Healdsburg City Council Candidates 2022

As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition cannot endorse candidates for public office, but we are able to share information so that you can arrive at your own conclusion. Below are Healdsburg City Council candidates’ responses to our questionnaire on bicycling in Sonoma County. We have made no content changes. Thanks to the candidates for their time and thoughtful answers!

NOTE: Chris Herrod is the only Healdsburg candidate who is a member of SCBC.


RON EDWARDS

Do you ride a bicycle in Sonoma County for transportation or recreation? How would you characterize the experience of cycling in your city? I thoroughly enjoy riding my bike. While, I mainly rode for recreation, I found myself riding my bike more often during the Pandemic, even for meetings. I am an avid supporter of bicycles and would support opportunities and programs to make it safer for those who are avid bicyclist.

What are your city’s biggest transportation challenges, and how does bicycling fit into your vision of future development? With the return of traditional levels of travel along with the Park-lets has reduced the available parking in town. Healdsburg also has limited bus service from 8:40 am and ends at 4 pm. With more use of Bicycles and Ebikes, travel options in town could be increased without needing more parking spaces.

If elected, what will you do to encourage more people in your city to bicycle and to improve cycling safety?  I would like to see our citizens get reacquainted with bikes through the park and rec department. Some who have not ridden bikes in years could take a safety course. You might not forget how to ride a bike, but your skills may not be what they were when you last rode. I would also, work with the Sonoma County Transportation Authority to discuss ways we can create additional safe routes not only throughout our City but the County as well.

Healdsburg has a worldwide reputation among seasoned riders, but our automobile visitors might not be aware of that. Signs indicating bike traffic along with green-painted bike lanes would help raise awareness of our wonderful cycling town

Our dreams and goals generally exceed our budgets. How does improving bicycling infrastructure and safety rank against your other policy priorities? I believe improving bicycle infrastructure is an aspirational goal, but with several pressing issues facing the City, I think we need to continue working on the significant issues but still look at biking as an integral part of Healdsburg’s future, as well as making sure the voices of bicyclist are heard.


MATIAS LOPEZ

Do you ride a bicycle in Sonoma County for transportation or recreation? How would you characterize the experience of cycling in your city?  I don’t bike anymore. Because of this, I wanted to become more familiar with what it feels like to bike. So, I rented an electric bike and attempted to bike from Healdsburg to Larkspur via the SMART bike paths along the train tracks. I was really looking forward to it, but it wasn’t a great experience. I really enjoyed the parts that were fully paved, but I had cars graze me while I passed through busy roads. I made it to Rohnert Park before I quit. Now I understand why people don’t feel biking is safe.

I don’t ride bikes. Instead, I catch the bus. Many residents in Healdsburg don’t ride bikes because of the unfortunate stigma about biking being dangerous. Although Healdsburg boasts about having extensive bike lanes, but this just isn’t true. Many of these ‘bike lanes’ are a thin strip of paint that don’t provide a safe, physical barrier to protect cyclists. Healdsburg only has one real bike path: the recently completed SMART pathway.

What are your city’s biggest transportation challenges, and how does bicycling fit into your vision of future development? The biggest challenge for bikes is car culture. The city’s has guidelines on its website telling bikers how to not get hit by cars, rather than addressing the actual problem: Cars. During the pandemic, restaurants expanded outdoor seating options in place of car parking. This had a benefit of turning downtown into a more walkable area. However, there is a push to end the outdoor seating to reclaim parking. Instead of reducing the number of cars people want to increase space for parking. I will advocate for adding road bumps to physically protect bike lanes, preserving the SMART pathway, and maintaining a walkable downtown.

If elected, what will you do to encourage more people in your city to bicycle and to improve cycling safety? Healdsburg is the perfect size for walking and biking. But because of the terrain and bad bike paths, people in the northern parts of the city depend on cars. I will ask the City Manager’s office to study the feasibility of creating a flat isolated paved path that connects Parkland Farms, Canyon Run, and Poppy Hill Drive which will lead to the SMART pathway.

Our dreams and goals generally exceed our budgets. How does improving bicycling infrastructure and safety rank against your other policy priorities? Transportation is one of my biggest priorities. Not just because it takes people out of cars, but because it encourages residents to exercise and provides the option for a healthier lifestyle. I understand that being in city council doesn’t mean we have the power to bring immediate change. But we can start commitments that the future city council can work towards.


