bike to the restaurants/coffee shops and the City can promote this as a cultural shift.

5.  What do you think the city’s policy should be on shared scooters, bike-share, and other micro-mobility?

I think as long as there are safety precautions in place to protect people who use them as well as the pedestrians on sidewalks then scooters, bike-share micro-mobility is very helpful for getting people out of their cars.

6.  What are your thoughts on bringing Metro Rail to West Hollywood, and for first-mile, last-mile access to and from a subway stop?

I am a supporter of bringing Metro Rail to West Hollywood and excited about the first-mile, last-mile access to and from a subway stop, and all of the improvements that will come with that.

7.  Should the City consider adding more barriers to motor vehicle cut-through traffic on residential streets that are often used as thoroughfares?

Yes. 100%. We need to prioritize protecting cyclists and pedestrians.

 

Mark Farhad Yusupov Responses

1.  What mode(s) of transportation do you use, and why?

I live in the Norma Triangle and often on foot to get to local shops, cafes and gym, when it was open. I also own a car. My toddler daughter has kids bike and I take her to Beverly Hills flats, since it’s safer to ride there. I do plan to get a bicycle for myself, so when she grows older we can ride side by side.

2.  Would (or do) you feel safe biking as a primary mode of transportation for short and medium-length trips? Why or why not?

Not yet. Unfortunately in West Hollywood bike lanes are only some of the major streets and motorist are not used to driving along with bicyclist. Creating more bike lanes would greatly help.

3.  What do you think the city should do to improve safety and convenience of bicycling in West Hollywood? Is there anywhere you feel the city should add additional bike lanes, greenways, and/or protections to existing bike lanes?

Additional bike lanes and maybe even greenways where possible. One idea is to have outlined bike lanes in the alleys, right behind buildings along the major boulevards. For example Santa Monica Boulevard.

4.  What do you think the city should do to promote and/or incentivize active transportation (such as bikes, scooters, and walking) in West Hollywood?

As mentioned above, additional bike lanes and outlined bike lanes in the alleys, behind buildings along the main streets. Create more options to securely chain the bikes within the city.

5.  What do you think the city’s policy should be on shared scooters, bike-share, and other micro-mobility?

Creating more bike lanes would allow bike-share and scooters. Also, those bike-share companies should come up with an option to have shared helmets, maybe.

6.  What are your thoughts on bringing Metro Rail to West Hollywood, and for first-mile, last-mile access to and from a subway stop?

Bringing Metro Rail is a great news and bicycles would perfect transportation for the last-first mile access.

7.  Should the City consider adding more barriers to motor vehicle cut-through traffic on residential streets that are often used as thoroughfares?

Depends on the street. I live on Cynthia Street, where City had already installed barriers in a couple of locations and that does help. If street is known to have issues with speed limit violators than definitely more barriers to slow them down would be needed.

Bike to Work Day 2019

May is National Bike Month and the City of West Hollywood is celebrating the benefits of bicycling by encouraging community members to leave their cars at home and hop on a bicycle to get to work or to grab a bite to eat across town.   On Bike to Work Day, Thursday, May 16, the City will host a “WeHo Bike Hub” from 7:00 to 10:00 a.m. at 8603 Santa Monica Boulevard (just west of Westmount Drive).  The Bike Hub will be a festive spot for cyclists to gather, hydrate, and refuel.  Please stop by!


In addition, L.A.’s Mid City West Community Council will be hosting a pit stop at the corner of Willoughby Ave. and Vista St. from 7:30–9:30 a.m.  Get the latest updates on the process for evaluating the proposed Willoughby and Vista/Gardner Neighborhood Greenway, and enjoy refreshments and giveaways!


For the entire month of May, there will be bicycle-related events all around Los Angeles County, including group rides, workshops and community-hosted events.  In addition to the WeHo Bike-to-Work Day event, there are numerous other pit stops across the county.

