Davis Bicycles! and the Davis Bike Collective hosted Davis City Council candidates last week at Bike Forth downtown to discuss their views on transportation in Davis.
Candidates had five minutes to introduce themselves. Afterward, they were asked two questions by the sponsors, followed by questions from the audience.
The candidates first discussed what policy changes candidates they would put in place to prepare Davis for the long-term effects of climate change and peak oil.
Joe Krovoza, the first candidate to respond, said the answer lies in public transportation.
“Unitrans stands for university transit,” Krovoza said. “I think Unitrans should stand for unifying the modes of transit.”
Other candidates agreed.
“The good thing about the gas shortage that we had a couple years ago is that we have a taste of what’s coming,” Rochelle Swanson said. “I think some people learned the hard way that Unitrans doesn’t go during finals very well and over the summer it’s reduced quite a bit. So I think Unitrans is a good start for us to talk about how we get to the next step in making it more user-friendly.”
Next, candidates were asked what is the boldest thing they would do during their term to encourage more and safer bicycling.
Jon Li, who arrived just before the question was asked, said there should be restrictions on driving.
“This is right off the top of my head, just reacting to the question: no car driving one day a week,” he said.
For Sydney Vergis, the issue was safety.
“In Europe they’ve had wonderful success moving the stop line at four way intersections back for cars, allowing the bikes to actually go in front of them,” Vergis said. “We certainly don’t have to recreate the wheel with regards to some of these roadway improvements. All we have to do is have the political forces to do it.”
Daniel Watts said he is open to suggestions if they are feasible.
“One thing that I can promise I would do in my one term that you’re electing me for is pass a common sense municipal ordinance banning leaf blowers on bike paths,” Watts said. “It may not seem that bold, but it’s one thing I can promise.”
Both Vergis and Krovoza said they support the Fifth Street redesign, a project that was unanimously approved by City Council at the end of April. The redesign would condense Fifth Street from four lanes to two lanes, adding room for bike lanes and parking.
Swanson said the redesign costs too much money to be done without absolute certainty it will work. Watts supported the idea on a trial basis.
Candidate responses to eight other of the sponsor’s transportation related questions can be found online at davisbicycles.org.
The Davis City Council elections will be held on June 8. There are five candidates competing for two open seats.
BECKY PETERSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.