CD 2 Questionnaire: Paul Krekorian

9_2_09_krekorian_at.jpgAsm. Krekorian gives an interview after a press conference supporting his "Safe Streets" Legislation, A.B. 766. Photo: Dr. Alex Thompson/Flickr

Regular readers of Streetsblog are familiar with Assemblyman Paul Krekorian because of his efforts to change a state law which pressures the LADOT and LAPD to raise speed limits on local roads. While his legislation was stalled in the Assembly Transportation Committee, he has vowed to push forward with his efforts this fall starting with a public meeting on the legislation on September 15 in Burbank.

As you might expect, his questionnaire answer for the one on speed limits is pretty detailed. Other highlights include another Stephen Box reference and an aggressive stance towards improving streets for cyclists and pedestrians. His full answers are below, and you can see the other candidates' responses here:

1) When you commute to work, how do you do it? What percentage of the trips that you take don't involve an automobile?

While in the district, I drive a Toyota Prius. In Sacramento, I drive one of the Assembly's hybrid Camry pool cars when necessary, but I frequently walk home from the Capitol to my apartment (depending on how late I'm working).

2) Over the past year, a number of surface streets in the valley have had their speed limits raised. Are these increases a result of the natural order, or an interest that needs to be addressed? What, if anything can be done to reverse these changes?

These increases are (in part) the result of the state "speed trap" law that prohibits local governments from using radar enforcement unless they have set speed limits based on an updated engineering traffic study. The general practice for setting speed limits is to complete a study that collects data on vehicle travel speed, and the posted limit is then set at the 85th percentile of that speed plus five mph, barring certain extenuating circumstance. The effect has been an upward creep in posted speed limits.

To address this problem, I introduced my legislation, AB 766, which gives greater control to local municipalities to set and retain speed limits. Though that legislation has been shelved in the Transportation Committee due to pressure by special interest lobbyists in Sacramento, I remain committed to pushing for legislative fixes to the problem of speeding. In the meantime, I am pressing ahead with a Town Hall to develop community-based solutions to speeding in our neighborhoods. That forum is scheduled for Sept. 15 in Burbank. More information on the event is available on my website, www.assembly.ca.gov/krekorian.

I am the only candidate in this race to aggressively tackle the issue of allowing communities to better control their speed limits for the benefit of drivers, residents, bicyclists, pedestrians and others.

But legislation is only part of the answer. Stop signs and speed humps are welcome additions in some communities, but travel speed has a lot to do with road geometry and trip generators. So, for instance, people will drive much faster if the street is straight, the lanes are wide, and the traffic signals are far apart. Other ideas to reduce speeding that have been effective in some communities include narrowing streets by constructing medians or planters - which have worked well along Ventura Boulevard in Studio City. We need thoughtful solutions that will incorporate community involvement to effectively reduce the dangerous elements of speeding on our streets.

3) The city is currently studying leasing the rights to its parking meters and certain parking garages for a large cash payment up front. Do you support this kind of financing ideas, and if so what kind of conditions should be part of any agreement with a private firm?

I'm still studying this issue, but of course my support would depend entirely on the details of the arrangement, including the impacts on the affordability and availability of parking, the "payback" period of the upfront payment versus traditional revenue streams, the credibility of the financial and consumer behavior assumptions, etc.


4) What can the City Council do to reduce and prevent fatal crashes involving pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable users?

I have focused on traffic safety throughout my Assembly career, including my AB 766 this session, and a previous bill targeted at grossly excessive speeding (adding a second violation point to the driver's record for speeding in excess of 25 mph over the posted limit). On the city level, I would continue to work to improve street safety for everyone who shares the road by aggressively implementing the bicycle and pedestrian master plans, ensuring that LADOT has funding to retain/restore their bicycle planning group and improving the visibility of pedestrians at pedestrian crossings.

5) The former Council Woman for CD2, Wendy Greuel, chaired the Transportation Committee. Do you want to be part of the Transportation Committee?

Regardless of what committee I might serve on, should I be fortunate enough to be elected, I plan to have an integral role in shaping transportation policy for the future of Los Angeles. That said, I would be very pleased to serve on the Transportation Committee and work on the mobility and environmental issues that are so important to our quality of life in Los Angeles.

6) One of the ways that a City Council Member can effect change for non-motorized users is by appointing informed activists to the city's Bicycle Advisory Committee and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. Are you familiar with community activists who could best serve an appointed position on these committees?

My staff and I have worked closely in the past with many bicycle/pedestrian activists. I am a strong supporter of the Bicycle Bill of Rights and counted as official supporters of my AB 766 the Bike Writer's Collective and other groups. We have worked with others in the Bike Oven, C.I.C.L.E. and other organizations to improve street safety and my staff regularly seeks the input of transportation bloggers/experts to inform my opinions about transportation issues.

7) If you could change one thing about transportation in Los Angeles with the wave of a magic wand, what would it be?

My wish would be for Los Angeles to have a comprehensive and integrated mass transit system that serves every part of the city and fully integrates all modes of transportation (including rail and bus, together with bicyclist and pedestrian utility), and is user-friendly enough to provide an easy-to-use and practical means of getting from place to place throughout every part of the city without a personal auto.