View Larger Map

Operation Firefly and Willoughby Greenway in WeHo and Mid-City West

Join the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition, Mid City West Community Council, and the City of West Hollywood for a bicycle safety event on the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 27th at the intersection of Willoughby and Fairfax Avenues!  Free bike lights will be provided to bicyclists who need them along with information for riding safely at night.

In addition, information will be provided about an upcoming plan to improve road safety for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists by creating a “Neighborhood Greenway” along Willoughby Avenue and Vista-Gardner Streets, including bicycle lanes for Vista-Gardner!

So stop by, sample refreshments, pick up bicycle swag, and become informed about the Willoughby and Vista-Gardner Greenway plan and ways to provide input to the process!

  • When: Wednesday, Feb. 27th, 2019, 4:30-7:00 PM
  • Where: Willoughby Ave. at Fairfax Ave.

Bicycle Law Panel Discussion

Join the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition and expert panelists for a free panel discussion about bicycle law.

When:
Thursday, October 18
6:00 p.m.: Doors open, pizza & soda on hand
6:30-8:00 p.m.: Panel discussion

Where:
Plummer Park Community Center, Room 6
7377 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046

Who:
• Bicycle collision attorney Jim Pocrass of Pocrass & De Los Reyes, LLP (and LACBC board member)
• A representative of each the Sheriff’s Department Traffic Division and the California Highway Patrol
• Tara Worden of the City of West Hollywood
• Moderated by Kevin Burton,  West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition member

PLEASE RSVP to info@wehobike.org so we can be sure to have enough food, beverages, and chairs.

A significant portion of the panel will be dedicated to question-and-answer.  Send  your questions to info@wehobike.org.

Candidate Questionnaire

West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition Candidate Questionnaire
West Hollywood City Council Election — Tuesday, March 7, 2017

On Tuesday, March 7, West Hollywood voters will head to the polls to decide who will represent them on two of the City Council’s five seats.  The seats are at-large, meaning each council member represents the entire city.

The West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition crafted a six-question questionnaire and sent it to all ten candidates. Their completed questionnaires are linked to below, in alphabetical order.

As a chapter of a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, we cannot endorse candidates, but we hope you find this information helpful as you educate yourselves about candidates.

For a sample ballot & precinct map, please visit the City’s Election Information Web page.

Completed questionnaires:

We did not receive responses from the following candidates:

  • Cynthia Blatt
  • Michael Cautillo
  • Joel Quaresimo
  • Reed Stillwell

Councilman John Duran Responses

1.  Have you been involved in any efforts to promote cycling or improve safety for bicyclists? If so, please explain.

Yes.   I am a cyclist.  I have participated in 3 AIDS Life Cycle rides from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money to fight HIV/AIDS.  So, I have pedaled for thousands of miles – literally!  The most frightening aspect of being on a bicycle was close encounters with car doors or vehicles who couldn’t see me.   This is why I supported the creation of bike lanes along Santa Monica Blvd and other streets in West Hollywood.  On those sections of Santa Monica Blvd which are too narrow, I made sure that pedaling on the sidewalks became a permissible option for riders to avoid collisions with vehicles or parked cars.  I have also been a strong proponent and advocate for the creation of the bike share program here in West Hollywood.  I served on the city council sub committee to strategize on the ideal programs and linkages to neighboring cities to make sure the bike share program would work.

2.  Currently, West Hollywood has no east/west bike lanes going east of Kings Road. Would you support adding bike lanes on Fountain Ave. and/or Santa Monica Blvd. to create more efficient, safer east/west bike routes?

Unfortunately, there are sections of Santa Monica Blvd which are quite narrow between Kings Road and Fairfax.   There is only enough room for 2 lanes of traffic and parking and not enough room for a bike lane.  We cannot eliminate a lane of traffic or parking in those areas.  So, the road must be shared by vehicles and bikes or in the alternative, bikes are allowed to use the sidewalks without being cited.  The same conditions exist on much of Fountain.  It is a narrow road heavily utilized by commuters when Santa Monica Blvd and Sunset Blvd are jammed.  So, it is not possible to eliminate a lane of traffic (although we do eliminate parking during peak hours).   On these narrow sections of Fountain, the road must be shared by vehicles and bicycles.