BRIGETTE MANSELL

Do you ride a bicycle in Sonoma County for transportation or recreation? How would you characterize the experience of cycling in your city?  I ride a bicycle in Sonoma County for both transportation and recreation. Everyday! I am a man avid lover of bikes!

Healdsburg is mostly good; there are streets that are not safe to ride because of their narrowness ( parked cars are both diagonal and parallel in design on the same street: for example, Center Street is a bottle neck and so dangerous!)

Our city of Healdsburg needs dedicated, painted bicycle lanes on Healdsburg Avenue from Powell Street going north to Parkland Farms. We need repaved streets for transportation on March Avenue, Healdsburg Avenue north and south, and we need bicycle lock stations or bike racks on the east side of the Plaza Park /Square.

Businesses need more dedicated bike lockable areas, sidewalks need more racks.

What are your city’s biggest transportation challenges, and how does bicycling fit into your vision of future development? Our city’s biggest transportation challenge will be to focus on a circulation plan FOR cyclists and,yes. bicycling fits into my vision of future development.

All planning, north and south of Healdsburg depends on the long pedestrian/ bike path that begins at Front Street, near railroad bridge over Russian River, and follows the railroad tracks up to our community center.  It is the main artery yet, as one who rides my bike to the store, to work, to musical events, to the Plaza, to hike, to visit friends, and to school in the am to substitute teach at our three local public schools, I see the flawed, uneven roads and the lack of a vision to link our town to ensure safety and beauty for our cyclists.

If elected, what will you do to encourage more people in your city to bicycle and to improve cycling safety? Improvinv bicycling infrastructure and safety ranks high. Young people, ages 10-18, do not feel safe on our city streets. Few ride to school. Few ride to work.

Our dreams and goals generally exceed our budgets. How does improving bicycling infrastructure and safety rank against your other policy priorities?  It needs to be a priority for the greatest threat we face: Climate Chaos. Cycling is a viable way to promote personal and planetary health.


LINDA CADE

Do you ride a bicycle in Sonoma County for transportation or recreation? How would you characterize the experience of cycling in your city?   Yes! for recreational purposes now but if I’m elected to City Council I may pick up riding to work. Healdsburg is a fun town to ride around in. Can be dangerous but so can everything

What are your city’s biggest transportation challenges, and how does bicycling fit into your vision of future development?  Traffic can get backed up at times, many roads lack sidewalks and bike lanes. People have been bicycling here for many years and I’m open to hearing ideas for creating and funding more bike paths. I have yet to ride on the new extended path but expect to do so soon!

If elected, what will you do to encourage more people in your city to bicycle and to improve cycling safety? I don’t think it’s my duty to encourage constituents to bicycle more than they do but cycling safety is certainly an important issue to consider and act on.

Our dreams and goals generally exceed our budgets. How does improving bicycling infrastructure and safety rank against your other policy priorities?  Improving bicycling infrastructure and safety is an important issue that I place in my top 6 or 7 priorities.


SUSAN GRAF

Do you ride a bicycle in Sonoma County for transportation or recreation? How would you characterize the experience of cycling in your city? YES I do ride my bike here in Healdsburg for both getting to work and for fun.

What are your city’s biggest transportation challenges, and how does bicycling fit into your vision of future development? I would have to say for me the City’s transportation challenges are these park-lets, that are unevenly built on the roads , and I have almost gotten into trouble trying to navigate around them.  And they are hindering the goals of the city to add bike lanes in town not only for safety but to reduce emissions.

If elected, what will you do to encourage more people in your city to bicycle and to improve cycling safety?  SF State University did a study and saw an increase of 66% of retail reported an improvement on Valencia Street,  after they added the bike infrastructure – this definitely got my attention!

Our dreams and goals generally exceed our budgets. How does improving bicycling infrastructure and safety rank against your other policy priorities? My goals at a minimum would be designated bike lanes, in and around the city.  And to raise our silver standard to gold by 2024.


CHRIS HERROD

Do you ride a bicycle in Sonoma County for transportation or recreation? How would you characterize the experience of cycling in your city? I love my bike and often use it for transportation, especially on the weekends, when shopping at the farmers market or attending the Music on the Plaza events. Sometimes, for exercise I take an hour-long ride through the countryside and about once a month I ride to work in Windsor -about 7 miles each way. Healdsburg has made great strides creating a bike friendly community and I am especially enamored of the Foss Creek trail -a veritable cycling freeway that runs the length of town.

