Saturday, March 5, 2011

City Council Candidate Scott Schmidt responds to our West Hollywood Public Transit Questionnaire

Here is West Hollywood Council Candidate Scott Schmidt's reply to our Public Transit Questionnaire. (We thank him 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?

I was an early and ardent advocate of the West Hollywood line for the subway to the sea and hope we get a chance to re-evaluate it when the second phase of construction comes back. I believe we can be competitive with a Santa Monica extension, but we have to make our case. West Hollywood gave the highest support of any city to Measure R--which is funding the subway--and yet we are getting little in return since the incumbents on the City Council dropped the ball on 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.)

About a year ago, I discussed this idea with Barbara Yaroslavsky while waiting for a plane to San Francisco, and to both of us, it was a new idea. I’m glad to see it being discussed, as it would link our City with both the Subway to the Sea and LAX. For any sections along Santa Monica Boulevard, I’d want to see it underground (even if it is just cut-and-cover) so as to minimize the impacts on pedestrians, bicyclists and traffic.

(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?

West Hollywood has made major investments in Santa Monica and Sunset Boulevard over the last decade. Unless any project were grade-separated, I would have reservations about the impacts that would have on pedestrians, bicycles and traffic.

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

No. There is not enough capacity for the cars on the street as it is.

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

First, I’d ask the City of LA how much it would cost to bring back the DASH West Hollywood line and find a way to write them a check.

Second, I would work with Metro to improve their iPhone application to incorporate the technology of Seattle’s “One Bus Away” app so people can know when the next bus is coming, using real-time data. Not knowing whether waiting for the bus will take longer than walking is a large impediment for shorter trips.

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

As a West Hollywood Transportation Commissioner, I worked to forge a compromise that would allow bicyclists to share the sidewalks in parts of the City where bike lanes were not available, provided the operated in a safe and reasonable manner and yielded to pedestrians. I believe that Abbe Land and Lindsey Horvath’s Bicycle Task Force is a cynical political ploy. When I chaired the Transportation Commission and we had three meetings cancelled in the last year for lack of staff or agenda items. Why create a Task Force when you have a Commission but to send out a press release and make 20 political appointments right before the election? Spend the $15,000 the Task Force will cost us on real improvements to make West Hollywood safer for bicyclists instead.

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

I’m an ardent supporter of a pedestrian lifestyle and support efforts to make West Hollywood a place where people can live, work and play. This means supporting a pedestrian orientation and human scale for new developments, and encouraging workforce housing so people can live in West Hollywood and walk to work. Tantamount to any pedestrian platform is pedestrian safety. We’ve seen too many tragic vehicle versus pedestrian accidents in West Hollywood and we need to look at crosswalk signalization not as a liability for the City but as a necessary enhancement along out major boulevards.

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

I have not read the book but am familiar with the hypothesis. Up to 28% of trips that begin and end in West Hollywood are spent looking for affordable parking. However, I have concerns about putting the cart before the horse. We need viable public transit options and strong workforce housing programs before we can move to act on the theory.

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

I would ask Congressman Waxman to add an amendment to any 30/10 enabling legislation that requires a mass transit option to serve West Hollywood. I’d also consider creative funding solutions--such as exploring a DUI abatement zone with a fee-per-cocktail to fund mass transit expansion into West Hollywood.
(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 believe that it is possible to live in Southern California without a car. I know it is possible because I do it.


Blogger's Note:  I really appreciate this. 

I believe that it is possible to live in Southern California without a car. I know it is possible because I do it.

Thank you, Scott.  :)

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