Last week, I offered each of the candidates in the March 3 city election for the L.A. City Council District 5 seat an opportunity to address the bicycling community. The first response in the series, from Robyn Ritter Simon, appears here. You can see the original invitation here, and all the statements received so far by scrolling down or clicking here.
Let’s Get Moving!
By City Council Candidate Robyn Ritter Simon
I have been doing some research on bike paths in Los Angeles and I have concluded that there are simply not enough of them! Studying the current Class I, II and III routes on the official Bikeway Path Map (www.ci.la.ca.us) I am struck by how many bike paths run through areas I would not have expected. More importantly, there are dozens of groups out there dedicated to supporting cyclists (some can be found through www.labikepaths.com) but I see very little support coming from the councilperson’s office in our district. On the campaign trail I have been very focused on discussing the need for a comprehensive transportation infrastructure, which in my view also includes supporting and encouraging cyclists specifically through increased awareness of current bike routes and by increasing the amount of bike access.
For those of us who live, work, or commute in L.A. (who are not cyclists) we know gridlock is at an all time high! We are stuck in our cars spending time away from family, loosing productivity, and even rest. This must end! I am running for City Council to be a problem solver. It is a big problem when we spend more hours commuting to and from locations in the City then with our family. Angelenos want transportation solutions. Voters supported Measure R in November, which puts into place the funding necessary to invest in our transit infrastructure. Now we need leadership down at City Hall to get the funds applied swiftly and safely and get our mass transit built now!
There are immediate things we can do to alleviate traffic gridlock. For example, I support synchronizing our signals to increase traffic flow, and installing more left hand turn signals. But these remedies will never really address our long-term transit needs. We need a comprehensive and detailed plan that includes mass transit and alternative modes of transportation like biking!
My view is that we must invest in light rail and subway and make these modes biker friendly. I only support Expo being built if it is built safely and I support grade separation at several stops including Overland Avenue.
I believe voters recognize that we must find alternative ways to commute if we are ever going to get out of our cars and get moving. We need to invest in light rail, subway, and as I said before, building more bike paths to encourage cycling and make it attractive as an alternative way of commuting.
When my teenage son, Brandon, started driving and gas prices skyrocketed – we told him that he had to drive less. We saw a significant decrease in normal traffic patterns city wide. When people’s pocket-books are impacted, they will change their commuting behaviors and look for most cost efficient alternatives. The price of gas has gone back down for now but we all need to step up and realize (for the greater good, for our health, for our kids, for our future!) we must find ways to solve – once and for all – the mess that is L.A. transit/traffic. This absolutely includes getting more people out of their cars and onto mass transit and bike paths.
I hope you will join me in my fight for getting Angelenos moving! Join my campaign at www.RobynRitterSimon.com. I look forward to hearing from you! You can reach me at my office at 310.836.8550 or at [email protected]. The election is March 3rd!
Next up: David Vahedi has said he’s drafting a statement for us; I’m still waiting to hear from Paul Koretz and Ron Galperin. If you know anyone in their campaigns, please urge them to participate — I’d hate to give the other candidates an unfair advantage. Also, the Times has an article in which the candidates discuss the current dispute over billboards on the Westside. There are other issues that matter, after all.