3.  The city and county of Los Angeles and dozens of cities and countries have embraced Vision Zero, with the goal of ending traffic fatalities. If elected, what would you do to reduce serious and fatal traffic collisions between vehicles and pedestrians/cyclists in West Hollywood?

As a councilmember, I recently approved 5 new signalized crosswalks on Santa Monica Blvd between La Cienega and Robertson.   These new signalized crosswalks will reduce the number of vehicle collisions between automobiles and pedestrians/cyclists.  We have also introduced numerous traffic calming devices on residential streets to stop speeding in residential areas to reduce these accidents.  These include bulb outs, turn abouts, new islands in lanes and other deterrents to force vehicles to slow down.

4.   Last summer WeHoPedals launched, bringing bike-share to our city! While the firm CycleHop operates bike share systems for West Hollywood, Beverly Hill, Santa Monica, and Long Beach, the systems are not interconnected – memberships are separate and in many cases the bikes cannot be dropped off in other cities without incurring additional fees. How would you move towards regional connectivity so that riders can use bike-share in our entire region with a single membership?

We do need greater cooperation between the 88 cities in LA County to created a unified system.  However, we could not agree to go with the same system as the City of Los Angeles because their system was inferior and not capable of serving our community needs.  Bike share is a new phenomenon for all of Southern California.  It will take a period of experimentation for the various cities to try systems, evaluate, adapt and eventually merge.    The benefit of competing systems during this period of time means that we can evaluate different options and see what works best before we have a county wide system.

5.  Would you support increasing the visibility of the existing bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd. by treating them with green paint?

Yes.

6.  What else would you like to see West Hollywood do to promote bicycling and improve safety for people who ride bikes?

We must continue doing cyclist safety education as well.   Bike helmets must be worn.   Rules of the road must be followed.  During traffic jams, cyclists should also slow down and carefully monitor traffic patterns.   Accidents are sometimes caused by reckless cyclists.  So a continuing campaign for cyclist safety must also educate the public for the protection of riders, pedestrians and drivers.

Nate Clark Responses

1.  Have you been involved in any efforts to promote cycling or improve safety for bicyclists? If so, please explain.

I am a cyclist and a 2015 rider in the AIDSLifeCycle. At the recent WHCC/LWV Candidate Forum, I spoke of West Hollywood’s need for greater bicycle lane visibility. Bicycle and pedestrian safety are key issues in my campaign.

2.  Currently, West Hollywood has no east/west bike lanes going east of Kings Road. Would you support adding bike lanes on Fountain Ave. and/or Santa Monica Blvd. to create more efficient, safer east/west bike routes?

I support adding bike lanes to all major corridors, and on SMB in particular.

3.  The city and county of Los Angeles and dozens of cities and countries have embraced Vision Zero, with the goal of ending traffic fatalities. If elected, what would you do to reduce serious and fatal traffic collisions between vehicles and pedestrians/cyclists in West Hollywood?

I support signals at all crosswalks, scramble crosswalks at major intersections, brightly colored bike lanes, and repairing roads that are unsafe for cyclists.

4.   Last summer WeHoPedals launched, bringing bike-share to our city! While the firm CycleHop operates bike share systems for West Hollywood, Beverly Hill, Santa Monica, and Long Beach, the systems are not interconnected – memberships are separate and in many cases the bikes cannot be dropped off in other cities without incurring additional fees. How would you move towards regional connectivity so that riders can use bike-share in our entire region with a single membership?

I am unaware of any City impediments to CycleHop providing interconnected memberships. If elected, I would (of course) support any efforts to connect WehoPedals to BH Bike Share, SM Breeze, etc.

5.  Would you support increasing the visibility of the existing bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd. by treating them with green paint?

Yes, as stated above.

