CS City Council Position 5 Candidates address transit questions

The BVC bicyclists recently contacted two of the College Station 2014 City Council Candidates for Place 5 to gain perspective on how they plan to address bicycling and other transportation issues as City Councilmembers. Here, in order, is the message we sent, as well as the candidates’ replies, in the order received:

Dear Ms. Schultz and Ms. Harvall,

On behalf of the Brazos Valley Cyclists, a local association of bicycling enthusiasts (http://brazoscyclists.org), could I impose and ask for a few minutes of your time to answer a question we have?  I’ll send your responses to our listserv and post them on our blog.  
The question is:  What do you see as the largest transportation challenges that you will work to address as a city council member, and how will you address those transportation challenges?
The questions we are not asking (but which offer a sense of cyclist sentiment) included
– would you fund bike lanes and bicycle-specific detection at intersections?  
– would you support regulations that punish car drivers who hit cyclists rather than just chalking it up to “whoops, maybe the cyclist did something wrong”?  
– would you support education programs to teach residents about rules of the road for cyclists and also how they apply to car drivers (I’m often amazed at how few car drivers recognize my hand signals on a bike)?
– would you support rolling stops when safe?  
– when was the last time you rode a bike?
 Thank you for thinking about our question and especially for being willing to dedicate the significant time and effort to run for city council and serve.  That willingness strengthens our democracy.

If I can provide more information, please let me know.

Yours,
Jonathan Coopersmith

Julie Schultz’s response:

Thank you for your vigilance and dedication to ensuring that your government and the people that are elected to it, is responsive to the issues that you care about most.
Transportation challenges are complex to our growing community.  With the challenge of planning for future needs in a community that has now surpassed the 100,000 population mark, and in a greater county of nearly 250,000; College Station’s transportation solutions will have to be multifaceted.  Responsibly we must continue to develop main arteries, expand roadways and highway infrastructure that compliments are current strategy.  Acknowledging that we also have much more pedestrian traffic, we need to ensure pedestrian safety in areas of heavy pedestrian use.  While you and I both know that all communities can do better in planning bike lanes and being more pedestrian friendly, I believe that there are few communities that have embraced pedestrian friendly concepts as well as we have.  Recognizing the need, bike lanes have been placed on many major thoroughfares throughout College Station, particularly near the Texas A&M University Campus.  Also acknowledging the need to protect pedestrians, College Station worked with TXDOT to slow traffic down, close streets, add a developed median and retainer wall to better protect pedestrians on Northgate.  Many in our community also rely on the bus system, and I believe that as our community grows, we will have to work with our regional partners to ensure that a regional transit authority has fewer holes and offers a true alternative to driving to destinations.
With regard to questions or sentiments that cyclists are interested in, I can relate with many of these sentiments, however I am not an avid cyclist myself.  I don’t believe that drivers typically know what hand signals mean despite the fact it is part of the curriculum of drivers safety courses.  I can also understand the frustration of drivers not being educated on sharing the road with cyclists.  I have heard talk of legislation where individuals that are involved in a traffic issue with a cyclist would be required to take a transportation safety course with emphasis on cycling, and that would seem to make a lot of sense to me.
I hope that you have found this helpful.  If in the future there is an issue that comes before the Council in which there is a perspective that should be shared on cycling, I hope to hear that perspective, and I hope you will stay committed to advancing this cause.

Thanks again,
Julie Schultz    


Linda Harvell’s response:

The question is:  What do you see as the largest transportation challenges that you will work to address as a city council member, and how will you address those transportation challenges? 
The biggest issue I see is how is the City of College Station going to prepare for the expected growth in population in terms of traffic.  This is a multi-agency project and I know that they are working on options.  When you say “transportation,” do you mean as public transportation or the traffic issues?  If it’s traffic issues, cyclists put themselves at risk every day trying to navigate our crowded neighborhood streets.  
The questions we are not asking (but which offer a sense of cyclist sentiment) included
– would you fund bike lanes and bicycle-specific detection at intersections?  

Absolutely.  It is the city’s responsibility to ensure its citizens are safe and there is a lack of bike paths all over this city, especially in our neighborhoods. I’m not sure what “bicycle-specific detection at intersections” refers to.
- would you support regulations that punish car drivers who hit cyclists rather than just chalking it up to “whoops, maybe the cyclist did something wrong”?  
Once again, absolutely!  Drivers need to respect the cyclists as they have just as much right to use our streets as they do.  
- would you support education programs to teach residents about rules of the road for cyclists and also how they apply to car drivers (I’m often amazed at how few car drivers recognize my hand signals on a bike)?  
Yes, I would.  A friend of mine who is a cyclist has these same concerns.  Sadly, not all cyclists use hand signals and I’m always impressed to see those who do.  
-would you support rolling stops when safe?  
As I understand it, cyclists must follow the same laws drivers do. 
- when was the last time you rode a bike?  
Oh my, way too many years to remember but it’s been a very long time.

Have you checked out our “Routes” page?

We’ve been working on building up a collection of different bike routes for transportation and recreation, which you can view here. Have you used any of these routes, or do you have suggestions for other routes to add to the collection? Let us know!

Recent additions include the 2014 Rotary Ride route, and two alternative routes between downtown Bryan and Texas A&M University.

Cyclocross Project 2015: College Station CX Project Club

kid on bikeFree Cyclocross clinics and training sessions will start on Tuesday at 6:00pm, starting on September 9th and every Tuesday. after that until Tuesday, November 4th.  Make sure to like our Facebook page as this is where we usually post all details of our weekly training.

Details on program that would be important:  Any BMX, Mountain, Cross bike with helmet. Fun On Bikes. Results will be improved balance, agility, and fitness.

When: Tuesday at 6:00pm, starting on September 9th and every Tuesday for eight weeks in length ending on Tuesday, November 4th. Our program culminates with celebration race in Georgetown, http://georgetowncyclocrossfestival.com/.

Where: Pebble Creek Elementary, 200 Parkview Drive, College Station, TX 77845.

Register:  Register at http://cxproject2015.org/register/

Description:

  • Welcome and overview
  • Warm up,
  • Drills and technique based on each week’s curriculum,
  • Cool down.

Cyclocross Project 2015 Guidelines/Requirements:

  • Open to kids starting at 6-16 years of age.
  • Each participant who will be racing during the 2014-2015 Cyclocross Season must purchase a USA Cycling License.  Please visit the USA Cycling for more details at www.usacycling.org/news/user/story.php?id=579
  • Parent or Guardian must sign a waiver and be present during the clinic or training session. Waivers will be available during the training sessions.
  • Helmets are required! No helmet, No riding!
  • BMX or MTB are allowed.
  • Clipless pedaling can be advanced for kids. Tennis shoes work great, we will teach kids to tuck in those laces!
  • Participants should wear comfortable athletic clothing; tee shirts or sweat shirts. Cycling jerseys and shorts aren’t essential, however, they keep young riders more comfortable and wanting to come back to the sport week after week.

Who should come: Everyone!

If you know of anyone interested in our Kids Cyclocross Program email us at info@cxproject2015.org.

via Cyclocross Project 2015: College Station CX Project Club.