As I indicated yesterday, I’ve offered each of the eight candidates in the primary for California Senate District 26 an opportunity to address the cycling community through this blog. So far, only two candidates has accepted my offer. This statement is from Curren Price; you can see the first statement, from Nachum Shifren below.
Thank you for the opportunity to share with you my views related to cycling and, among other things, the role that it plays in improving air quality, health, traffic congestion and the overall environmental quality of life in the 26th Senate District.
As you likely know, the 26th Senate District is one of the most ethnically, economically and environmentally diverse districts in the state of California. Stretching from Culver City to Koreatown, Silverlake to Larchmont, Cheviot Hills to South Los Angeles, the 26th District is home to many of the environmental treasures in the County of Los Angeles including the Baldwin Hills Conservancy/Parklands and Griffith Park. While these parks provide a refuge for many Angelenos with their bike paths and walking trails they are also surrounded by some of the most congested freeways and roads in the LA County basin. As a result the 26th District faces tremendous environmental challenges related to air quality and the resulting health impacts from air pollution.
Air pollution doesn’t discriminate and the air quality of the 26th District is impacted by LAX, the ports and equally detrimental the District’s proximity to the 10, 405, 110 and 105 freeways. The harmful effects are felt throughout the district from Culver City to South LA. A lack of investment in mass transit, infrastructure and Class One BikeWays, coupled with the “love affair” that Angelenos have with their cars and a jobs housing imbalance which has residents commuting on average between 15-20 miles roundtrip each day has contributed to the district’s inability to realize higher air quality standards. These reasons, among others, is why transit, transportation and air quality are at the top of my environmental agenda, why I have earned the endorsement of the California League of Conservation Voters and why I will continue to support increased investment in mass transit as well as alternatives such as cycling, full enforcement of the Clean Air Act, incentives for cleaner technologies and penalties for gross polluters.
These issues are more than “niche” issues. Having represented largely urban areas throughout my tenure in public service both on the Inglewood City Council and in the state legislature, I view these as environmental justice issues which impact everything from healthcare to education and our workforce. Young people who can’t cycle or exercise outdoors are not only likely to have higher rates of asthma and obesity but to underperform in school. Cost-prohibitive gas prices, 40 mile trips to and from work and lack of mass transit options limit working and middle class employment options. And, to resolve these challenges we must identify ways to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by investing more resources in transit, creating live/work spaces to increase the jobs/housing balances, reducing fixed-route services and moving to door-to-door services by the MTA and encouraging employers (public and private) to incentivize their workforce towards carpooling, cycling, telecommuting and using mass transit.
However, this is only half of the battle. Whether one cycles for business, for pleasure or for the environment, cyclists and, more correctly, support for cyclists plays a crucial role in creating a more livable 26th Senate District. Improvements and expansion of Class One Bikeways via increased public/private partnership funding and incentives for those who build bike-friendly developments supported by ancillary City street improvements are among the priorities I would have in developing a cycling/environmental agenda. A continuous Class One Bikeway along the Exposition Light Rail Line which extends through the 26th District is another. And, cyclist-safety is the last component which we must prioritize to protect cyclists and underscore the viability of cycling en masse as a means to reducing air pollution and improving our environment.
I grew up riding my bike in the 26th District in South LA, Leimert Park and the Crenshaw District. I did it for pleasure. As state Senator, I would like to support a climate which allows cyclists to choose their own reason and create an environment which makes it possible. If you have ideas on how this can be achieved, please email me at [email protected] or visit my website at www.currenpricejr.com for more information.
Assemblymember 51st District