Candidates’ Survey – Jeffrey Fritzen

WGLT’s Good to Go initiative partnered with Bike BloNo to create a Candidates’ Survey to inform voters on the candidates’ positions on bike policy. WGLT wrote the questions and Bike BloNo created a rubric to grade each of the candidates; that rubric is published here. Neither organization endorses any individual candidate.


Based on his survey response, Bike BloNo gives Jeffrey Fritzen a “B” on bike issues.


Question 1: U.S. Census figures show a 60% increase in bicycle commuting in the last decade. Research shows Millennials (those 16-34 years of age) are avoiding car ownership and choose the mode of transportation that makes the most sense for the trip. Do you, or do any members of your immediate family, routinely bicycle for any of the reasons below? (select all that apply)

Going to work ✗ I do ✗ Family member does
Running Errands ✗ I do ✗ Family member does
For recreation ✓ I do ✓ Family member does
Other ✗ I do ✗ Family member does

Comments:
My family has always biked for recreation and light exercise. Now as empty nesters, my wife and I purchased new bicycles a couple years ago and enjoy outings on Constitution Trail. That’s the extent of our biking at this point, although I’m neighbors with the current Wheelers president and have another friend enthusiast who are constantly promoting cycling to me to go to another level. They are good resources for info as well. If you count being one of the main grill men at Pedaling for Kicks as being an avid cyclist, then the hundreds of pork chops and chicken breasts I’ve helped prepare over the years would cause me to check Other.


 

Question 2: The Town of Normal Bicycle Pedestrian Master plan is almost 6 years old. Many projects in the plan have been completed. Would you support the creation of a plan just bold or even bolder? In the comments please indicate when you think an update plan may be needed and include two remaining priorities in the current plan.

✓ Yes
✗ No

Comments:
Plans must be updated periodically to remain viable, so I would be supportive of revisiting ours at some point. Our existing plan is comprehensive and provided many things to consider from the easily attainable to the extremely expensive and complex. Rather than identify specific priorities, I’d simply say as budgets allow and opportunities present themselves, I will continue to be supportive of identifying features of the plan that can become reality.


 

Question 3: What do you think are some important safety issues facing bicyclists on Bloomington streets? Choose as many as you think apply.

✓ Vehicle speed
✓ Driver attentiveness
✓ Access across Veterans Parkway
✓ Lack of infrastructure (bike lanes, buffered or protected bike lanes, etc.)
✓ Need for more motorist education regarding rules of the road
✓ Need for more bicyclist education regarding rules of the road
✓ Need for more enforcement of existing laws for all road users
✗ Bicyclists didn’t choose sidewalk as an option
✗ Cyclist in the middle of the road
✓ Car too close to bicyclist
✓ Bicyclist not visible enough during day or night
✓ Bicyclists choosing the wrong roads

Comments:
I think bicyclists on streets and country roads are brave, crazy or a bit of both. My observation is that typically motorists do not care to share the road. With the noticeable increase in cycling, my hope is this will improve over time as education, markings/signage/designations are added and understood. I also think it would be helpful if cyclists consistently obeyed traffic laws, primarily to minimize the uncertainty many motorists likely feel when near a cyclist. The lights used by many cyclists when riding at dusk or after dark are inadequate, in my opinion. I marked the choosing the wrong roads to indicate my concern when I’ve observed cyclists on Veterans Parkway or similar major thoroughfares and on some roads outside the city limits where it appears cyclists aren’t aware of traffic loads and it would seem there are better suited alternatives. Biggest issue though is motorists accepting that cyclists and pedestrians (and those on motorcycles) have a right to share the roads.


Question 4: Bike BloNo is working with Bloomington-Normal leaders to establish a ticket diversion program. The diversion program would provide cyclists or motorists cited for a bicycling related infraction the option to take a Secretary of State approved test on bike rules of the road instead of paying the fine. The test also serves as an educational tool. Police officers would be encouraged to ticket cyclists and drivers for bike-related infractions at an increased rate certain times of year. Do you support such a diversion program?

✓ Yes
✗ No

Comments:
I think greater emphasis on enforcement of traffic laws would help accelerate safety and road sharing understanding. Waiving the fines in lieu of education the first time around is a good start. I’m not certain I understand the concept of increasing the rate of citations during certain times of the year, since for most people cycling is a seasonal activity that would naturally generate more infractions during the high season. I’d be fine with steady, consistent enforcement, including the writing of tickets or warnings.


Question 5: Do you think bicycle infrastructure, like bike lanes, boost existing businesses and attract new businesses and jobs to our community?

✓ Yes
✗ No

If yes, how would you tie together bikes and business? If no, why?
A bike friendly community is a quality of life enhancement that is viewed in a positive manner by businesses and people considering locating in Normal. I don’t know that bicycle infrastructure boosts existing businesses (other than those that cater to this mode) because businesses market to needs, rather than to methods of transportation. Locations accessible by multiple modes of transport likely perform better than their counterparts. It would be beneficial during discussions with business developers with Town staff to ask if they had considered the biking community in their planning. I’m sensitive to codifying regulations for businesses, but I’m certainly open to staff suggesting consideration of the community’s desire to improve its biking and pedestrian access and the benefits therof.


Question 6: Do you support a “complete streets” policy applied to existing roads during reconstruction or resurfacing and for new road construction?

✓ Yes
✗ No

Comments:
I’m supportive of initiatives similar to what we’ve already achieved with markings and designated routes and continuing to seek expansion of those efforts. A full-blown complete streets policy, although referenced in detail in the Bike/Ped Plan, would require considerable Council deliberation, staff and expert input and public testimony, along with financial feasibility analysis, before making that commitment. However even without such a policy codified, ideally new road construction would include considerations for cycling and other modes of transportation. Reconstruction or resurfacing projects are more difficult as retrofitting existing right of way and gaining acceptance by the general public is a process, but continuing to work our plan and look for ways to accommodate transportation options has to happen because most of our roadways rarely, if ever, will undergo significant changes in construction.


Question 7: How do you plan to engage constituents, including those who may ride bikes, on issues involving local transportation and infrastructure?

Planning has been friendly to Normal. The Bike/Ped Plan is no exception. Every plan has a phase where somewhat rapid implementation takes place, followed by a slower time which may reveal the need to revisit the plan or that needs have changed. Engaging enthusiasts who understand cycling issues in a broader sense and inviting them to be part of our process is when we’re the most effective.