Tempe Bicycle Action Group

John Skelton: 2022 Tempe Council Candidate Questions

1. How do you normally commute around Tempe? What kind of vehicles do you utilize? Are you satisfied with your commuting experience?

I live in south Tempe- off of rural and Lakeshore, my son attends Kyrene del Norte on Redfin, and my office is on Baseline and Rural. 75% of the time I drive dropping him off at school on the way. 25% of the time I will bike dropping him off on the way and continuing off to work down the bike lanes on Lakeshore around to my office. My commute, even on the worst day, isn’t bad at all.

2. Do you think it is possible to function in our current city without the use of an automobile? What is your vision for transportation and mobility around Tempe and the region?

I am a huge proponent for bike lanes and the use of public transportation. Living in NYC for school I quickly learned the bus and subway system. Visiting Mexico City I toured the city via bike lanes which were built along main thoroughfares but protected from general traffic. Increased options and increasing ease of use for alternate modes of transit are the best way to alleviate traffic issues. Arizona is a private automobile centric community and making alternative forms of commuting more appealing and easier to use is the best way to change that mentality.

3. How familiar are you with Tempe’s Vision Zero goal? Do you support the City of Tempe’s 2019 Action Plan to achieve these goals? If so, what is your plan to update and expand Vision Zero to improve transportation safety for all members of the community?

I have some familiarity with Vison Zero, but by no stretch of the imagination am I an expert. In my opinion this is a good idea in theory, but a very difficult one to measure in true success as it asks for a high return on investment… thereby attempting to put a figure on human life. I’d double down on Vision Zero’s emphasis on enforcing the traffic laws on the books and empowering our police with the tools and man power they need to truly do so. This could go a long way in reversing the steady increase in deaths we’ve seen over the last several years.

4. How do you plan to adequately fund roadway improvements, especially the backlog of existing and requested transportation safety projects? What role should community organizations play in cycling safety and planning?

One of my biggest goals and reason for running is to encourage and champion more teamwork and collaboration amongst The City (staff, and Council), the public, non-profits, community leaders, and the private sector. This will help ensure the voices of the people and all stake-holders are represented. At the end of the day once all voices are heard and a decision needs to be made, I will not shy away from a tough choice. That’s where strong leadership and clear direction make a difference. Committees and workshops are starting points, but the follow up and implementation in any undertaking is where the rubber meets the road, pun intended.

5. Common concerns of bicyclists in Tempe include police knowledge of State and Local bicycle laws, bicycle theft, and drivers parking in bicycle lanes. What would you do to address these concerns when elected? What training and education would you implement for the police department to ensure they understand cycling laws?

Continuing education is very important for our law enforcement. Police officers do all sorts of training and simulations; biking should be a part of that. I believe bicycle police officers have a unique understanding of not only the cycling laws but the actual dangers of cycling, extending that out to all other offices would be important. I also think bicyclists (not your group) need to be better educated about the rules of the road before riding, helping them better follow laws designed for their safety and the safety of pedestrians and motorists alike. I’d welcome the opportunity to work with your group to better educate Tempe’s casual cyclists!

6. Do you have any other thoughts to share about cycling, safety, and multi-modal transportation you think our membership would benefit from hearing?

My son is 8, he and I bike a lot, and we are very conscious of the dangers of biking. When the weather is nice and it makes sense for people, biking needs to be seen as a form of transportation and an alternative to private vehicles as well as a leisure activity, or form of exercise and stress-reduction. Bike paths, protected bike lanes, enforcement of laws, and education around those laws will be at the top of my mind when I get elected.