Thursday, March 3, 2011

City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath responds to our West Hollywood Public Transit Questionnaire

Here is West Hollywood City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath's reply to our Public Transit Questionnaire. (We thank her and all the candidates who take time out of their busy schedules to address these issues):

(1) Do you support continuing efforts to bring Metrorail to West Hollywood,and if so, with what alignment?

Yes, I absolutely support continuing these efforts. I am disappointed that we were not successful in bringing an extension to West Hollywood at this time, but we were successful in ensuring that the MTA will fund a study of various routes through West Hollywood for future projects. I know this is how the Gold Line extension got started, and I am willing to do the work necessary to see this process through. Our residents and visitors deserve nothing less than a steadfast commitment to better public transit. I would like to hear more input from all parties involved--the MTA, residents, our business community, and all others concerned--before advocating for a particular alignment that would best accomplish these objectives. Until we see that extension come to West Hollywood, we need to explore opportunities to connect our City to the line that will be developed. Perhaps a shuttling system, a zip car program, or a shared bicycle operation can connect people who live, work, and play in West Hollywood to the subway.

(2) Do you support extending the proposed Crenshaw/LAX light rail line up San Vicente and then on Santa Monica Blvd. to the Red Line in Hollywood? (Note: This could potentially be a light-rail subway and would provide West Hollywood with a one-seat ride to LAX.)

I am 100% in support of ensuring that LAX gets connected to our existing subway/light rail network, especially if it provides West Hollywood residents with a far easier option to get to the airport than what is currently available.

(3) As modern streetcars are coming to downtown Los Angeles by 2015, would you support bringing modern streetcars to West Hollywood on Santa Monica Blvd, Sunset Blvd. and/or San Vicente Blvd?

This is an intriguing idea, but one whose effectiveness I would like to explore in greater detail before committing to supporting it. I am excited to see how the downtown Los Angeles streetcar network changes the community, and am always in support of effective ways to make our City more pedestrian-friendly and less dependent on the automobile. The example of San Francisco certainly indicates that street cars have the ability to not only improve transportation access and reduce dependence on cars, but also add character to the areas they serve.

(4) Do you support transit-only lanes on Santa Monica Blvd.?

I'm willing to explore all possible solutions to help our traffic issues and increase our use of mass transit. However, I would need to be convinced that transit-only lanes will mitigate the problem of traffic and not make it worse through reducing the number of lanes available to private vehicles. I would further need to see what new construction would need to occur and how it would affect the look and feel of a street that essentially defines the character of our City.

(5) What are your proposals for improving bus service in West Hollywood, including Metro, DASH and West Hollywood's City Line?

The first thing we need to do is prevent our current access from being degraded due to budgetary shortfalls in communities outside our City. This is especially the case with DASH lines, which are dependent on funding from our neighbors in Los Angeles. I worked with LA City Councilmembers to save access to one of the DASH lines that suffered a cutback on account of Los Angeles' budget shortfall and worked to mitigate those effects through a re-routing of our City Line service. In October last year, I also met with the Department of Transportation in Washington DC to discuss the unique issues facing West Hollywood and what potential support and solutions they could offer. New funding is always important to make sure we have the infrastructure available to support successful transit, but I believe we can use our existing resources - City Line, Dial-a-Ride, etc - to provide even better transportation within the City.

(6) What is your platform for bicycles in West Hollywood?

I strongly believe in encouraging cycling as a safe and reliable mode of transportation within the City, especially through the development of bike lanes. This will not only make the roads safer for cyclists, but will also make the sidewalks safer for pedestrians. I am proud to have created the Bicycle Task Force with Councilmember Abbe Land, which will explore the possibilities that not only create the infrastructure but help to shift the community mindset about using bikes as a real form of transportation.

(7) What is your platform for pedestrians in West Hollywood?

We have a beautiful city, and walking is a great way to experience it! A pedestrian-friendly city is a critical component to a sustainable city. West Hollywood is very dense and very walkable, and our urban planning should incorporate ways of making our neighborhoods even more pedestrian-friendly through concepts such as mixed-use development.

(8) Have you read Donald Shoup's, "The High Cost of Free Parking", and what do you think about it?

I have not read this, but am happy to take your suggestion! The bottom line is that reducing our dependence on our cars will improve our overall quality of life, and urban planning ought to make that objective a priority. This is something I am committed to as a City Councilmember.

(9) How would you pursue additional funding for public transit in West Hollywood?

Through the same sound fiscal management that has allowed us to undertake other capital improvement projects, such as our new LibraryPark. The only way to ensure additional funding for public transit during times of economic difficulty is to maintain the discipline that has allowed us to maintain the highest-possible municipal bond rating--a genuine accomplishment, considering the fiscal state of other cities in the area. West Hollywood may not be able to depend on other public agencies to maintain their current commitments to public transit, and I am committed to ensuring that our City will have the resources to pick up the slack. As I said earlier, I personally met with representatives at the federal Department of Transportation to discuss our City's unique transit issues and what funding sources might be available to address them. While it will take time, I believe we have started to develop a relationship that will help us secure much-needed funds to create new modes of public transit.

(10) What else is in your public transit platform that would you like the voters and everyone else who lives, works and plays in West Hollywood to know?

I am dedicated to making West Hollywood more sustainable in all aspects, including by increasing access to and use of public transportation. Our motto here is "The Creative City" and I will consider all possible solutions that could make our City greener, alleviate traffic, and improve our transportation infrastructure. I am grateful that the Sierra Club and the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters have recognized this commitment through their endorsements of my campaign, and I hope that the voters will elect me to a full term in office so I can get to work on turning my vision for a sustainable West Hollywood into a reality. It's time to get West Hollywood moving!


Blogger's Note: I was particularly happy to read the following:

"In October last year, I also met with the Department of Transportation in Washington DC to discuss the unique issues facing West Hollywood and what potential support and solutions they could offer."

No comments: