This year, I wanted to target everyone running for office, both mayoral and district council candidates and ask all of them the same questions. With help from the some of the bicycle groups on Facebook, I chose 11 questions; 8 relating to bicycle, 3 relating to VIA. Also those who decided to vote to remove the S Flores bicycle lane back in 2014, I decided not to hold that vote against them due to the fact that this is the first asking them about it. I needed a yes and no answer and some just left the answer blank. They also left explanation which you can find out by clicking here and clicking on the candidate name. Also I designed the questions to hold those running for office accountable to their answers. As much as I wanted to ask them about enforcing the 3ft rule, I knew that we as a community couldn't hold them accountable to that. These questions are the things that I hear about my fellow cyclist and bus riders complain about all the time, getting a ticket riding your bicycle on the sidewalk, not being able to use the Howard Peak Greenways after dark, and VIA needing more buses and routes.
Also I decided to add Incumbent D1 candidate (I) Roberto C. Trevino answers. His staff sent me the info just to late and because of that, he'll not be on the handout that I made.
I originally had a cutoff date of March 24, 2017, but due to my work and the lack of internet getting in the way of sending reminders, I decided to add one more week to the cutoff because I decided to grade every candidate. The result is what you and everyone else can go ahead and print out on where each candidate responded. If they didn't responded, then they're not on the printout, but I have them listed on the City Election 2017: Candidates Position on Cycling with the explanations accessible by clicking on the candidate's name. Below are and my reason for the questions I chose. there was going to be 12 questions, but due to room, and being the question that was voted the least priority, I left it out. It was, are you willing to make 25mph the speed limit of San Antonio unless otherwise posted.
The Bicycle Questions.
A. Will you as Mayor/Councilman implement the Bicycle Master Plan throughout the city/in your district?
This is the biggest complaint I hear, that the city isn't building enough bicycle lanes. They're suspose to update this document every two years, sadly the last updated document that I could find was last updated in 2013. Despite this document not being updated, council members never tell Transportation and Capital Improvements do this plan when repaving streets and stroads.
So you probably asking how do we make sure that the candidate will actually do this? Well I cannot do this alone, you are going to have to do this. I'll try to organize a meeting sometime in the fall, if your interested in attending, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
B. Will you vote to remove a bicycle lane?
With a supposedly bicycle friendly candidates voting to remove the S Flores Bicycle lane back in 2014, I felt the need to enforce this. So if by any chance that by voting for a development or to actually remove a bicycle lane, then the next time they run, we'll be holding them accountable despite future promises. This is the reason why you see Rey Saladan
C. Will you make it illegal to park a car in the bicycle lane?
D. Will you make sure Broadway has a protected bicycle lane from Houston to Hildebrand?
If the Bond passes, then the money is available to build a protected bicycle lane on the city's busiest corridor that people ride their bicycles on. We have a chance to make sure that Broadway has a protected bicycle lane, even one just 10 feet wide. Despite what some candidates replied that really they have no say and that is true. It is not true that they can't influence the mayor or the future district 1 council member. (Image 63.1)
E. Will you insist on new developments to include bike infrastructure such as a bicycle lane, mix used 10ft paths, and bicycle racks?
After what to the Bicycle lane on Broadway at Jones, I felt the need to add this. (Image 63.2) If any future development decides to remove a bicycle lane, then we hold accountable the council member. Lack of any action by the mayor or council with legislation, we hold them accountable.
F. Will you amend Sec. 19-286. Driving or parking on sidewalks prohibited, so people can ride their bicycles on the sidewalk?
When I wrote about this in back in 2014, I really didn't have a answer and thought that since B-cycle was around, that this law won't be enforced. But alas, I have been hearing recently that people have been getting ticketed for riding their bicycles on the sidewalks. I see it done all the time and I do it too especially when I need to ride against the flow of traffic. This is an outdated law and if law enforcement can ride their bicycles without hitting people walking, then the rest of us can do it too. I'm even will allow the amending of this law that if you hit a pedestrian with your bicycle, then it's the fault of the bicyclist.
G. Do you support a city ordinance that prevents any further Development of park or green space lands for development of sports fields?
This is a question that was recommended to me by people who love to mountain bike in McAllister Park with the recent bond fight to build more baseball fields. It's not a park that I regularly go to, but even I feel the need to point out that we're losing green-space outside loop 410.
H. Will you either amend or repeal Sec. 22-28. Public parks hours of operation and curfew, so people can use the Howard W. Peak Greenway trails after dark?
This is another complaint I heard from people who live around the Leon Creek Greenway, how they were forced to give up commuting by bicycle because they got ticket for using the safest place to commute by bicycle. I decided to say hell with the law and broke this law regularly. The most deadliest thing I encountered wasn't an ax murder but a spider web blocking the path underneath Houston St. (Image 63.3) I regularly rode past the Eastside Substation with police refueling their vehicles and never once got a ticket. The worse thing was almost running over a racoon.
I. Are you willing to look for more funding options to improve and expand VIA bus service?
When I attended a meeting about the system change in 2003, I came across a lady who said the following. "Do you want the money that is spent on bus stop amenities to be spent on more service." Everyone hand shot up. If you read Empty Buses, it is the biggest complaint that Rey Saldaña, heard when he started riding the VIA bus. Whether this leads to more funding option, or an increase in the sales tax, I would like the candidates who said yes to this to do their due diligence to find more funding options for VIA.
J. Will you support free bus rides for all residents of SA?
Being the only one asking these questions, I decided to ask my own and this is it. For the reason behind this question, you'll need to click on the story "The Case for Free Bus Rides."
K. Are you willing to bring Light Rail to a vote?
Read any story lately about bus service, the riders demand that we have light rail. Now this question isn't about whether you supported light rail, it was whether you are going to bring it to a vote. I'm not going to argue here why a The mayor of Addison, TX is threatening to leave DART if they don't get light rail by 2025. But if you want to understand why people prefer rail over buses, you can go read Streetcar Part II: Buses aren't Better than Rail. What I wanted to know and Candidate Tony Valdivia for District 8 said it best in his explanation quote: "I am not a fan of light rail at this time as I believe the rapidly changing technology will shortly create a more efficient and economical means of travel. As a representative of the City, I would give the citizens a chance to vote on light rail, if requested. " And that's is the answer that I wanted to see.
63.1: Cross Section of my proposal and with the City proposal for Broadway.
63.2: The new apartment complex at Jones and Broadway showing that parking was build over the existing bicycle lane. The proposal that was told that the bicycles would be on the sidewalk. This pictures shows how dangerous it would be for cyclist getting off of the sidewalk back onto the bike lane.
63.3: A picture of a spiderweb blocking the Salado South creekway underneath Houston Street.