6.  What else would you like to see West Hollywood do to promote bicycling and improve safety for people who ride bikes?

I believe WeHo needs to incentivize businesses to encourage employees to find alternate means of transportation to work, and biking should be a part of that conversation. For instance, we should explore the possibility of credits or subsidies for businesses whose employees bike, carpool, or utilize public transportation to get to work.

I also support the City’s recent effort to distribute bicycle tail lights, and I hope to see similar programs – promoted better – in the future.

Amanda Goodwin Responses

1.  Have you been involved in any efforts to promote cycling or improve safety for bicyclists? If so, please explain.

I had said at the candidate forum and in the recent Wehoville Election guide that the bike lanes should be wider and painted, to make it more safe for cyclists.

2.  Currently, West Hollywood has no east/west bike lanes going east of Kings Road. Would you support adding bike lanes on Fountain Ave. and/or Santa Monica Blvd. to create more efficient, safer east/west bike routes?

Absolutely.  I’d loved to see bike lanes designated all over this city and L.A. County, that are designed to keep the cyclists safe from distracted drivers and encourage cycling as an alternative transit. Good for the pollution reduction, the environment, body and mind.

3.  The city and county of Los Angeles and dozens of cities and countries have embraced Vision Zero, with the goal of ending traffic fatalities. If elected, what would you do to reduce serious and fatal traffic collisions between vehicles and pedestrians/cyclists in West Hollywood?

Again, designated curbed bike lane/path, like in Copenhagen, that are only for cyclists, separating them from cars.

4.   Last summer WeHoPedals launched, bringing bike-share to our city! While the firm CycleHop operates bike share systems for West Hollywood, Beverly Hill, Santa Monica, and Long Beach, the systems are not interconnected – memberships are separate and in many cases the bikes cannot be dropped off in other cities without incurring additional fees. How would you move towards regional connectivity so that riders can use bike-share in our entire region with a single membership?

It has to be a collaborative effort, working in concert with adjacent cities, that continue to connect to other adjacent cities, putting the program under one easy monthly payment plan.

5.  Would you support increasing the visibility of the existing bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd. by treating them with green paint?

ABSOLUTELY.

6.  What else would you like to see West Hollywood do to promote bicycling and improve safety for people who ride bikes?

Give incentives or gift certificates from local businesses to residents who use their cars significantly less and WeHo Bike more, showing a great reduction in monthly car mileage.  Short commute are one of the reasons for traffic congestion.

Councilman John Heilman Responses

1.  Have you been involved in any efforts to promote cycling or improve safety for bicyclists? If so, please explain.

I supported the effort to include bike lanes on Santa Monica when we reconstructed Santa Monica Blvd. I supported the effort to install “sharrows” in parts of the City and to install bike lanes on Fairfax and San Vicente. I also led the effort to bring a bike share program to West Hollywood.

2.  Currently, West Hollywood has no east/west bike lanes going east of Kings Road. Would you support adding bike lanes on Fountain Ave. and/or Santa Monica Blvd. to create more efficient, safer east/west bike routes?

Installing bike lanes on Fountain or Santa Monica east of Kings Road would likely require us to lose parking or a lane of traffic. I don’t think it can be done in a way that ensures safety for cyclists. I’d rather look at ways we could make streets like Romaine or Willoughby more bike oriented.

3.  The city and county of Los Angeles and dozens of cities and countries have embraced Vision Zero, with the goal of ending traffic fatalities. If elected, what would you do to reduce serious and fatal traffic collisions between vehicles and pedestrians/cyclists in West Hollywood? 

I support efforts to end fatalities. We have been working on a multi-year project to improve crosswalk safety by signalizing high volume crosswalks. We also need to do more to reduce alcohol-related accidents. Some of the accidents we have in the evening involve impaired drivers. The benefit of a program like Vision Zero is that it is data driven and it starts with the assumption that we can do more to prevent accidents and reduce the likelihood that accidents will result in fatalities.

