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 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 Mayoral Candidate Michael Monti:
1. Do you ride a bicycle on the valley area roads/trails and why?
Yes, I ride on my own and with my family. Our family consists of six kids, three of whom still need to be biked by trailer or safety seat. We ride for exercise or simply to enjoy the day outdoors. Frequently, I ride my bike to work—during the cooler months & especially when an event has clogged Mill Avenue traffic to the point that I can get to the restaurants more quickly by bicycle with fewer headaches.
2a. Do you think cycling in Tempe is safe for you, your family members and friends?
My wife, friends and I all take advantage of the bike paths that are available. I’ve talked often of a more comprehensive driver awareness program being desirable. Each of us has had or seen a frightening encounter with distracted drivers failing to “see” bicyclists.
2b. What would do do to improve the safety of the cycling environment?
I’ve already proposed a ban on texting while driving. On the surface this appears to be about vehicles, but this would help all participants in a multi-modal transportation system. Being new to government, as mayor, I would be interested in thoroughly reviewing status quo and looking at new proposals. I would champion awareness programs for all age groups.
Along this line, we need to address bicycle theft. I’ve had my bicycle stolen right out of my backyard. Employees have had bicycles stolen from the restaurant parking lot. We need to keep an updated stolen bike registry so we can reunite bicycles with their owners. We need to form broad-based coalitions from city planners, to business leaders, to partnering with bicycle advocacy groups, like yours, to raise the overall awareness across the entire spectrum how important bicycle safety is.
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.
Again, please take into consideration that I’ve never been in government. At my restaurant, however, we installed bike racks near our Blink car charging stations. We’ve always encouraged our staff to bike to work whenever possible.
When my stepson was younger we purchased a bicycle from Tempe Bicycle and took advantage of several of their free bicycle classes.
Specific improvements in Tempe
4. Where do you think cycling fits in Tempe or any city’s transportation infrastructure and planning?
Tempe is an absolutely perfect urban environment to champion cycling. Obviously, we have bike paths already designated. Being new to government, I always think there are other creative ways to do things. I am anxious and willing to meet with advocates to push this agenda forward. As Mayor, I advocate a need to partner tightly with ASU, especially as they continue to plan their stadium and multi-use district. In recent years, I have come to believe that the cycling lifestyle is integral to the demographic of the new economy workers and entrepreneurs that Tempe needs to attract.
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 don’t have enough information to answer this question.
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, I don’t have information to answer this question. I am absolutely willing to work with ADOT and any other appropriate agencies.
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 have enough information to answer this question. Clearly this is seen as a broken link in connecting the desires of the cycling community. I am wide open to proposals on this and willing to negotiate with Phoenix to find solutions to the problem.
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?
My first step, as Mayor, to this is familiarizing myself with the standards set forth by the League. Some options, off the top of my head, would be bicycle safety programs for all ages, bike paths, partnering with the local area business so the embrace and implement bicycle culture into the workplace. I am willing to form a personal “Bicycle Cabinet” to advise me on the matters, if elected. I am willing listen and learn.