Bike Santa Cruz County Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) CA nonprofit that promotes bicycling through advocacy, education, and community building. Our goal is for people of all ages and abilities to feel comfortable using their bikes for daily trips.
The following questionnaire was sent to all candidates running in the District 3 and District 4 Supervisorial June 2018 race. The only candidates to respond were Steve Pleich and Ryan Coonerty from District 3 and Felipe Hernandez and Greg Caput from District 4. The candidate's answers are published below. The answers below have not been altered.
Bike Santa Cruz County Education Fund does not endorse or oppose any of the candidates for public office, and a candidates’ fitness for office should be judged on a variety of qualifications that go beyond their responses to the questions contained in the following questionnaire.
#1: Do you currently ride a bicycle or use any other form of active or public transportation?
Ryan Coonerty (RC): I ride a bike and I frequently walk to get to my destination.
Steve Pleich (SP): Yes. I have been a Metro Transit bus rider as my sole means of transportation for the last 6 years.
Greg Caput (GC): As of late, I have ridden the bus much less. However, I am a regular bus rider and have made it my main mode of transportation to and from the Santa Cruz for Board meetings. Currently, I have been raising young newborns and have ridden less. However, I am an advocate of riding the bus and using bicycles. Lastly, I have fostered bike riding for all of my children.
Felipe Hernandez (FH): Yes, I ride bike to City Hall. Walk our downtown during mid day.
#2: What specific accomplishments and qualifications demonstrate your capacity to improve conditions for cyclists in your district?
RC: I’m proud to have worked on many projects that improve conditions for cyclists. I’ve been a strong advocate for the North Coast Rail Trail, helping to secure grant funding for the segment from Wilder Ranch to Panther Beach and securing private funding to help fund the design work from Panther beach to Davenport.
I approached Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird to secure funding to widen the San Lorenzo Trestle path which is currently so narrow it creates conflicts and safety issues for cyclists and pedestrians.
I’ve pushed for the completion of the Twin Lakes Beachfront project which will complete a portion of the California Coastal Trail and significantly improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians in the Harbor/Twin Lakes area.
I’m supporting efforts to secure funding for the segment of the rail trail from the San Lorenzo River to 17th Avenue in Live Oak.
I supported Measure D which provides signficant funding for bike projects.
As a member of the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission I have support increased funding for Bike to Work Day and the educational programs.
During my time on the Santa Cruz City Council, I was a strong advocate for the Arana Gulch path, for the acquisition of the rail right of way, and improvements to the levee bike path among other bike infrastructure efforts.
SP: I have for several years lived along the main university bike routes running through Delaware Avenue, the Circles and High Street. It has been my observation that cyclists in Santa Cruz “share the road” and could do more safely and in greater numbers if the county made a serious commitment to increased dedicated bike lanes and paths.
GC: I have always been an advocate for safe routes to schools. When I was a child, it was common to walk to school or ride your bike to school. Therefore, I have advocated for any measures that would lead to that end. Improved striping and bike lanes have been an ongoing issue and I have voted in the affirmative any time they were proposed.
FH: Created and hosted Community Bike Rides with intergenerational non-traditional riders in Watsonville as a fun and social activity and to promote safer bike and pedestrian infrastructure. Lobbied and promoted for the City to adopt Complete Street and Vision Zero programs. Working toward creating a BMX Pump Track for South County youth to experience for the first time.
#3: Planning is underway for segments of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail, a multi-use path along the rail line from Davenport to Pajaro. How do you envision building the sections in your district as soon as possible?
RC: As I mentioned above, I’ve been actively working on moving the North Coast Rail Trail forward. An EIR for the segment from Wilder Ranch to Panther Beach is currently underway and I’m looking forward to bringing the project to fruition. I will continue to advocate for construction funding to complete the trail to Davenport.
I helped secure the funding to improve safety and access on the San Lorenzo Trestle path, a project which is in final design at this time, and I am also supporting efforts to obtain grant funding for the trail segment from the San Lorenzo River to 17th Avenue.
I have supported the City of Santa Cruz in moving forward on segments in the City, including contacting New Leaf Market in an effort to resolve issues.
SP: I have read the Master Plan and agree with my friends at Ecology Action that the plan should go forward as quickly and cost effectively as possible. As your Supervisor, the realization of this plan will be a top priority.
GC: Currently, the Regional Transportation Commission agreed on a plan that moves from north to south. There is however a plan to improve a trail near Lee road. The current trail proposed could be linked to the City trail system and thus be used in the near future.
FH: I would like to begin the Trail Segments 18 and 19 of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic as soon as funding and vote is approved. I support and would vote for both Rail and Trail components as well.
#4: In many cases, adding new facilities for people on bikes requires parking removal. How would you balance the concerns of people on bikes with those of who oppose removal of parking spaces?
RC: I would support a robust public process in which an honest dialogue could take place in an effort to arrive at a successful resolution.
SP: If the residents of Santa Cruz could accept the idea that fewer parking spaces will directly contribute to fewer cars, less green house gas AND more residents using bicycles as their primary means of transportation, I think opposition to removal of parking spaces would be reduced.
