2015 District 3 Candidate Julie Christensen

Candidate Facts

Name: Julie Christensen
Campaign Website: supervisorchristensen.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?

Yes

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

I typically walk, drive or take Muni to work. I cycle recreationally and was proud to join the Bicycle Coalition and many others on the Bike to Work Day in May. I am also proud to have received the award for the most number of Muni lines ridden in the SF Transit Riders 22 Day Muni Challenge.

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?

Yes

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

Adding additional bike lanes; reducing dangers to cyclists (such as safer intersections and the reduction of private vehicles on Market Street); encouraging bicycle-friendly destinations and events. I have, and will continue to, encourage project sponsors to include bicycle pathways and accommodations in their project planning (at India Basin, Bayview and Treasure Island developments, for example) as well as supporting cycling components to City-sponsored circulation renovation projects.

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?

Yes

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

Yes

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?

Yes

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?

Yes

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 support both public and private efforts to expand outreach and cycling opportunities to low-income individuals and families. I would like cycling to be a more viable option for more students.

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?

Yes

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?

Yes

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

Yes

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?

Yes

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?

Yes

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)?

Yes

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 have and will continue to advocate for the necessary funding to see our important pedestrian and bike safety projects approved and completed in a timely manner. I’ve advocated for nearly half a million dollars for District 3 pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements in the last month and supported citywide funding in both add-backs and in the Mayor’s budget for Vision Zero and other pedestrian projects.

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?

[No answer]

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

The plan was in jeopardy when I took office. I worked to sustain a compromise that does not preclude future adjustments, but will allow the significant bike safety portions of the current project to move ahead. Many of the gravest conditions and concerns have been addressed in Phase 1 and I have promised all parties that we will – jointly – evaluate the impacts and shortcomings of this initial installation and develop next steps as needed.

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?

Yes

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

Fisherman’s Wharf draws 20,000 visitors and 8,400 workers each day. A Giants game draws 40,000 people. The Embarcadero encircles our two great business hubs, the Financial District and SOMA, and most of our densest residential neighborhoods. I strongly support public transit – from the new E Line to the extension of the Central Subway – and cycling as important components in coping with the large numbers of people using this corridor.

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.

Better coordination of distinct MTA and CTA projects; implementation of recommendations in The Chinatown Neighborhood Transportation study;  identifying priority north-south bicycle corridors that better connect D3 with Market Street and points south; ensuring that sidewalks and intersections, especially between the new station and the financial district, can accommodate the heavy influx of pedestrians and minimize bike and auto conflicts. I have commissioned a study on potential pedestrian and bicycle lane improvements to the Stockton Tunnel.

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?

Yes [RESPONSE TRUNCATED]

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