The board of Tempe Bicycle Action Group recently sent questions to all of the candidates for Tempe Mayor and City Council prior to the upcoming Tempe Mayoral and City Council election, so that the voters of Tempe can hear the candidate’s positions on cycling and cycling related issues.
Responses from all of the candidates can be found here: http://www.biketempe.org/tempe-election-bicycle-qa-candidates-responses/
Response from City Council Candidate Dick Foreman
1. Do you ride a bicycle on the valley area roads/trails and why?
I ride several times per week. We chose to live in downtown Tempe with my family so it’s not just rides around Town Lake that we do together. My wife, 7 year old little girl and I are all avid users. We ride to dinner, ASU events, and generally use our bikes as much a form of basic transportation as we do pure enjoyment. We ride our bikes more than we drive on the weekends and seldom ever get into our car. We chose living in downtown Tempe for specific reasons, and that was one of the major reasons.
2. Do you think cycling in Tempe is safe for you, your family members and friends? What would do do to improve the safety of the cycling environment?
For the most part, I think Tempe is one of the “safer” cities to ride in with defined bicycle paths in many areas and with ASU being bike friendly for reaching most of it’s facilities. However, it seems that the driver is still the challenge regardless, with road sharing issues our greatest concern. Drivers still get frustrated, at times, when a cyclist shares the roadway where no other lane is available and all could be solved with just a bit of patience. But the driver will take chances and make moves that endanger others. Not sure if education alone will work, but it remains a problem.
3. What have you done or worked on in the past that shows your record of being involved in bicycle safety or road/trail improvement campaigns? Please elaborate.
I have purchased my bikes from local bike shops so we make sure to go over the usual safety criteria/advice with our daughter especially, and I do have a motorcycle endorsement on my driver’s license so many if not all the safety requirements to get endorsed are relevant to bike safety so I share those with my family, especially safe stopping distances! That’s always a challenge with a 7 year old. As a representative of one of the larger companies, we supported the construction of bike paths and actively represented our interests to policy makers. One of my employees, a very avid cyclist, actually lobbied the legislature.
Specific improvements in Tempe
4. Where do you think cycling fits in Tempe or any city’s transportation infrastructure and planning?
It’s obviously huge. Tempe, more than any other East Valley city, needs alternatives to vehicles to be viable, being utterly land locked on all sides and infrastructure, roads, sidewalks etc. needing to recognize that our population must move around in alternative ways. Tempe also has the challenge of being the “drive through” city for many commuters and it would obviously be a benefit if commuter traffic could be lessened by design or by even greater use of mass transit.
5. Many streets in Tempe do not have bike lanes (Broadway Road, Rural Road, McClintock Drive, Southern Avenue) and are not comfortable for any users other than automobile drivers. What measures would you support to improve the state of bike lane frequency in Tempe (i.e. road diets, shared spaces for bikes/buses, increased bike lanes)?
I am open to all discussions. I was on the Tempe Union High School Board and led the effort to permanently slow down traffic around our high schools, a change in the law that remains to this day; specifically affecting Marcos de Niza, McClintock, Corona del Sol and Tempe High. I still hear some people complaining about having to slow to 35, which really is them slowing to 50 from going 60 in many cases, and we have 2000 students with bikes and on foot all around those congested areas. It is hard to believe that even when we are talking about children, we have a battle with cars to deal with. Tempe can slow down a bit, be safer, share the road and become a safer, more sustainable community. I am open to many ideas that can be used to cause that result.
6. How will you work with ADOT to obtain more bicycle and pedestrian facilities adjacent to and over the local freeway system like Country Club Way and Alameda Drive?
Bicyclists have requested freeway crossings at Alameda and the I-10 and the Western Canal and I-10 and Balboa and 101 etc…Again, major transportation planners often look at cycling as an after thought. When we relegate such a major form of transportation to the back burner, we obviously do not sustain it’s place in many public budgets with much vigor. I could not be more supportive of freeway crossings for both pedestrians and bicycles as they not only safely keep vehicles and other users of the road apart from high speed traffic, they also connect neighborhoods and have a host of alternative benefits. An active voice at the council level cannot hurt in advocating for the inclusion of such facilities in major planning.
7. The Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is surrounded by roadway devoid of bike lanes. How would you make the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport accessible by bike?
I don’t wish to sound harsh, but the airport is so crowded and people in such a hurry, anything other than a dedicated path would concern me. I just do not see a good fit here but I am open to ideas and thoughts. The new light rail line under construction would seem to be the best alternative in that the cyclist could load onto the light rail and get all the way to the terminal, but it’s obviously a stop and ride situation and not conducive to luggage or many carry ons. For the money, I think I would focus more on making our city more bike friendly than how to re-design the airport, even if that were a good idea. I’ve never even seen a plan for such.
Tempe’s cycling image in the US
8. How would you increase Tempe’s standing in the broader bicycle community? For example, how would you help Tempe grow from its “silver” status with the League of American Bicyclists to a “platinum” status?
I’m going to take a wild guess here and assume that bicycle theft is a huge part of our problem. My daughter’s bike was stolen last week. My granddaughter has had two bikes stolen in the last year. Every bike I’ve ever owned, in fact, has been stolen except for the bikes I have now! I lock my bikes, but that isn’t enough. Better ID systems being built into the bikes, location devices perhaps, might help. Local law enforcement considers bike theft a nuisance to deal with and the bike thieves know it. Of course, Tempe is the PERFECT place to put focus on bike use and cycling in general. We have a remarkable opportunity to expand our bike trail system, we have unique destinations and we have fairly defined neighborhoods. It seems to lay out perfectly for a bike master plan that would permit that choice as one of our primary connectors for many residents because everything in Tempe is really accessible in terms of distance from one another. If there is a master plan, I would like to get educated on it. If there is not a master plan, we should make it and begin achieving it! Again, I would enjoy learning more about the bigger picture of bicycle use in Tempe and what we might be able to do to significantly improve safety, use, enjoyment and rational transit options/planning as a result.