GC: The removal of parking spaces would need to coincide with whatever alternative strategy of alternate transportation. We would need to implement multimodal strategies first before we remove parking. We need a feasible plan. I agree that we need to implement more bicycle friendly strategies.
FH: I would host community meetings with those that oppose to discuss transportation equity issues. Let them know that both are equally important but let them know we have minimal bike racks in comparison to parking. It is fair if we make way for bike racks or bike lockers.
#5: Implementing innovative bike treatments like protected bikeways has been shown to dramatically increase bike ridership in cities across the U.S. Do you consider these facilities to be of value? If so, how would you propose to implement them in your district?
RC: Innovative bike treatments such as protected bikeways are definitely valuable and I’d be happy to discuss the highest priority locations for bike treatments
SP: Yes. Protected bikeways not only will provide additional safety for cyclists, they can be the gateway to a full network of bike friendly routes. Additionally, the idea of using landscaping for separation and safety would enhance the natural environment of our community. The topography of Santa Cruz lends itself uniquely to a system of protected bikeways along major transportation corridors. This is something I believe I can get done for my district.
GC: I agree that these innovative bicycle treatments are effective. I believe that we would need to examine each available opportunity for such treatments and look for funding that can implement this strategy into an actual action plan.
FH: In our City/District, protected bike lanes are greatly needed. I am actively asking for grants for safe bike & pedestrian infrastructure funding and encouraging staff and admin to submit the grants. Working to make it a priority, this year was a breakthrough year in that we managed to incorporate bike & pedestrian safe infrastructure as part of our City’s 2 Year Strategic Plan.
#6: Santa Cruz County is consistently ranked #1 or #2 in the state for cyclist injuries and fatalities. What steps would you take to improve safety for people on bikes?
RC: It is unacceptable that our county has such a high rate of cyclist injuries and fatalities. I will continue to support construction of the rail trail, support bike safety/bike education efforts, and support the implementation of bike treatments.
SP: The most dangerous area of our city for cyclists is surely the Mission Street corridor. University cyclists use Delaware Avenue as an alterative route to avoid the dangers of Mission Street but that, in turn, creates more bike traffic and potential danger. Mission is a state route, as I’m sure the BSCC folks know, so it is difficult to improve or enhance bike safety along that route. The King Street corridor needs to be completely revisioned with an eye toward protected bike paths along its entirety. Other areas need our attention as well but addressing the Mission/King area might bump us down the list, to say nothing of enhancing safety and saving lives; which should be our mission.
GC: In particular, there was a phenomenon of high school student riding their bikes without breaks. This lead to many students wrecking their bikes and being injured. Although this phenomenon has now disappeared, it highlights that there is need for education on bike safety and driver safety in traffic heavy areas. Lastly, I support the County’s effort for traffic safety and invite any effective, new and innovative measures.
FH: In addition, to everything mentioned before, we are in the process of creating a Vision Zero plan to address this matter as well. It would be a step in the right direction for the County of Santa Cruz to draft a Vision Zero resolution as well. With any State funds and/or Measure D funds we need to make sure that any road improvements incorporate the safest bike and pedestrian standards.
#7: How do you plan to create new safe routes to schools in your district?
RC: The schools in the unincorporated portion of the 3rd district are Pacific Elementary in Davenport and Bonny Doon Elementary. In an effort to reduce vehicle speeds and increase safety around Bonny Doon Elementary, the County was able to install speed feedback signs near Bonny Doon School. For Pacific School, as part of the Cement Plant Re-use Process, I’m supporting a path that students (and community members) could take from New Town to Old Town. I am also urging Caltrans to implement a safe crossing of Highway 1 in Davenport.
SP: Again, in my view, safe routes need to be protected routes. Our families need to believe that their children can bike to school safely. We have to do everything we can to affirm their belief in that.
GC: Consistently identify needs, and advocate staff to apply for grants to meet these needs. In addition, consult the community as to what is needed. Lastly, make concerted effort to consult with bicycle groups to address efforts.
FH: As Supervisor we want to continue to have our City/County Civil Engineers and Planning Departments work closely with the School District. We want to continue participation in the collaborative work with CTSC and SCBPWG on these issues. And continue to promote Safe Routes in our City’s Intergovernmental Committee. I want to create an Intergovernmental Committee at the County level to a address important matters such as Safe Routes to Schools as well.
#8: What else would you like our members to know about you? Please include how your campaign can be contacted, such as your website, email, telephone, Facebook, or other methods you want to share.
RC: I’m committed to Santa Cruz and I’d be honored to have Bike Santa Cruz County’s support.
Steve Pleich, P.O. Box 7186, Santa Cruz, CA 95061
Web Site: pleichforsupervisor.com
FH: As your next Supervisor we have the opportunity to work on equitable & sustainable transportation and safe roads for all. Thank you!
Campaign contributions can be made to:
Felipe Hernandez for Supervisor
120 Ford Street
Watsonville, CA 95076
FB: Felipe Hernandez for Supervisor