4.   Last summer WeHoPedals launched, bringing bike-share to our city! While the firm CycleHop operates bike share systems for West Hollywood, Beverly Hill, Santa Monica, and Long Beach, the systems are not interconnected – memberships are separate and in many cases the bikes cannot be dropped off in other cities without incurring additional fees. How would you move towards regional connectivity so that riders can use bike-share in our entire region with a single membership?

The goal from the beginning has been to make the programs interconnected. Our staff has been meeting with CycleHop and representatives of the other cities to allow members to pick up and drop off in all of the cities without additional charges. My goal is that a person could pick up a bike in West Hollywood and ride it to Beverly Hills or Santa Monica or pick up in Santa Monica and ride back to West Hollywood.

5.  Would you support increasing the visibility of the existing bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd. by treating them with green paint?

I support increasing the visibility of the bike lanes. This could be accomplished by painting them or treating them in some other fashion.

6.  What else would you like to see West Hollywood do to promote bicycling and improve safety for people who ride bikes?

We are currently working to add bike racks on our shuttles, especially our shuttles to the metro stops. We also need to do more to educate motorists about the importance of paying attention to cyclists and adhering to state laws regarding safe driving near cyclists.

Steve Martin Responses

1.  Have you been involved in any efforts to promote cycling or improve safety for bicyclists? If so, please explain.

While we promote West Hollywood as a “bike friendly” City and think we all want to insure that we close the gap between our good intentions and the challenges cyclists face within our City.  When I was on City Council I worked with the LA Bike Coalition on our Santa Monica Blvd. Re-Design to create admittedly limited bike lanes.  I also worked with the Coalition on bike safety issues and on “Bike to Work Day” promotion.

2.  Currently, West Hollywood has no east/west bike lanes going east of Kings Road. Would you support adding bike lanes on Fountain Ave. and/or Santa Monica Blvd. to create more efficient, safer east/west bike routes?

I ride my bike recreationally on weekends down Santa Monica Blvd. so I am very familiar with the lack of bike lanes and the issues arising out of that lack.  Ultimately Santa Monica Blvd. will need to have bike lanes and we should have taken advantage of the new construction of the Eastside to lay the foundation; unfortunately that was a lost opportunity.  When we take over the block at Santa Monica and Crescent Heights, we can at least create a bike lane on the south side of the street for that block.  Perhaps we should look at “rush hour” bike lanes by banning parking during peak driving times along Santa Monica and Fountain; I am open to creative suggestions.  While West Hollywood faces a parking deficit, on Santa Monica east of King’s Road, any place we can remove a parking space creates an opportunity for bike safety as the boulevard is so narrow.

3.  The city and county of Los Angeles and dozens of cities and countries have embraced Vision Zero, with the goal of ending traffic fatalities. If elected, what would you do to reduce serious and fatal traffic collisions between vehicles and pedestrians/cyclists in West Hollywood?

I was hit while stopped for a red light at Melrose and Robertson so I have personal experience with bike/auto conflicts.  We need ongoing education about sharing the road and we should think about creative ways to enhance safety for cyclists, including signage regarding right turns, which seem to have a high number of incidents.  I would look into figuring is there are ways to provide helmets for a bike share program.  I support ideas like providing free helmets to school children to promote awareness.

4.   Last summer WeHoPedals launched, bringing bike-share to our city! While the firm CycleHop operates bike share systems for West Hollywood, Beverly Hill, Santa Monica, and Long Beach, the systems are not interconnected – memberships are separate and in many cases the bikes cannot be dropped off in other cities without incurring additional fees. How would you move towards regional connectivity so that riders can use bike-share in our entire region with a single membership?

The Bike Share program is balkanized and we need to work with other jurisdictions to merge the programs.  A regional approach should have been taken from the beginning but we should at least be moving toward rectifying the situation.

5.  Would you support increasing the visibility of the existing bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd. by treating them with green paint?

Bike lanes should be high lighted: green or orange paint, whatever gets attention and is in use in our neighboring cities.

