Santa Rosa City Council Candidates 2020

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 Santa Rosa 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 Rogers and Jack Tibbetts are the only Santa Rosa candidates who are current members of the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition.

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Do you ride a bicycle in Sonoma County for transportation or recreation? How would you characterize the experience of cycling in your city?

I enjoy bicycling but do neither at this time. I have not felt safe riding on streets the past few years. Growing up in Santa Rosa, we were able to bike from my area near W. 3rd at Dutton, all the way to Spring Lake, cutting over to ride trails in Annadel, up to Lake Ilsanjo, then back home before dark. Ah: to be young and fit!

Santa Rosa’s newly carved out District 5, was filled with homeless encampments along the CA-101 underpasses this past spring. Prior to this, the challenges with personal safety, vagrancy, trespassing, and theft were very real and unfortunately not good for cycling.

What are your city’s biggest transportation challenges, and how does bicycling fit into your vision of future development?

There has been a heavy investment to improve transportation options. While the SMART train was a pain point for many, its adoption still appears to be a challenge, even though it’s helpful to bicyclists utilizing commute alternatives in transportation. Santa Rosa’s main issues continue to go back to our dramatic population increase. Bicycling should be enjoyable and safe. However, drivers routinely run solid red lights; have little regard for other drivers—let alone pedestrians, skateboarders, bicyclists, and scooters/wheelchairs. Bike lanes have helped greatly, however a cultural shift is necessary for drivers to be more mindful and respectful. We must support our SRPD’s enforcement of traffic laws and other infractions that endanger people and utilize technology.

Supporting the development of a local economy where the majority of workers are not reliant on large work trucks as sub-contractors and contractors or as commuters. The ability to bicycle to work is liberating and definitely a goal for a more green community and a robust circular economy. Many bicycle-friendly communities have found a way to “tread lightly” and it shows in the regard for preservation of historical districts and cultural assets, to cite cities throughout Europe or even closer, towns like Larkspur in Marin County.

If elected, what will you do to encourage more people in your city to bicycle and to improve cycling safety?

I’d love to be able to ride over to City Hall: that would be fantastic! Realistically, if it’s not safe on the streets, buy-in is difficult. Bikes are expensive and are often stolen; slim profile, public bike storage locations throughout the city may help. I support a budget for more police officers to enforce traffic laws and bike cops can help deter theft. I like awareness campaigns and incentives for small businesses: we need to keep them around and encourage more to invest in Santa Rosa. When people can live near where they work, we can reduce our dependence on cars and trucks. Public restrooms are necessary and must be maintained. With COVID-19 precautions, economic instability and general unease in the air, we are all apprehensive and experiencing mental health challenges: We’re human. Getting outdoors on a bike is one way to alleviate stress and regain some measure of control. We have many unhoused actively bicycling as a primary means of transportation. Is our city ready for bike shares? I also enjoy seeing bicycle cops and feel it’s a great way to reconnect law enforcement with the community.

Our dreams and goals generally exceed our budgets. How does improving bicycling infrastructure and safety rank against your other policy priorities?

We have such a beautiful region and the quality and safety of our roads keeps it accessible to all. Filling potholes and bad roads throughout District 5 would lend greater support to the extension of Measure M: I would like to see the work completed. Keeping parks clean and accessible for the next generation of bicyclists—those K-6 not yet ready for streets, translates to greater support for our code and law enforcement officers. Working with the bicycling community to develop a more inclusive culture, where bicycling is viewed and respected in the ways that we imagine involves awareness campaigns and outreach.


Many residents and new homeowners of this District are reliant on work trucks professionally as contractors and subcontractors; in their downtime, many continue to enjoy big truck culture. I’ve seen that translate into an appreciation for mountain biking when I was a teen in the late ’80s–early ’90s.

Bicycling is an important component of residential communities and the creation of a vibrant, memorable youth as well. I want to help create positive memories of Santa Rosa. I’d like to see more youth and women feel safe enough to ride around town, beyond certain “safe” neighborhoods.  How does bicycling fit into that model in Santa Rosa, with the demographic and socioeconomic breakdown of our population growth? These are questions I hope to answer if elected.

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 Do you ride a bicycle in Sonoma County for transportation or recreation? How would you characterize the experience of cycling in your city?

When I first moved to Santa Rosa in 2008, I really got into mountain biking through Annadel and thoroughly enjoyed how muddy I often ended up getting. Once I started working regularly I had less time for those adventures but my boyfriend (now husband) and I took leisurely rides all through town, exploring different paved trails but staying off the County roads. Unfortunately, we were living in an apartment complex that only had a carport and while his bike was locked up, it was stolen. So, we waited until we were living in a single family home to get him another one. When we did, we were living in Glen Ellen and we rode all around that area and loved it. When our son was born we were living in Sebastopol, put a seat on the back of my husband’s bike, and heard him chuckle the entire ride. We moved to Santa Rosa three years ago, a month before our daughter was born. Our son is now learning how to ride a pedal bike all by himself and our daughter loves racing down the sidewalk on her push bike. We live in a small little pocket where people rarely race down the street so the kids are making wonderful memories riding their bikes in the street. When they get a little older we look forward to family rides to show them their city from the seat of a bicycle.

