District elections will be held on November 3, 2015. Three Santa Barbara districts--District 1 the Eastside, District 2, the Mesa, and District 3, the Westside--will be voting in City Council members. Here's what District 1 candidates said about what they envision for our community.
We asked all 2015 Santa Barbara City Council candidates ...
SBBIKE: Do you support Santa Barbara adopting Vision Zero best practices that have been successful in other cities pursuing the goal of zero fatalities to bicyclists and pedestrians? Yes or No. Explain:
Cruzito Herrera Cruz:Yes. [I] would support a policy of “Vision Zero”. In supporting a Vision Zero policy is critical goal to saving lives via drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Our city roads must be designed to minimize the ability to make a mistake because our City's street infrastructure has limited road designs and making the roadways and walkways safer is a positive position to implement.
Jason Dominguez: Yes. I’m for improved infrastructure, education, and enforcement to save lives, improve mental and physical health, and the environment. Physical barricades, traffic calming, and other engineering measures are needed. People would ride more if streets were safer and felt safer. My goal is to have 25 percent of Santa Barbara commuting, running errands, or participating in recreational cycling. SB is nearly the worst city in CA for injuries to pedestrians and cyclists from cars.
My demographic (men 45+) are the most common victim of serious injuries and fatalities; I am happy to share my insight to help reduce injuries to this group and improve SB’s ranking. I was injured in SB while bike commuting; trucks and moving vans were involved. I suffered serious injuries and was lucky to avoid permanent disability, and that experience has made me committed to safe streets.
Andrea Martinez Cohen: Yes. First developed in Sweden in 1994, Vision Zero is guided by the principle that convenience to the users of a city or nation’s roadways should never take precedence over human life. I wholeheartedly agree, and I support a Vision Zero policy that will bring our traffic fatality rate down to zero by 2025.
San Francisco is one of the first US Cities to adopt Vision Zero, and we can learn much from their approach. They are currently working on the implementation with five focus areas: engineering, education, enforcement, evaluation, and policy to create a transportation system that is safe for all road users, for all modes of transportation, in all neighborhoods, and for people of all ages and abilities.
Santa Barbara should be a leader in this movement, and bring together not only City departments, but MTD, the police department, schools, and the public to make all neighborhoods in the City safer and healthier.
SBBIKE: Do you support creating more bike corrals that add 10–20 bicycle parking spaces on the street by removing one car parking space, in cooperation with nearby merchants and neighbors seeking to increase business and customer convenience? Yes or No. Explain:
Cruz: Yes. I would be supportive of erecting more bike corrals. With the following stakeholders, community members, and business merchants in designating areas consent and approval.
Dominguez: Yes. I bike to work and shopping when possible, and more bike parking is needed for the latter. Racks will help to achieve 25 percent biking rate in SB and protect pedestrians and bikes from harm.
Martinez Cohen: Yes. As an avid bike rider myself, I am a strong supporter of bike corrals because oftentimes it is hard to find a place to safely lock your bike when there are no options or all the spots are already taken. The examples in front of Handlebar Roasters near Downtown and Figueroa Mountain Brewery in the Funk Zone are working well for the community and Fig Mtn did not have to eliminate any parking.
SBBIKE: Do you support a bike share system coming to Santa Barbara? Yes or No. Explain:
Cruz: [I] need to learn more about the bike share system. A study of other cities in the State has been undertaken to educate myself. In concept, yes it is a mode of transportation that I would support and it is very appropriate for our City.
Dominguez: Yes. My experience in several cities is they provide healthy, cheap, ecological, and fast means to transport oneself. We have perfect weather for biking. Many tourists, students, and residents would ride, which decreases traffic and increases economic vitality. Holland has wealth, horrible weather and still enjoys a very high ridership. I would encourage car sharing services as well, to further cut car dependency.
Martinez Cohen: Yes. Other cities like San Francisco, San Jose, and Barcelona have successfully implemented bike share systems that raise additional long-term revenues and also provide tourist-friendly services.
We asked District 1, Eastside candidates ...
SBBIKE: The draft Bicycle Master Plan proposes a bicycle boulevard on Alisos Street and a bicycle Lane on Cota Street. Both of these projects would fix gaps in our current bikeway network and improve overall mobility in the city. Do you support these projects? Yes or No. Explain:
Cruz: Yes to both of these projects. The bicycle boulevard has complications with the surrounding community members and parking. Complications and problems which can be addressed are parking, traffic, and residential circulation. The bicycle lane will limit parking and/or traffic direction. A proactive position can be taken on both projects in District 1 because [of] the lack there of safe-designed-bikes-lanes/boulevard.
Dominguez: Yes. I attended the Alisos demonstration. I converted a long-time local activist, living on Alisos, a non-biker, into a proponent with a simple explanation of the boulevard plan. She was against it based on misconceptions that were quickly dispelled with data and facts. I have been speaking with several audiences. Many people are enthusiastic, though some are worried about past designs and actions, bulb-outs, and fears that plan will lengthen commutes.
Martinez Cohen: Yes. I agree that these two projects fix gaps in the current network and can attest to the fact that these streets are already being used as the preferred crosstown routes linking the Eastside to Downtown and the Westside. Residents I have spoken with on Alisos St. are supportive of the project, and the demonstration in May was a successful outreach event. By keeping most bike traffic on Cota while vehicle traffic benefits from more efficient thoroughfares on Haley & Gutierrez Streets, the overall mobility of commuters is improved and safer.
SBBIKE: How will you work to implement the Bicycle Master Plan projects in District 1 once the plan is passed? What other ideas do you have for improving bicycling in Santa Barbara citywide?
Cruz: Once the Bicycle Master Plan is implemented to improve the cycling infrastructure development in our City, it is critical to have the governmental financial support to finance the continued maintenance and repair of bike lanes. These efforts will provide greater safety for bicyclists, pedestrians, and general public. Future support is to eventually implement a designated bike network throughout the City. Just like a traffic circulation map, but here it would be a bike circulation map for the entire City of Santa Barbara. Santa Barbarians deserve better, fully integrated bike paths.
Dominguez: I will conduct outreach at business, non-profit, and government functions.
I will encourage residents to get involved, show their support, make suggestions, and bike through the areas and give my input.
There are approximately 4,000 students in my district. I will encourage them and their parents to become involved. No one wants their child riding in door zones.
I am part of two large leadership circles in SB. I will use them to do outreach.
I am an alumni and board member for Leadership Santa Barbara County and a participant in Courage to Lead, part of Lead From Within.
I would encourage employers to encourage staff to bike to work, as it would reduce parking costs, absenteeism, and air pollution, in a part of the city with the highest environmental hazards and the most vulnerable population. They can provide showers, secure bike parking, casual attire, cash/tax incentives, workshops, etc.
Martinez Cohen: I will work together with the Planning Commission and city staff to implement the projects outlined in the Bike Master Plan in District 1 in a transparent and productive manner. I will see that existing community groups are included in the outreach, planning, and implementation. I will also see that the aspects of the plan that can [be] implemented quickly, like painting existing bike lanes for better visibility, get top priority and happen in a timely manner. Another idea I have for improving bicycling citywide is providing more bilingual education and outreach to Spanish speakers on traffic safety and bicycle laws.