A Livable Streets Look at Tomorrow’s Council Election in CD6 (with video)

Do you live in the orange, green or yellow areas on this map? If so, you have an election tomorrow. Map:Council District 6

(Matt Tinoco’s been interning with us this summer, mostly producing and booking the Streetsblog Summer Series of broadcasts on our YouTube channel, SoCalStreets Tube. We’re also sharing him with LAist, where he’s been writing a series on “Metro Adventures.” Matt is attending USC, and has a bright future. We’re happy to have his help this summer. – DN)

Tomorrow’s runoff election in Council District 6 should be the last election in the city of Los Angeles for at least a little while. Streetsblog Los Angeles has interviewed both Cindy Montañez and Nury Martinez, the candidates contending for the San Fernando Valley (Valley) seat, about the transportation and livable streets issues  within the district’s borders. Each interview is presently archived to the SoCal StreetsTube channel on YouTube where they may be viewed any time.

Montañez previously served as both a Council Member and Mayor in the city of San Fernando, adjacent Los Angeles CD6 and a term in the California State Legislature. In Sacramento, she successfully pursued legislation that promotes healthy school environments. As Mayor of San Fernando, Montañez pushed for the development of two parks, and a new public library.

Nury Martinez is presently serving an elected term as a member representing the central and northeast Valley on the Los Angeles Unified School Board.  In addition to her work as a school-board member, Martinez has also worked to improve the Livable Streets situation in the Northeast Valley. As the director of Pacoima Beautiful, a nonprofit organization devoted to advocating for a more walkable and bikeable Pacoima, Martinez engaged the community to create a plan that develops the Pacoima Wash into public open space.

Pacoima Beautiful received L.A. County Department of Public Health’s Policies for Livable and Active Communities and Environments Grant in 2011. Streetsblog L.A. covered the Livable Streets program at Pacoima Beautiful as part of our 2011 Annenberg School of Journalism Fellowship on the PLACE Grants.

Montañez’s interview reveals that she believes in integrating the developments occurring around the city into Council District 6. Montañez wants to expand public-transit access throughout the district, as well as promoting multi-modal transit in general. While recognizing the challenges in the district, Montañez provided little commentary on the lack of sidewalks in many neighborhoods throughout the district, instead pivoting to a more general pitch about improving access to more transportation options in the district.

Martinez’s interview reveals a similar end goal as Montañez’s; promoting more public resources to help people get around the city. But Martinez’s answers to the same questions reveals a greater understanding of the issues facing the district.

When asked about the East San Fernando Valley Corridor, Montañez acknowledged the existence of different plans (BRT or LRT) and the various aspects of planning around two of them. Martinez answered similarly, but also advocates for the combination of the East San Fernando Valley and Sepulveda Pass corridors into one project so as to further understand the implications of a massive north-south transit project in Los Angeles.

Each candidate also speaks to positive past experiences with CicLAvia, and how they both want to see the event take from in the San Fernando Valley, most likely along Van Nuys or Sepulveda Boulevards.

Montañez’s vision for Los Angeles is outlined after the 15:30 mark in her interview:

Montañez imagines “making a difference where Los Angeles is cleaner, more sustainable, and a big city of 4 million people becomes neighborhoods of people walking around and riding bikes, getting around using public transportation. Traffic is just terrible… to get on those freeways it’s just not a fun experience. But getting on a bike and walking, that’s a fun experience and, for many, I think a better quality of life.” 

Martinez describes her basic Livable Streets agenda starting at just about 20 minutes into her interview. An excerpt is below:

“I want to work on ensuring that we have adequate infrastructure—sidewalks, curb cuts, and street trees—everything that makes people want to get out of their cars and walk and bike… CD6 is in desperate need of that infrastructure, so I’m very much committed to making sure that at least our sidewalks are repaired and our families are taking advantage of the walks in their communities.“

The polls open at 7 am tomorrow and close at 8 pm. Streetsblog would like to thank both candidates  for taking the time to speak with us and wishes both of them well, regardless of who gets more votes tomorrow.