A safe cycling network in South Los Angeles must be prioritized not just for recreational purposes but also for economic justice. Unfortunately, we do not have local elected officials in South Los Angeles that fight as hard for those bike lanes as other parts of the City do. I will fight my hardest to ensure that the Mobility Plan is implemented in an equitable and just way for the residents of South L.A.
Below is 2017 City Council District 9 endorsement Jorge Nuño’s full questionnaire response to Bike The Vote L.A.:
1. What role do you see for walking, transit, and biking in the daily lives of Angelenos, particularly those who lack access to cars and rely on these other modes as their primary way of getting around?
It is no secret that the City of Los Angeles leads the world in traffic congestion. It is essential that we build development that encourages pedestrian walkability, that we update our existing transportation infrastructure to make our transportation system more safe and reliable, and that we increase safe bike lanes across the city that is accessible to points of interest, jobs, schools, and community gathering spaces.
2. Disenfranchisement and insecurity in the public space push many youth of color to seek safety and community in gang membership. How will you address these issues so that the area’s youth can play a participatory role in building a community that is safer and stronger for all?
The lack of safe gathering spaces in South Los Angeles was a major factor in the opening of the Big House. I created the Big House so the neighborhood kids could have a safe space from the gang culture that prevails in our neighborhoods, whether they use the space for homework or just to use the wifi. I want to take this model and replicate it throughout our public spaces, we can do this at our recreation centers and we can do this at our local libraries and schools. We can also partner with local business and create private-public partnerships that will maximize and leverage City funds to give our youth access to sorely needed resources.
3. A longstanding lack of trust between law enforcement and the community has made passage through public space and on city streets rather fraught for many, especially teens and young men of color. What will you do to repair this relationship between law enforcement and the community they serve such that law enforcement can become a broadly trusted partner for CD9 residents?
We need to engage and invest in our youth, expand community policing and empower neighborhood organizations. Body cameras for example, have provided a new level of accountability and transparency between the public and the police. I believe that community policing is a strong tool in mending relationships. The Community Safety Partnership division of the LAPD is a fantastic model of community policing and as Councilmember I will advocate for the expansion of this program throughout CD 9 and South Los Angeles. A CD9 resident on the Police Commission is key in ensuring our concerns are heard.
4. Many residents in South Los Angeles lack access to cars. Of these, a large percentage, especially immigrants, depend on bikes as a way to get to work and school, but lack safe options to commute thanks to a host of factors, including prevalent speeding on city streets. Mobility Plan 2035 established “safety first” as the City’s top priority in transportation decisions. Do you support prioritizing the safety of Los Angeles’ most vulnerable commuters in implementing Mobility Plan 2035, both in CD9 and throughout Los Angeles?
So far the bicycle infrastructure expansion across the City seems to be aimed towards recreational uses, the multi-million dollar L.A. River bike path for example. I applaud the local elected officials that have championed that bike path and I am in support of safe, cycling infrastructure throughout the City but we cannot ignore the communities that use cycling as a main source of transportation to jobs. You are correct in stating that a large percentage of South Los Angeles residents depend on bikes to get to work but the build-out of the infrastructure network currently does not reflect that. A safe cycling network in South Los Angeles must be prioritized not just for recreational purposes but also for economic justice. Unfortunately, we do not have local elected officials in South Los Angeles that fight as hard for those bike lanes as other parts of the City do. I will fight my hardest to ensure that the Mobility Plan is implemented in an equitable and just way for the residents of South L.A.
5. Central Avenue has been the site of an increasing number of tragic fatal crashes over the past month, including Jorge Alvarez on December 19th and another unidentified man on December 7th. Despite high rates of injuries and deaths among people who commute by bike, Central was removed from Mobility Plan 2035’s network of streets designated for bicycle safety improvements, with the suggestion that people commuting by bike be steered towards Avalon Boulevard instead. Given that Central Avenue boasts the highest number of bicycle commuters of any street in Los Angeles, what will you do as Councilmember to ensure that people who currently commute on Central are able to do so safely?
I will introduce a plan to make sure that Central Avenue is placed back into the Mobility plan 2035 and that it is designated as an avenue that requires bicycle safety improvements. But, there is no reason why Avalon and Central cannot both be designated corridors for cycling commuters. These two avenues run through the most densely populated zip code in the country. In fact the only way we are going to ensure our cyclists and pedestrians are safe is to create a network of safe, multi-modal streets through South L.A. Multi-million dollar projects such as the ones proposed for Central Avenue, MyFig and the Slauson Active Transportation Corridor are big wins for the community but we must continue to make sure every street in our network is safe.
6. Los Angeles is beginning to employ bike share as a new transportation option, but many barriers to access remain, particularly the cost of riding and the fact that a credit card is needed to use the system. Some cities have offered subsidies to low-income riders and cash payment options to address these issues. What can the City of Los Angeles do to help as many residents as possible enjoy the benefits that bike share will bring?
Just like the rollout of bicycle lanes, the implementation of bike share in Los Angeles has largely been focused in downtown for recreational purposes. The communities of color can not participate in bike share if there is no station south of Martin Luther King Blvd. Because many of our communities live paycheck to paycheck, we must have subsidies to low-income residents.