SFBC Releases Mayoral Candidates Q&A: Who Will Be the Favorites?

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has posted the responses from its questionnaires submitted to the mayoral candidates, as the organization’s 12,000 members begin voting on who to endorse in the November 8th election. Almost all of the sixteen candidates responded, with the exception of Michela Alioto-Pier and Jeff Adachi.

From the SFBC’s Bike Vote 2011 page:

The mayor’s race is a critical concern for better everyday biking — the next mayor will have the opportunity to lead San Francisco through four years (or more) of dramatic improvements to the bicycling environment, from completing comfortable crosstown bikeways for people of all ages and abilities to get around in safety and comfort (our Connecting the City initiative), to expanding Safe Routes to School to every school in the city, to growing a robust bike sharing system to allow anyone to make a convenient short trip by bike whenever they need to.

The 23 questions ranged from “How Often Do You Ride a Bicycle?” to Market Street to Connecting the City to reforming the California Environmental Quality Act. Check out the full list of responses here. Ranked-choice voting means SFBC members get to endorse their top 3 candidates.

What do you think? Who gave the best answers, and who is your favorite at this point?

  • A lot of the questions are softballs.

    I want to see their positions on Cesar Chavez East of 101.

  • mikesonn

    Like Ed Lee, their position on CC east of 101 can be bought for a price when needed.

  • Anonymous

    The answer are all uncontroversial. Every candidate loves Sunday Street and such…

    I was to see ideas on more substantial issues, implementation of TEP, bus stop consolidation. creating BRT, car free Market St, charging evening street parking base on usage, etc.

  • EL

    These were easy questions.  A far better question would have been:

    “The construction of a protected bike lane on Fell Street would require the loss of one traffic lane, which is sure to increase traffic congestion in the area and possibly spillover to surrounding streets.  Given the popularity of this Wiggle connection, do you support the protected bike lane at this location, despite this impact?”

  • There are two bike-friendly candidates (Avalos and Chiu), but I think Avalos included a lot more specifics and took much firmer stands. Several candidates supported increasing the VLF, but Avalos was the strongest on new bike/transit funding:
    – Expand Infrastructure Impact Fees citywide
    – Establish off-street commercial parking fees on the 160,000 off-street parking spaces at businesses, to mitigate impacts.
    – Work to pass November’s Prop G to renew the current half-cent sales tax, and use the funds to improve bike safety programs.
    – Other options include congestion pricing, vehicle license fees, and a carbon tax.

    That’s a lot stronger than Chiu’s funding answer: “we should explore whether our residential parking program adequately captures the real cost of street parking; continue to expand SFpark’s use of technology to optimize pricing strategies; identify bond monies and operating funds for bicycle projects; and create a dedicate fund for bicycle infrastructure improvements.”

  • More specifics I liked from Avalos’s answers:

    – Improve transit access including BART during rush hour
    – Foster bike shops in underserved neighborhoods.
    – 25 miles (of bike lanes) is too few. I will support the serious investment necessary to build a complete network, including for example two-way cycle tracks on each side of San Jose Ave
    – It is time to realize a car-free Market Street, with a continuous, separated bikeway.
    – I will work to reverse the MTA’s policy of not installing bike parking in front of residential buildings.

    I tried to find specifics in Chiu’s answers, but only found these two somewhat interesting tidbits:
    – We should go even further by adding secure bicycle parking across the city. I have advocated for increasing secure bicycle parking in garages and will expand this program as [response truncated]
    – The cost of widening a sidewalk or adding a bulb-out is far too expensive right now because of utility relocation costs and other expenses, as well as lack of coordination between city agencies.

  • +100000

  • Anonymous

    Don’t forget we are electing a mayor, not a bike department head. He will have to balance the budget, promote job growth and economic development, oversees the police, fire, DPW, health, planning departments, etc, etc. Even transportation issues are a lot bigger than just biking issue. SFBC historically has been too narrowly focus on bike interest alone. 

  • Nate Miller

    Avalos is the only one to say that he supports a car free market st.

  • Anonymous

    Agree … and disagree.

    Agree that it’s true we aren’t electing a bike department head and that
    people need to consider manner other things than just a potential
    candidate’s support for bicycling.

    But disagree because this *is* the appropriate forum to talk about this
    one issue (bicycling). Nobody is saying that this is the only issue that
    one should use to decide how to decide for which candidate they will
    vote. But this is *the* place to talk about this one issue of many.

    And confused by your last statement: “SFBC historically has been too
    narrowly focus on bike interest alone.” So you mean that the *bike*
    coalition is too narrowly focused on the very thing that is at the
    essence of their existence? That’s like telling the American Medical
    Association they are too narrowly focused on medicine. So yeah, I
    disagree that they are *too* narrowly focused on bicycling; I think they
    are exactly-the-right-amount focused on bicycling (which is completely

  • Anonymous

    Good question, the answer to which I think would indeed be very telling about the candidates true stances. But I would rephrase it to say “which could possibly increase traffic congestion”, since it’s not clear it will, especially in the long-term.