6.  What else would you like to see West Hollywood do to promote bicycling and improve safety for people who ride bikes?

Ideally bike showers at Plummer Park and continue to push for locker rooms and showers for employees that bike; including City Hall employees.

Carla Romo Responses

1.  Have you been involved in any efforts to promote cycling or improve safety for bicyclists? If so, please explain.

N/A

2.  Currently, West Hollywood has no east/west bike lanes going east of Kings Road. Would you support adding bike lanes on Fountain Ave. and/or Santa Monica Blvd. to create more efficient, safer east/west bike routes?

I absolutely support more bike lanes to create safer east/west bike routes. I believe that would be a great start to creating bike mobility for our City.

3.  The city and county of Los Angeles and dozens of cities and countries have embraced Vision Zero, with the goal of ending traffic fatalities. If elected, what would you do to reduce serious and fatal traffic collisions between vehicles and pedestrians/cyclists in West Hollywood? 

Bike safety is a very important issue.  Revisiting the Pedestrian Bike Mobility Plan would be a great kickstart to expand safer bicycle routes. The infrastructure could be improved to increase both ride-ability and visibility for cyclists. West Hollywood needs more distinct bike paths just the same way the crosswalks on Santa Monica are distinct. Proper signs and bolder bike lane outlines are essential in moving forward.

4.   Last summer WeHoPedals launched, bringing bike-share to our city! While the firm CycleHop operates bike share systems for West Hollywood, Beverly Hill, Santa Monica, and Long Beach, the systems are not interconnected – memberships are separate and in many cases the bikes cannot be dropped off in other cities without incurring additional fees. How would you move towards regional connectivity so that riders can use bike-share in our entire region with a single membership? 

It is important to work with other city officials in promoting safety and accessibility for West Hollywood. If elected, I would work with the different organizations towards making a bike share program a regional connectivity. I do not believe that our cities borders should be closed when it comes to bike mobility and public safety.

5.  Would you support increasing the visibility of the existing bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd. by treating them with green paint?

I am for increasing the visibility of bike lanes on Santa Monica Blvd with green paint. White lanes make them blend in with our road paint and it causes a serious issue with drivers distinguishing bike lanes from the road lanes.

6.  What else would you like to see West Hollywood do to promote bicycling and improve safety for people who ride bikes?

I would like to see West Hollywood campaign harder for awareness of cyclists on the roads. This would engage the public and encourage drivers to look out for those on bikes.

Update to Bicycle & Pedestrian Mobility Plan

The City of West Hollywood is currently updating its Bicycle and Pedestrian Mobility Plan, which is expected to include new bike lanes and other important improvements.
The updated plan will be presented at several meetings in the next few months.
The more people that attend these meetings and speak up to support safer, better streets for pedestrians and bicyclists, the better our streets will become.
We need your help.  Please join us to show your support for bike lanes and other improvements!  Then spread the word.  Together, we can make a difference!

The draft plan can be downloaded here.  Please see WeHoBC statement here.

To receive email updates, sign up here:  http://wehobike.org/about-us/join/

 

Community Meetings

  • Community Workshop
    Tuesday, Feb. 28th, 6:30 – 8:00 PM
    Fiesta Hall, Plummer Park, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd.
  • Transportation Commission
    Wednesday, Mar. 15th, 7:00 PM
    First Floor Community Conference Room, City Hall, 8300 Santa Monica Blvd.
  • Planning Commission
    Thursday, April 6th, 6:30 PM
    Council Chambers, West Hollywood Park, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.
  • Public Facilities Commission
    Wednesday Apr. 12th, 6:30 PM
    First Floor Community Conference Room, City Hall, 8300 Santa Monica Blvd.
  • Public Safety Commission
    Wednesday, Apr. 26th, 6:30 PM
    First Floor Community Conference Room, City Hall, 8300 Santa Monica Blvd.
  • City Council
    Monday, May 1st, 6:30 PM
    Council Chambers, West Hollywood Park, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.

