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: None of the candidates below are members of the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition.
Do you ride a bicycle in Sonoma County for transportation or recreation? How would you characterize the experience of cycling in your city? I do not have a bike. My wife and I lost ours in the Tubbs fire and have yet to replace them as there were other expenses that took priority in rebuilding and replacing belongings. However, our children do and it has become a priority for my wife and I to get one soon as our son doesn’t want to take the training wheels off his and we think if we lead by example, he will feel more confident. As for the experience, while SR is very bike friendly, it needs to be more accommodating to the less experienced and more recreational riders. There is a lot of fear for many people in cycling in Santa Rosa because of heavy traffic. More bike paths, buffered lanes (Class 2B) and protected lanes (Class 4) could help ease those fears and encourage more people to bike.
What are your city’s biggest transportation challenges, and how does bicycling fit into your vision of future development? Fundamentally, we have too many vehicles for the infrastructure we have. We need more alternative ways to travel, including cycling. I am a big proponent of the bike/ped master plan and its continuing evolution. We don’t have the resources, space or time (with climate change) to accommodate all the vehicles we expect to have with the growth of our city.
If elected, what will you do to encourage more people in your city to bicycle and to improve cycling safety? Specifically, my district is not very bike friendly once you leave neighborhoods. A priority for me is the Segment C extension of the SMART trail. Currently, there is no trail in my district and that could change travel patterns and uses. I, myself, could get to railroad square or my job, very easily by bike/scooter/walking if that were extended. Additionally, Piner Rd needs to become a priority for bike lanes.
Our dreams and goals generally exceed our budgets. How does improving bicycling infrastructure and safety rank against your other policy priorities? Bicycling is, to me, considered a top tier priority as it falls into the Climate Action Plan as well as the livability/life expectancy of our residents. Adapting existing infrastructure to bike/ped use is expensive, but that’s because it wasn’t planned for it. Going forward we can save money and accomplish goals by incorporating bike/ped philosophies into new development and public projects. Then with existing infrastructure we need to target areas that would get the most use in and equitable and inclusive manner.