2014 District 2 Candidate Mark Farrell

Candidate Facts

D2-Farrell Name: Mark Farrell
Campaign Website: www.markfarrell.com

Candidate Questionnaire

Last month, all official candidates for the Board of Supervisors were contacted and given the opportunity to answer our Candidate Questionnaire. Any candidate responses edited for length and clarity have been marked as such.

1. Do you ride a bicycle in the city?


2. If yes, for what purpose(s) and how often? How do you most commonly commute to work?

I ride my bike recreationally with my children on the weekends, through the park and on streets that have a dedicated bike lane. I often take Muni to work, but since I have children I sometimes have to drive to get them to school and activities before work. More recently, I have been walking to and from work, which is about a 3 mile commute each way.

3. The City has established a goal to at least double the number of bike trips in the next 4 years. Do you support this goal?


If yes, what would you do as Supervisor to help the city realize it?

I have and will continue to support a comprehensive transportation plan that is not a zero-sum game in San Francisco. Encouraging more bike usage is essential to realize environmental and health benefits for the entire City. I support the San Francisco Bicycle Plan–creating a network of bicycle boulevards with clearly marked and safe routes throughout the City, along with two efficient and expeditious bike lanes stretching across the City.

4. After a tragic 2013 for people biking and walking, including 25 fatal collisions, City leaders have embraced Vision Zero, which aims to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries to zero in the next 10 years through better engineering, education, and enforcement. This policy has now been adopted by the Board of Supervisors, the Mayor and many key agencies, such as the SFMTA & the Police Dept. Do you support Vision Zero?


As Supervisor will you prioritize funding and policy decisions based on Vision Zero, or safety-first?

Prioritize Vision Zero and Safety First

5. It has been shown that the most effective way to boost the number of people bicycling and improve the bicycling experience is to designate dedicated space through physically separated bikeways and traffic-calmed streets. The SF Bicycle Coalition has set out its Connecting the City initiative, an ambitious but achievable vision of 100 miles of crosstown bikeways that are comfortable and inviting for people of all ages and abilities, connecting neighborhoods and helping locals and visitors to shop, work, and play more often by bike. Reconfiguring our streets to include crosstown bikeways and other “low stress” bike routes will draw concern from some residents who are skeptical of this next-generation infrastructure and who oppose re-programming any existing on-street car parking or traffic lanes for safer biking.

Do you support the creation of continuous crosstown bikeways — Connecting the City — even acknowledging that there will be some public pushback to inevitable changes?


6. The SF Bicycle Coalition has advocated for the City to increase its spending on bicycling improvements, so that it constitutes 8% of its transportation budget, given that the SFMTA’s Strategic Plan goal aims to reach 8% of trips by bike by 2018. In its most recent budget cycle, the SFMTA only increased the funding for bicycling from 1% to 2%. As Supervisor, will you support leveling the playing field by ensuring that the level of funding for bicyclists at least matches the proportion of San Franciscans that bike?

I believe we need to drastically increase the current levels, but I would need to see more details before committing to a specific percentage.

7. The affordability of transportation is a growing concern for many San Franciscans. For most SF residents, particularly low-income families, transportation is the second-highest cost of living after housing. As Supervisor, how will you promote bicycling as an affordable transportation choice, particularly for among households overburdened by expenses?

While I fully support encouraging more bike rides where feasible, many families face realities that demand other forms of transportation as well. In order to keep families in San Francisco, I believe we need to focus on a comprehensive transportation plan that addresses the needs of all San Franciscans. Additionally, I will actively promote opportunities for biking to these specific communities and households.

8. Market Street is San Francisco’s most well-traveled corridor, with a quarter of a million daily transit vehicle boardings on or under it each weekday and more daily bike trips than almost any other street in the United States. The City is working on a Better Market Street plan that calls for limiting private vehicle thru-traffic, creating a continuous, physically separated bikeway the full length of Market Street, while also enhancing better transit and pedestrian travel. Would you support this plan?


9. This Fall, voters will have the chance to support the Transportation and Road Safety Bond. This bond supports $500 million of work to improve the city’s transit systems and make our roadways safer for all users, with a focus on improved bikeways and pedestrian safety. Will you publicly support and actively campaign for this measure?

Yes [response truncated]

10. Also this Fall, voters will be presented with a ballot measure called Policy Regarding Transportation Priorities Declaration of Policy or “Transportation Balance”, which aims to weaken San Francisco’s long-time Transit-First policy, and send more of our City’s scarce resources to further subsidize parking to the detriment of other, well-established priorities, including transit and the safety of people walking and biking. Will you support Transit-First and Vision Zero by publicly and actively opposing the Policy Regarding Transportation Priorities Declaration?

I will not endorse the “Transportation Balance”.

11. In 2016, San Franciscans will be asked to restore the Vehicle License Fee to 2% to provide an ongoing, progressive source of funding for transportation priorities in San Francisco, including safer walking and biking conditions and improved transit. Do you endorse this revenue source?

It depends on the final proposal. [response truncated]

If yes, will you also support bridge-funding for the transportation funding gap until this funding measure is active?

Yes, but depends on the specific proposal.

12. San Francisco has recently joined a growing list of major cities with sophisticated bike sharing programs. To succeed, this program will require significant expansion to neighborhoods across the city, which will require additional funding and public space for the bike-sharing station. Do you commit to seek and secure funding and space to expand this cost-effective, innovative new transportation system to more San Francisco neighborhoods?


13. Double-parking in bike lanes is a major safety problem in San Francisco, causing people biking to have to swerve dangerously. Will you prioritize a significant increase in the SF Police Department’s and the SFMTA’s Parking Control Officers’ enforcement of this problem?


14. Concerns around police enforcement of safe driving laws in San Francisco is high. 1,700 people have signed a petition to urge George Gascon to prosecute the driver in the Amelie Le Moullac bike fatality case. Do you support increased enforcement and accountability for all road users focused around the five most dangerous driving actions (speeding, failing to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk, improperly making a right hand turn, running red lights, and failing to stop at stop signs)?


15. Have you championed or strongly supported any other initiatives that are in line with the SF Bicycle Coalition’s mission of promoting bicycling for everyday transportation?

One of the key issues of my campaign has been to improve the quality of life throughout my District for business owners, residents and visitors alike– and that includes promoting biking opportunities and improvements. I also just updated an outdated housing code law that allows individuals to store bikes and other personal items in their individual garage, which technically was not allowed before.

District-Specific Questions

1. Major gaps exist in the Waterfront bike network, particularly from Aquatic Park to Crissy Field. Do you support establishing safe, continuous bikeways that are inviting for people of all ages and backgrounds along the Bay Trail route in District 2?


2. A major gap connection in the San Francisco Bay Trail is a three-block length of the path along Marina Boulevard from Scott to Baker Streets. Do you support creating an open and safe path for the many visitors to this popular corridor, even though it will entail some parking re-positioning for members of the adjoining yacht club?


3. Polk Street is a critical North-South connector for people of all ages aiming to ride between the central neighborhoods and the waterfront and downtown, as well as the city’s officially recommended route. Unfortunately, it is also a high-injury corridor both for people biking and walking, with an injury occurring roughly every twice a week.  Will you support physically protected bikeways and pedestrian safety improvements on Polk Street?


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