This year, SVBC has been working with our Policy Advisory Committee and our Local Teams to craft bicycling-related questions to ask candidates in select races in our area. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, SVBC cannot and does not endorse any candidate. We can, however, share their views with you. The answers are coming back, and we're publishing them here on the SVBC website.
Here are the responses from Shelly Masur, candidate for San Mateo County District 4 Supervisor:
- Where do you see bikes fitting into the overall transportation plan?
I see bikes as a viable transportation choice if supported by a complete public transportation infrastructure that connects to bike trails and lanes. In considering further this county's approach to helping people get to and from work and school as well as running errands and leisure activities, I believe including bikes should be an important piece. As we improve our public transportation infrastructure, make it safer to bike by providing consistency and using best practices in bike lanes, and offer last mile alternatives, like bike checkout stations as Redwood City is doing we will make it more possible for people to use their bikes as a mode of transportation.
- If elected, what are three things that you would do to improve cycling opportunities for your constituents?
As a supervisor, I would be happy to play a role in helping to secure funding and by taking a leadership role in efforts to collaborate and coordinate among the various agencies and other groups working on connecting walking and biking trails across the county. The County has already obtained and will continue to seek grant funding to extend trails that comprise segments of the Coastal Trail. I will continue to ensure that all county properties that could play a role in the continuity of these trails will be utilized as well as possible.
Our trails are a wonderful asset to our county. I personally appreciate the access to trails across the county and regularly take advantage of them. A system that connects our trails and makes it possible to access and travel them safely could greatly increase the ability of people to bike to work and other locations. It will be important to examine the environmental impact of the construction, but I look forward to better connected trails across the county.
In addition, I recently participated in a Bike to Work day to better appreciate improvements that have been made and where upgrades are still needed. To that end, the County can work to make county roads more bike friendly through development of bike lanes, that are well articulated with the contiguous cities. For example, riding down Middlefield Road in the county area, there are no markings for bikes. But upon entering Redwood City, the right lane includes sharrows. This creates confusion for both bicyclists and cars and makes for unsafe situations. The County can be a leader in this area both by better marking and improving options for bicyclists and by coordinating with cities that abut county roads and I would be willing to address this as a supervisor.
Finally, the county can serve as a continued partner in the Grand Boulevard Initiative and a leader in the Healthy Community Forums to address the needs of cyclists in these discussions and plans. I have participated in many of these and currently sit on the GBI Community Leaders Roundtable. I am looking forward to continuing in this work as a County Supervisor.
- What have you done or worked on in the past that shows your record of being involved in bicycle, active transportation, or road/trail improvement campaigns?
My background is in public health and I bring this perspective to my work as a school board member, founder of, and board representative to the District's Wellness Committee, and member of Redwood City 2020, a collaborative of the City, the County and the School District. Therefore, I have worked to support Safe Routes to Schools and walking school buses in our district. Redwood City 2020 has recently secured Safe Routes to Schools funding that we are working to leverage through further collaboration. As a district, we have also ensured proper training of crossing guards so it is safer for children to walk and bike to school.
As indicated above, I also sit on the Community Leaders Roundtable of the Grand Boulevard Initiative which includes cycling as a consideration in the plans and outreach.
- With dedicated funding for cycling projects under fire on the regional, state, and federal level, what would you do to keep those dollars flowing?
As indicated above, I would be willing to take a leadership role in securing funding for trail and transit improvements. In addition, County Supervisors can serve as advocates at the state and federal level to ensure that such funding continues. I have been an effective advocate for public education on both levels and would continue to work in this way for issues, like cycling projects, that will contribute to improved quality of life for our county.
- A few years ago, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) adopted a Complete Streets policy which requires that all MTC funded projects consider the needs of all potential users including cyclists. Furthermore, local jurisdictions have been requested to pass a similar ordinance directing their public works departments to consider the needs of all users of the road. As a hypothetical example, the County applies to MTC to improve an existing 4-lane road. However, to comply with Complete Streets, a 4-lane county road could be reduced to 3 lanes to install bike lanes to accommodate existing bicycle traffic. Do you support the Complete Streets concept and would you vote for such an ordinance if elected Supervisor?
I do support the Complete Streets concept and in general anticipate that I would support such an ordinance. It will be a part of the North Fair Oaks plan thus creating better connections between county maintained roads and Redwood City roads.