With a new park coming in up north at Saggio Hills, and with Badger in the south being updated, it is critical that we create safe bike passage to and from.

What are your city’s biggest transportation challenges, and how does bicycling fit into your vision of future development? I want to elevate the conversation on climate change and vigorously promoting post-fossil fuel alternatives like biking is central to that mission.

If elected, what will you do to encourage more people in your city to bicycle and to improve cycling safety? Firstly, I will ‘teach’ by example by being a visible cyclist. Once again, we will bring green transportation to the forefront of our climate action. We can not rest on laurels as a bike friendly town. We must always prioritize bike safety with new developments.

Our dreams and goals generally exceed our budgets. How does improving bicycling infrastructure and safety rank against your other policy priorities? Climate action must be central to all our decisions and is a huge priority for me. Once again, I see a move towards more walking and biking, and less fossil fuel consumption, as a central component of my climate action plank.


EVELYN MITCHELL

Do you ride a bicycle in Sonoma County for transportation or recreation?  How would you characterize the experience of cycling in your city? I am not a regular rider in Sonoma County, although a few years ago, I used to ride with my husband, Tom, along Dry Creek Road to Lake Sonoma for picnics.  Clearly recreational riding in the County is enjoyed by many and I enjoy this as well.  I also used to ride to downtown on occasion,  along the side streets.  While not all roads are ideal, I found riding to be relatively safe and enjoyable.  A rider needs to be vigilant and never assume a driver sees you at a crossing or coming up behind them.  My husband is out riding every weekend all over the County, the Coast, in Napa, etc.  He is one of the many riders who enjoy the whole area for recreational riding, as well as training for various events.

What are your city’s biggest transportation challenges, and how does bicycling fit into your vision of future development? The City of Healdsburg is working on a number of projects to make the city more walk able and bike able and I have supported, and continue to support, these efforts.  Bicycling is a key element in our vision for future development.

  • In our current budget, we have a project to extend bike and pedestrian facilities along Front Street from the existing Foss Creek Pathway south to the Healdsburg Avenue Bridge.
  • Also in our current budget, we have budgeted for the design phase for the Grove Street Neighborhood Plan improvements.  This project will construct continuous curb, gutter and sidewalks to improve pedestrian and bike access.
  • Additionally, we have set aside funds in the current budget for the design phase of the Healdsburg Avenue Complete Streets Project.  This project will address safety issues and increased walking and bicycling by adding separated bikeways, protected sidewalks, enhanced crosswalks and improved bus stops.

Finally, we completed the extension of the Foss Creek Pathway, which now runs all the way to the Healdsburg Community Center.  As part of this project, we added a cross walk light on Dry Creek Road for the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.

If elected, what will you do to encourage more people in your city to bicycle and to improve cycling safety? If elected I will continue to support the major efforts the City has embarked upon to encourage bicycling in the city.  The City has also installed way finding signs for pedestrians and cyclists and we are working with the Chamber to install more bike racks within at business locations.  These are smaller efforts, but they all count!

Our dreams and goals generally exceed our budgets. How does improving bicycling infrastructure and safety rank against your other policy priorities? Thank you for recognizing the fiscal reality of these dreams and goals!  While it is true, the City of Healdsburg has prioritized the need to make these dreams come true through a number of avenues.

  • The improvements along Front Street have been funded through a Development Agreement with the Mill District.  We have set aside $84,750 for the design phase and $480,250 for construction, for a total budget of $565,000, paid for via the DA with the Mill District.
  • The Grove Street Improvements are funded by two sources:  Measure T funds ($350,000 current budget; $350,000 in 2024-25 budget) and FHWA Grant Funds for $2,500,000 in 2024-25.  These funds have been applied for and recommended for funding via SCTA.
  • For the Healdsburg Avenue Complete Streets Project we set aside $1,000,000 in 2022-23.  $400,000 was allocated from ARPA funds and $600,000 from a OBAG grant, to be used the design phase of the project.  We have applied for ATP Cycle 6 funds and, assuming we are successful (we have a good chance), we have earmarked this $10,000,000 for 2025-26.