  Check the City’s calendar listing for each meeting to confirm agenda and location

Bicycle projects in the draft Plan

  • Almont Drive neighborhood greenway
  • Willoughby Avenue Greenway
  • Fountain Avenue Road Diet
  • Bicycle lanes on Vista St./Gardner Ave., Holloway Dr., Cynthia St. (west of San Vicente Blvd.), San Vicente and Crescent Heights Blvds. northbound from Santa Monica Blvd.,  and Beverly Blvd.
  • Sharrows on Doheny Dr., Robertson Blvd. and Melrose Ave.
  • Additional neighborhood greenways on Palm Ave./Cynthia St., Huntley/Sherwood/Westbourne Drs., Rosewood Ave., Norton Ave., and Formosa Ave.

 

If you would like to do more to promote bicycle advocacy in this Plan, or in West Hollywood in general, please join us at our meetings on the first Wednesday of each month from 6-8 PM in the Plummer Park Community Center, Art Room 2, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood.

WeHo Bike/Ped Update is Moving Forward

bike ped meetingAs you’ve probably heard, the City of West Hollywood will be working on an update to its bike & pedestrian plan for most of this year. And on Saturday, they kicked off the public meeting component with a delightful workshop, where we gathered into groups around maps of the city and drew a wish list of bike/ped improvements.

Mayor Abbe Land was in attendance, and welcomed everyone to the workshop. “I’ve been a strong proponent of increasing biking here,” she said, pointing to the emphasis in active transportation in planning documents like the Climate Action Plan, Bike Task Force Report, and General Plan. And, she said, “it’s not like we just talk about it — we actually DO things. And we can do a lot more.” (Check out a gallery of photos from the event here.)

Consultants for the city have been collecting data since April: conducting bike counts, analyzing collision data, and identifying problem-areas. Now, they’re ready to hear from the public.

And they got an earful: by the end of the meeting, participants had heavily marked up the maps with requests for everything from traffic calming to bike racks to street furniture.

Some primary concerns that emerged:
– Safety
– Connections to nearby communities
– Education

So, what’s next? The city will hold more events, including group walks and rides, in the coming weeks. In the mean time, you can take a survey about your experiences biking in WeHo, and another about walking in WeHo.

 

 

Action Alert – send emails supporting Lankershim bike lanes!

The LACBC’s Alek Bartrosouf alerts us that we’ve reached a critical point in the campaign to install a bike lane on Lankershim Blvd. Even though this isn’t part of WeHo, we all benefit when new lanes appear in surrounding towns!

Please take a minute to email elected officials and let them know how important it is to have a complete, safe street that everyone can use.

Folks to email:

Alek adds, “While I don’t recommend using form letters, here is one if you cannot draft your own.”

 

Dear Councilman Krekorian and Councilman LaBonge,

 

As a resident of (insert neighborhood here), I am writing in support of the proposed bike lanes on Lankershim.  The addition of bike lanes will only help increase safety and mobility options for people to visit prime destinations in the area and commute to work.  If we can make bike riding a safe, welcoming option, then we can relieve congestion, clean the air, and improve all of our health.

 

While I understand that these proposed bike lanes remove one travel lane, the benefits of bicycle lanes outweigh this cost.  Bike lanes will reduce motorists speeding through our community during rush hour.  Bike lanes will also help people feel comfortable riding on the street instead of the sidewalk, which is safer for them and safer for pedestrians.  Bike lanes are good for my community, and give me and my neighbors an option to bypass traffic rather than sitting in it.

 

In the end, Lankershim bike lanes will make our community feel safer and have more travel options to help people get around on foot or on two wheels.  With adequate infrastructure on our streets, I’d be more willing to ride to work, recreate, and run errands.  Thank you for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

Name

Address

If you would like more talking points on benefits of bike lanes and want to modify this letter, please feel free to look at the summary we have generated here.  We also have reasons why the proposed Vineland bike lanes in place of Lankershim are not a good idea.  Feel free to touch on these points (or others) in your letter.