2015 District 3 Candidate Aaron Peskin

Candidate Facts

Name: Aaron Peskin
Campaign Website: aaron2015.com

Candidate Questionnaire

All official candidates 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?

Not as often anymore, but I love bicycling.

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

I mostly walk. I commute to work by foot and rarely use our Prius. I used to be a very avid bike rider and I rode my bicycle across the country from California to North Carolina.

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

Absolutely, yes.

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

Safety is key to increasing the number of overall bike trips. People won’t bike if they don’t feel safe. Out of all the Vision Zero elements, enforcement is something that I will make a top priority for District 3 and the City. Out of the known pedestrian and cyclist deaths that have occurred in the District since I’ve been out office, almost all have occurred along high-injury corridors where motorists have committed one of the… [RESPONSE TRUNCATED]

4. Civic leaders, agencies and departments embraced Vision Zero in 2014, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2024 through engineering, education and enforcement strategies. Do you support Vision Zero?

Absolutely, yes.

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


5. Research has 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 bike lanes 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 bike lanes 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 bike lanes and other “low stress” bike routes will draw concern from some citizens 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 bike lanes — Connecting the City — even acknowledging that there will be some skepticism to inevitable changes?


6. The SF Bicycle Coalition has advocated for the City to increase its spending on bicycling improvements to better reflect the SFMTA’s Strategic Plan goal to reach eight percent of trips by bike by 2018. As Mayor or Supervisor, will you support leveling the playing field for all modes of transportation by ensuring that the level of funding for bicyclists at least matches the proportion of San Franciscans who bike?


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

I will partner with community groups to provide culturally competent outreach to promote bicycling as a vastly less expensive alternative to cars. I will partner with grassroots community organizations that have been leading the Vision Zero Coalition to increase the number of Bike Build events and promote them district-wide. I will step up installation of bike racks, particularly in high-density neighborhood commercial corridors. I will also work to not only expand the city bike-share program… [RESPONSE TRUNCATED]

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 transit and pedestrian travel along the corridor. Would you support this plan?


9. Next Fall, voters will have the chance to support a ballot measure to restore the Vehicle License Free to pre-Schwarzenegger levels and most likely an accompanying Equity Charter Amendment to provide an ongoing, progressive source of funding for transportation priorities in San Francisco, including safer walking and biking conditions and improved transit. Will you publicly support and actively campaign for this measure?


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


10. San Francisco has recently joined a growing list of major cities with sophisticated bike sharing programs. To succeed and bring access closer to many of our residents, this program will require significant expansion to neighborhoods across the city. This will require additional public space and right of way, and may require additional funding to provide low-cost access for low income residents. Do you commit to supporting and, if necessary, securing public funding and right of way to expand this cost-effective, innovative new transportation system to more San Francisco neighborhoods?


11. Double-parking in bike lanes is a major safety problem in San Francisco, often forcing people biking to swerve into dangerous traffic conditions. Will you prioritize a significant increase in the SF Police Department’s and the SFMTA’s Parking Control Officers’ enforcement of this problem?


12. Significant concern exists around police enforcement of safe-driving laws in San Francisco. 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)?


13. 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?

I was the lead advocate for the New Jefferson Street Improvement Project, which created the first pedestrian promenade and “shared street” in San Francisco, which encourages a mix of transportation modes, including bicycles, and forces cars to slow down, making cycling safer. I’ve promoted and participated in Bike to Work Day for all of the years I was a Supervisor, and in the face of great opposition, I voted to implement the San Francisco Bicycle Plan.

District-Specific Questions

 1. Polk Street is one of the most important commercial corridors in District 3 and a critical bicycle route for thousands of people biking from Aquatic Park to City Hall. The recent approval of the Polk Street Streetscape Project and the accompanying SFMTA Board amendment opens the opportunity to truly transform Polk Street into a safe and vibrant corridor from McAllister to Union within the next four years. Do you commit to supporting continuous, protected bike lanes on the High-Injury Corridor segments of Polk Street when the Polk Streetscape Project is next reviewed, bringing us closer to Vision Zero?


If yes, how will you prioritize public safety during this process?

I was disappointed by how contentious the Polk Street process became. It is my hope that when the first bicycle safety improvements – enhanced with pedestrian improvements – are in the ground that residents, merchants, commuters and visitors alike will see the benefits and be supportive of continued improvements. It’s one of the most dangerous corridors in the City, and isn’t helped by the crush of TNC’s double-parked along this corridor.

 2. With a rapidly growing population, increasing transit connectivity needs, and general increased use by people walking and biking along our Waterfront, do you support a continuous, physically protected bike lane along the Embarcadero to improve the safety and comfort of biking and walking from Fisherman’s Wharf to AT&T Park, in line with the Embarcadero Enhancement Project led by the SFMTA and Port of San Francisco?


If yes, what are your priorities for moving people along the Embarcadero?

My initial priority for moving people along the Embarcadero is to finish the bike lane painting on Jefferson Street’s pedestrian promenade and “shared street,” a project for which I was the lead advocate, and which has improved pedestrian and bicyclist safety. I will also prioritize additional funding for SFMTA to expand the F line, which is in high demand at all times, and is often too full to accommodate demand.

 3. Recognizing Chinatown as one of the densest neighborhoods in San Francisco with some of the most walking-, biking- and transit-dependent residents, describe your plans for safer streets in Chinatown.

I pushed for the installation of scramble signals on Stockton Street in Chinatown when I was first elected to the Board of Supervisors 15 years ago. With the highest density of non-car owning seniors in the City, Chinatown residents are constantly at risk from cars. In conjunction with Chinatown TRIP, I will work to implement recommendations from the Chinatown Neighborhood Transportation Plan (CNTP) such as signal scrambles at known dangerous intersections and signal re-timing along Kearny… [RESPONSE TRUNCATED]

4. Earlier this year, a speeding car hit and killed a San Francisco resident on Kearny Street, a high-injury corridor. Do you support significant traffic-calming measures on Kearny Street, and others prone to injuries and fatalities due to vehicular crashes?


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