There are several issues that concern me in our community. First of all, during recent polling of PUSD students they have agreed that the cost of traveling around the city, while low for one trip, can add up to a considerable investment when added up over an entire month. So the development of some sort of student ARTS Bus pass would be a great step in making riding the bus even more affordable, even free or at low cost. Another serious concern is that Pasadena is not pedestrian or bicycle safe. So often I see folks trying to cross a street on foot and being quite frightened to do so, even with the light and a crosswalk, because drivers either don’t see them or are not paying attention. Crosswalk sign delays like those at Fair Oaks and Green help to slow drivers down and make them wait for pedestrians. Spreading those to other parts of the city would be very helpful. There are many other terrific ideas that other cities have used, so it would be helpful I think to meet with the CSC and discuss them in person rather than trying to delineate all of them here.
2. Compared to other Pasadena city districts, District 1 denizens walk, bike and use public transit in significantly higher numbers. Yet the district has few of the amenities to improve the safety and experience of such vulnerable road users compared to other parts of the City (e.g., zebra striped crosswalks, lead pedestrian indicators, bicycle lanes). What specific improvements would you implement?
There certainly must be statistics which bear this statement out, but in my experience is it actually District 5 which has the most walk and bike use and the section of District 3 that is adjacent to D5, particularly around Orange Grove Blvd. and where it is bisected by Marengo Ave. and Los Robles Ave. Unless you are counting the walking and biking around the Rose Bowl, District 1 residents generally use their cars coming down the hill, although there has been a slight increase in walkers and bike riders up near Woodbury Road in recent years. And then of course Old Pasadena and Lake Ave. are places where pedestrians are found in significant numbers. This not withstanding, I would be in favor of any structural additions that will help make our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists. My only concern is that new devices are installed and then pedestrians and bike riders feel a false sense of security, which could lead them to not pay as much attention as they normally would.
3. What street in your district do you feel is in greatest need of a “Complete Street” overhaul and what would you specifically change? (Complete Streets, also known as "livable" streets, are streets designed for everyone. They provide safe access for all users, regardless of age or mode of transportation. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and public transportation users of all ages and abilities should be able to safely move along and across a complete street. Local examples include LA's Great Streets initiative and Bringing Back Broadway.)
There is an outstanding example of a ‘complete street’ nearby, or at least as close as we have here, on Rosemead Blvd. in the city of Temple City. It is a terrific example of how roads can be shared safely by all users. I would very much like to know what the outcomes have been there with respect to pedestrian and cyclist safety, but also opinions on the benefits of this innovative structure. Does CSC have access to such data? With regards to what streets in District 1 could use this type of overhaul, there are three possibilities that come to mind, all with various forms of impediments, but all with potential: Lincoln Ave., Fair Oaks Ave., and Los Robles Ave. My preference to start would be Los Robles Ave. above Washington Blvd. as recently I was passed both on the right and on the left by other motorists even while driving at a very reasonable rate of speed. It would be helpful on many levels, but hopefully Complete Streets help to slow traffic as well. One caution I have about them is cost, but I am confident that CSC has done research not only on costs but also on funding streams.
4. According to the CA Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), Pasadena has 2nd worst rate of automobile-pedestrian collisions, and the 5th worst rate of automobile-bicycle collisions, of similarly sized cities in the state of California. To address such safety issues, a growing number of cities across the country and world are adopting “Vision Zero” goals to focus transportation improvements on reducing serious roadway injuries and deaths. Would you support Pasadena doing so and what actions would you the City Council and staff take to reduce and prevent collisions involving pedestrians, bicyclists and other vulnerable road users?
“Vision Zero” as being utilized in New York City is an exceptional program to reduce injuries and deaths that are traffic-related. What is truly revolutionary about VZ is that it states that any injury or death is not acceptable, that these types of incidents are preventable, and that it will take participation from all sectors, but particularly drivers, to be successful. Working in neighborhoods in Pasadena that desired speed humps it was nearly always true that the folks who were speeding through the neighborhood were ones who lived there. So the pillar of VZ in NYC of public dialogue and education is the crucial one. In Pasadena we haven’t yet talked broadly in public forums about the need for all of us to slow down as we try to meet the needs of our families. What are CSC’s plans to attempt to implement VZ goals in Pasadena? It is an outstanding time to start working on this process, so it would be great to work together with CSC to implement it here in our community.
5. Forty years ago over 60% of school children in the United States walked or rode a bicycle to school. Today, that figure is less than 10%. This decline in bicycling and walking has been mirrored by dramatic increases in childhood obesity. What can the City Council can do to support the environment and public health by making it easier for local children to once again walk and bike to school?
As a student in the PUSD I generally rode my bicycle to school each day. I rode to Hale (now Norma Coombs), McKinley (through Cal Tech), and then to Blair HS and while I normally took minor or side streets, I don’t ever recall feeling scared or ever having a ‘close call’ with motor vehicles. My estimation of the situation is that parents do not feel that it is safe for their children to ride to school on the city’s streets, first because of traffic, but also because of violence or assaults. The only way for kids to return to the streets in large numbers is to make their pathways to school safe and inviting. Many of the strategies listed above in VZ and CS will help develop trust on the part of children and their parents, but there is more we can do. Bicycle safety course like ‘Safe Moves’ could be offered around the community at school campuses so that young people feel more confident on their bikes. Helmets could be provided, especially for students of the PUSD, as well as other safety features like lights and reflector tape. For the true visionary we should discuss bicycle only pathways. While in Minneapolis last year I rode many of its nearly 25 miles of dedicated bike lanes as well as the bike path that runs down the middle of town that does not share space with automobiles and is not bisected by any street with traffic but, rather, is its own bike highway that is below the rest of the city’s streets. Obviously extremely tricky to build in Pasadena, but we should investigate it anyway.
6. For each of the following transportation modes, when was the last time you used it, where did you go, and what was your experience:
b. Public transit
c. Walking (more than two blocks)
a) Bicycling – Tragically as an adult I have never owned a bicycle and have always borrowed or rented bikes (we didn’t even talk about bike share programs in other cities, but they are terrific as well, along with bike repair stations), so my most recent experience was renting a mountain bike last summer in Colorado to see the gorgeous scenery nearby. It was fantastic!
b) Public transit – Whenever I travel I use public transportation systems, so I was in Italy in November and used both the train and subway system there extensively. I find that other cities have much more viable systems than we do here in L.A., so even though I do use the Gold Line on occasion, I don’t as much as I would if I lived in Milan where it is easy, relatively cheap, and widely used.
c) Walking (more than two blocks) – I hike regularly so in the past month I have hiked to Echo Mountain, up Eaton Canyon and to Hermit Falls in Santa Anita Canyon. In the city again I find that I walk when I travel constantly, but not as much in Pasadena. What I have tried recently is to park my car in one place, like the Library, and then take care of several errands in the Civic Center at once and then walk back to my car rather than trying to drive to each location. I could do better at this, however.