Your Streetsblog Voting Guide for Tomorrow’s Mayor’s Race

The 2013 Mayoral Election ends tomorrow. We’ve been covering the election for almost a year and a half. As Laura Nelson’s piece in the Los Angeles Times today shows, one has to look closely to find the differences between Council Member Eric Garcetti and Controller Wendy Greuel on transportation and Livable Streets issues. Both support completing Bike Plan projects, but neither would commit to a specific one. Both support speeding up Measure R transit projects, but neither offer a new idea beyond 30/10 and Measure J II. Both want more CicLAvias. Neither want to double-deck the 405.

Nevertheless, we present the Streetsblog voter guide.

Best of luck voting tomorrow. I look forward to reading the results Wednesday morning in a Holiday Inn in West Virginia.

First, let’s start with the obvious. If you’re reading this piece, you probably support Eric Garcetti. When we polled readers in the primary, Garcetti earned a clear majority 50.2%, just enough that we’re not polling again this time (he won our primary straight out.) In addition, he’s won smaller polls where we asked you who gave the better anwers to questions in televised debates, even when I though Greuel gave a better  answer. And why not? After all, he does have a decent track record as a Council Member and President and even helps wounded pedestrians in his free time.

Just to round things out, he filled out our candidate survey. Greuel didn’t. Even if his answers were so generic they made my eyes roll to the back of my head, at least he answered them…

Which isn’t to say that one can’t make a compelling case for Greuel. Decorated Streetsblog contributor Dana Gabbard makes the case for Wendy Greuel and the Crenshaw Subway Coalition smells a rat in Garcetti’s support for a grade-separated Crenshaw Line. In the aforementioned L.A. Times piece, Sunyoung Yang of the Bus Riders Union implies that Greuel was more supportive of efforts on Wilshire and farebox recovery ratio as Transportation Committee Chair than Garcetti was as Council President.

The two also differ on their positions on how best to create a functioning transit line along the 405 Sepulveda Pass Corridor. Despite Metro’s efforts to make the pass completely unusable for northbound traffic the last several years, and their demonstration of how nice L.A. is when the pass is closed; people still drive on the darned thing. Metro plans to one day build a rail corridor through the pass. Both Garcetti and Greuel think a tunnel is the way to go. However, Garcetti wants a massive heavy rail tunnel. Greuel favors a smaller light rail tunnel with a Bus Rapid Transit route over the mountain.

When you compare the answers the candidates gave at the American Institute of Architects forums fifteen months ago (Garcetti, Greuel), and compare those answers with what was said in our video series (listen to the long-form version of their answers, here,) with what they say at debates…it’s clear that neither has spent a lot of time working on the transportation issue these last 15 months and is instead relying on the expertise gained over the last decade in City Hall. The good news is, both have decent records on transit, bicycling, and Livable Streets.

Whether a decade of City Hall experience is enough to keep L.A. moving in the right direction is an open question.

But what we do know is this. At least the election is over tomorrow.


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