San Jose Candidates Campaign at Bike Party, Bike Life Festival

Don Gagliardi and Sam Liccardo at Sep 19 2014 San Jose Bike Party
District 3 City Council candidate Don Gagliardi (left) and Mayoral candidate Sam Liccardo (right) get ready to roll at San Jose Bike Party on September 19. Photo: Andrew Boone

Mayoral candidate Sam Liccardo and District 3 City Council candidates Don Gagliardi and Raul Peralez all sought to demonstrate their support for improving cycling conditions in the state’s third-largest city at both September’s San Jose Bike Party and the inaugural San Jose Bike Life Festival.

Gagliardi and Liccardo both spoke briefly to the over 2,000 bicyclists gathered in the ample County Government Center parking lot ahead of San Jose Bike Party’s 18-mile “Science Ride 2” on September 19. Both candidates presented themselves as leaders who have defended, and will continue to promote, innovative bicycle infrastructure like the green buffered bike lanes installed on Hedding Street in June 2013, along the ride’s route.

“I’m the candidate who doesn’t just talk the talk, I ride the ride,” said Don Gagliardi, who says that he often talks up better bike infrastructure, even to voters who complain to him that new buffered bike lanes have slowed car traffic downtown. “I tell them: I’m sorry, I’m for the bike lanes because that’s our future.”

“There’s a lot of antipathy out there for bicyclists,” continued Gagliardi. “The way we meet that, is bicyclists get political consciousness… and you vote for candidates that support you, and that ride the ride.”

Mayoral candidate Sam Liccardo pointed to Hedding Street’s buffered bike lanes, which the San Jose Mercury News has repeatedly criticized since their installation last year.

Hedding Street San Jose Buffered Bike Lanes
A road diet created 1.5 miles of buffered bike lanes on Hedding Street in June 2013. Photo: Colin Heyne, Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition

“There are lots of people who criticize [Hedding Street’s] bike lanes, including my opponent, Dave Cortese,” said City Council member and Mayoral candidate Sam Liccardo. “I hope you’ll support those elected officials who have the courage to push for more bike lanes, more trails… more bike infrastructure.”

In a January 15 KLIV radio interview (MP3), Cortese said about Hedding Street that “taking away lanes in a city that’s already heavily congested, in terms of traffic impact, is generally not a good idea,” angering traffic safety advocates who say that such projects will reduce collisions and injuries on San Jose’s many wide arterial streets. Cortese later clarified via email that he supports lane reduction projects to improve safety, but that “traffic engineers need to go back and figure out what’s going on with the congestion on Hedding Street.”

A new “Bike Life Festival,” organized to “bring together all our friends in the bicycle world to give birth to a platform that will showcase bicycles as an accumulative culture,” drew about 40 cycling-related local businesses, cycling clubs, and non-profit groups to Saint James Park in downtown San Jose on September 21.

Raul Peralez, running against Don Gagliardi for San Jose’s District 3 City Council seat, set up a booth at the festival to introduce himself to voters.

“We engaged in conversations about buffered bike lanes and the [proposed] sidewalk bike ban, public safety, and homelessness in San Jose,” said Peralez, who declared that he would try going car-free for a month if elected.

Raul Peralez at San Jose Bike Life Festival Sep 21 2014
District 3 City Council candidate Raul Peralez (right) speaks with a constituent at San Jose’s Bike Life Festival on September 21. Photo: Andrew Boone

“As council member, I will highlight the benefits of cycling by dedicating one month of my first year to using only public transportation and bicycling,” stated Peralez. “In addition, I’ll propose that the city partner with the bike community and host bicycle safety classes, so that we can educate and encourage residents to not only ride their bikes, but how to do so safely.”

San Jose’s City Council is elected from ten single-member districts, with elections for the odd-numbered districts and the city’s Mayor taking place this year. Magdalena Carrasco (District 5) and Donald Rocha (District 9) already won their seats on the council in the June 3 primary election by winning more than 50 percent of the votes cast, while Mayor and City Council members for Districts 1, 3, and 7  will be determined by voters on November 4. The deadline to register to vote is October 20.

  • That’s a bold promise by Peralez. Little known fact: his campaign’s field director, Matt Savage, is recently moved to San Jose from Portland OR and really knows his stuff regarding transportation and planning issues.

  • Gezellig

    Total side note: I like that shade of green on Hedding (at least I think it’s green–I’m colorblind). It seems less common than the Kermit-the-Frog green which is a bit more vomitty.

    As with many a “buffered” lane, though, it’s not clear to my why it couldn’t just be a protected cycletrack. Took a look at Cyclelicious’s awesome photostream and found this one of Hedding:

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3708/9320877277_0d61610d78_m.jpg

    Is there any particular reason it couldn’t have been like this?

    http://la.streetsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/05/Temple-City-10-14May18.jpg

    (Rosemead Blvd in Temple City, CA)

    http://revitalizingamericascities.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/bikeway-detail2.jpg?w=300&h=224

    (Cully Blvd in Portland, OR)

  • Idrather Bebikin

    Raul makes some interesting points and I welcome his example!
    Sam once again criticizes Dave Cortese – repeating the fallacy that Dave is against those bike lanes. The fact that Sam thinks constructive criticism is a bad thing says more about Sam then it does about Dave.

    Dave’s comments made sense – make sure the bike lanes and the traffic lights and everything associated with that project (or any project by extension) should be executed properly so at least we’re not completely pissing off all of the motorists due to very long (multiple waits) at each traffic light.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

San Jose Candidates Seek Bike Votes in Tomorrow’s Primaries

|
Tomorrow, San Jose voters will choose which of the candidates running for mayor, or for five of the city’s ten council seats, will proceed to run-off elections in November. San Jose’s growing bicycle advocacy community has put the spotlight on which candidates have made commitments to a bike-friendlier city, and many candidates have responded by courting the […]

San Jose Sets Out to Build the Bay Area’s Most Bike-Friendly Downtown

|
San Jose — which wants its central district to become the urban center of Silicon Valley — hopes to build the Bay Area’s most bike-friendly downtown, where pedaling to work, school or the farmers market is “safe, convenient and commonplace” for people of all ages. The vision includes Long Beach-inspired bicycle-friendly business districts, where merchants would […]

Sidewalk Cycling Ban Again Proposed for Downtown San Jose

|
San Jose Department of Transportation (SJDOT) officials announced at a community meeting Wednesday evening that a downtown sidewalk cycling ban is again under consideration, explaining that the “Walk Your Bike” signs and banners installed in December 2013 had largely failed to convince bicyclists to ride in the streets rather than on sidewalks. Three members of […]

Committee Punts San Jose Sidewalk Cycling Ban to City Council

|
After hearing over an hour of public comments on Monday afternoon both strongly supporting and opposing a ban on cycling on sidewalks in downtown San Jose, the city’s Transportation and Environment Committee chose not to recommend to the City Council any ordinance that would restrict sidewalk cycling. Seniors, speaking in favor of banning cycling on […]

Bay Area Set for Its Biggest Bike to Work Day Yet

|
Bicycle coalitions around the Bay Area will be rolling out the red carpet for bike commuters for the 17th annual Bike to Work Day (BTWD) this Thursday with energizer stations, commuter convoys, after parties, and other fun events. As cycling continues to grow throughout the Bay Area, bicycle advocates and city officials are expecting it to be the biggest […]