 What are your city’s biggest transportation challenges, and how does bicycling fit into your vision of future development?

The biggest transportation challenge is that there are too many cars on the road. Overall, I think the City does a very good job promoting bicycle use and with the updated Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, has a lot of good ideas to continue making bicycling a practical and pleasant method of transportation and enjoyable activity. Specifically, I think the protected lane, especially in the vehicle turn area, like at the corner of Humboldt and College, is a fantastic feature that does not significantly impact traffic but adds a great deal of safety for cyclists. I also think the painted green lanes, especially at freeway entrances, are a more clear demarcation for vehicles to remember to look out for cyclists. These safety features and extra steps that the city takes to protect cyclists will show them that it is a safe place to ride, which will only encourage more people to do so. I know that some people are hesitant to ride to a specific location for fear of their bike being stolen. I haven’t met a single person who has been riding regularly as a means of transportation, that parks (and locks) their bike outside and has not had it stolen. It is a real problem that needs to be addressed. If people felt more safe leaving their bike somewhere, I know they would ride even more.

I also think the SMART train should run more on the weekends so that it is not just a commuter train but also a way that families could easily travel to another town for the day. The city of Santa Rosa had a bike sharing program a few years ago which I was very excited about, until it launched. It was so difficult, cumbersome and impractical I was unable to participate, despite my desire to do so. I think we need to design a bike sharing program that is easy to use so people will actually participate. Maybe connect it to the SMART train so you could take the train from, for example, Santa Rosa, to Petaluma, hop on a bike and ride into town. When your day is done, return the bike at the SMART station and take the train home. I think having this type of program might make people use the train to commute more too.

 If elected, what will you do to encourage more people in your city to bicycle and to improve cycling safety?

I think the city is doing a good job promoting bicycle safety. I think it needs to be doing a good job ensuring the safety of your bicycle. Whether that is with better bike racks, manned bike enclosures, or some other creative solution. If we can ensure people the chances of their bike getting stolen, even if locked to a bike rack, is less than it is now, I think more people would ride. I would really like to work with the Coalition to come up with a solution to this problem.

 Our dreams and goals generally exceed our budgets. How does improving bicycling infrastructure and safety rank against your other policy priorities?

Santa Rosa is a tourist destination. Not just because of the wine and beer but because it is a beautiful place to be and ride a bike. Climate is a top priority of mine and getting more people out of cars and onto bicycles is a big help in addressing that issue. It leads to less pollution, less wear and tear on the roads, and a healthier citizenry. People need to feel safe as they ride their bicycles through our streets. This city already has a strong cycling community and a detailed plan for expanding that existing infrastructure. If we are going to be serious about tackling climate change, we must do so at all levels, including this one. For that reason, promoting cycling and bicycling safety is near the top of my priorities.

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Do you ride a bicycle in Sonoma County for transportation or recreation? How would you characterize the experience of cycling in your city?

I cycle for recreation along with my family. At times it is difficult to cycle with my young son because the path that we take to the Joe Rodota Trail is difficult to ride on for the both of us. The sidewalk is broken, has overgrown trees/plants, and in some areas is missing sidewalks.

What are your city’s biggest transportation challenges, and how does bicycling fit into your vision of future development?

I would definitely like to see an easier path for riders who need to go to multiple places around Santa Rosa. Right now we have multiple bike paths, but they are not connected, which makes it both difficult and dangerous to get around. Cycling is a way to contribute to a healthy environment, but also helps us be healthy community members. I feel my best when I am able to be active, release some steam after a long day, and enjoy this beautiful county we call home.

If elected, what will you do to encourage more people in your city to bicycle and to improve cycling safety?

If elected I would like to see increased safety measures to keep cyclists safe, such as no right turn on red for busy intersections, ways to safely connect trails on current bike paths, increase the number of paths that we have in the city, encourage more citywide bike-to-work days with incentives and social media outreach, and overall help Santa Rosa be a more bike friendly environment.

Our dreams and goals generally exceed our budgets. How does improving bicycling infrastructure and safety rank against your other policy priorities?

Safety and the environment are very high on my priority list, and both can benefit from more cycling. Also as I suggest above, if we can invest in connecting existing trails to each other, we can increase cycling usage citywide if it’s easier to get around using a better bicycle network. Making the connections could help a lot for not much more money.

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