  • Anonymous

    Yep. Questions on specific issues which are at the forefront of improving bicycle infrastructure in SF, like yours and EL’s up above, would give us much better insight into their stances, as these are the controversial issues they are going to have to deal with. It’s really easy to say your all for bikes, but it’s another to start giving details on how you would manifest that idea.

  • Masonic will be the death…


    S F B C stands for San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. The organization exists to further bicycling interests in this city. Just like AAA exists to further auto dependency and automobile interests.

    Why am I not surprised that the regular poster who never sees anything wrong with the way cyclists are treated in this city, except that we somehow have too much clout wouldn’t understand why the SFBC exists.

    I am not a single issue voter. But after being nearly side swiped again tonight heading north on San Jose Ave before the Rousseau st exit due to a line of cars blocking the bike lane and forcing me out into traffic, yeh I can say bike advocacy is near the top of my list.

    Mayors may not be able to pick up a paint truck and put lanes in themselves, but they can focus the offices attention on them and “persuade” action.

    Tung how about filling us in on which candidates are the least bike friendly and have earned your vote so I know which ones to leave off my top three.

  • Masonic will be the death…

    Whichever candidate shows that they will work to improve bike infrastructure and work to prevent the abuse of bike lanes by auto drivers who would rather put a cyclist at addition risk to keep there beloved pile of metal scratch free has my vote.

    Fix the San Jose Ave bike lane. Maybe San Jose before Rousseau will be my death.

  • Anonymous

    I think it is clear that I am talking about SFBC in the context of mayoral election. SFBC should of course focus on their mission. And their questionnaires are very informative. But when it comes to endorse a mayor, bike issues alone are far too narrow for choosing the right candidate.@Masonic, none of the major candidate come off as bike unfriendly, save Michela Alioto-Pier who doesn’t response at all. Even Leland Yee seems to make the “right” answer to SFBC’s question. I’d say this is also true for Newsom. A lot of good progress has made in his time. This is really a good thing as it tells us that biking concern has been embraced mainstream politicians and general public. The biggest enemy of bicyclists is perhaps some bicyclists themselves. Those red light running cyclists who won’t stop for anything really piss off A LOT OF people.

  • Masonic will be the death…

    Leland Yee? You are joking right?

    This is the guy who blocked red light cameras in San Francisco from his cushy office in Sacramento including at an intersection where a ped had been killed citing an aversion to an “increasing threat of a police state”. Leland Yee also has a nice long history of accepting large contributions from the CAA, and AAA.

    SFBC’s job is to endorse a candidate the organization feels best represents the ideals of the SFBC ie bicycle advocacy. It is your job as a voter to descide if that endorsement is, or what issues are, most important to you.

    The SFBC isn’t the Sierra Club that holds a member vote to see what they should work on next, but maybe that is an org you should join. They love having people pay dues and then vote to hijack their platform for nefarious counterproductive purposes.

  • icarus12

    To Masonic: Here’s an opinion you will not welcome, but which I feel I must say:

    I think you should refrain from criticizing Tung or others as commenters per se and simply debate them on the issues.

    The problem with any blog over time is that it tends to gather the like-minded and scare away the dissenters.  Why?  Because except for a few contrarians and blog-rovers, most people like to discuss issues in a non-confrontational, non in-your-face manner.

    Going after Tung in general, instead of just disagreeing with a particular opinion he holds, makes the blog far less interesting or welcoming.  The same can be said of the way Streetsblog went after a Bay Citizen reporter, Scott James, for reporting on people who opposed the 17th Street bike lanes.

    Readers who aren’t already card carrying advocates will migrate away, if they don’t feel they can debate issues in a civil arena.  The blog then fails at its purpose which is to bring about change.  One can’t change anything preaching to the choir.   Your comments toward Tung and others with whom you disagree would tend to discourage others from posting.

  • Balancing the budget, job growth, economic development. Were these issues that a Gavin Newsom was particularly more adept at than any other Mayor we could have had? In large part those issues are done in tandem (or should be) with the Board of Supervisors and staff.

    But as we see with Cesar Chavez, the Mayor can hold the power to get in the way of critical projects. The more this race goes along, the more I lean towards “Which candidate will get the big bike problems fixed” as a singles issue. None of them will – or would even be capable of – turn SF into a communist state. Sadly I feel that MUNI is a problem too big to fix these days, but I would prefer a Mayor who saw that as the #1 issue in the city. The best thing we can do for the economy of the city is “Get everyone to work 5 minutes faster, reliably, on a daily basis”.

    And I completely disagree that the SFBC is narrowly focused on bicycle issues, they are a leader in pedestrian and transit issues as well. The membership of SFBC spills into WalkSF and… oh wait there is no real transit focused organization (lacking which, the SFBC is really one of the best voices for transit users that actually exists!). 


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