Candidates’ Survey – Joni Painter

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 her survey response, Bike BloNo gives Joni Painter an “A” 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

I’m retired, so I don’t ride to work, and when I run errands I usually have a lot of stuff to drag home, which is unwieldy for me. I do, however, enjoy long rides on the trail when the weather’s nice. I used to ride a lot more when my boys were at home. My youngest son and I often took rides after school. It was a nice way for both of us to unwind after long days at school and work. These days I ride for sorely needed exercise and a way to appreciate the nature surrounding me.


Question 2: The Bloomington City Council unanimously voted to approve a contract with the League of Illinois Bicyclists to create a Bicycle Master Plan in a shared-cost agreement with the Friends of the Constitution Trail. Would you have voted to create a bicycle master plan for the city?

✓ Yes
✗ No

I absolutely back this plan because not only do public/private partnerships save the city money, but whenever we enter into an agreement that has so much public backing, it’s bound to succeed. They did their homework. 24,000 surveys were sent out in water bills. There was also outreach through Mind Mixer, as well as a brainstorming session with 90 participants and a public meeting. I think they’ve taken the concerns of the public and tried to craft a plan that is forward thinking and workable.


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

I want everyone to be safe, so people will need to be more aware as greater numbers of bicyclists take to the roads. That’s why education is necessary and rules must be enforced. When I lived in Salem, Oregon in the early 90’s, there were bike lanes everywhere and very few accidents occurred. I know we can do as well in Bloomington-Normal.

Question 4: Bike BloNo is working with Bloomington 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

What a great idea! In terms of behavior modification, education trumps punishment every time.

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?
Yes, I would definitely tie bikes and business together. A recent example of this is the fact that State Farm recently chose Tempe, Arizona for the location of one of their major U.S. hubs. Michael Tipsord, chief operating officer, stated, “Access to public transportation and multiple transportation options is critical to our operations going forward.” He said that Tempe had the amenities that facilitated their desire to live-work-play.
Our community should continue to expand our bicycle infrastructure, as well as other modes of public transportation, or we will be left in the dust. And, as stated in #1 above, fewer Millennials own cars. Bike friendly communities are very attractive to them because they are more affordable. Businesses tend to locate in areas with fresh, young talent. We have two universities and several junior colleges here. Let’s do what we can to keep them here after they graduate.

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

✓ Yes
✗ No

I think “complete Streets” policy is just common sense. It sets standards for streets that are safer, more accessible and easier to use for everyone, regardless of mode of transportation. It also takes into consideration age and mobility of users. The National Complete Streets Coalition lays out guidelines that can be applied to any size and type of municipality. We in our community would be irresponsible if we didn’t take their advice into consideration when planning, repairing and expanding our roadways.

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

I love talking with my constituents about salient topics, and I don’t plan to stop doing that any time soon. If a matter came up in which public input was desired for transportation project, I would host a public forum along with several other aldermen to discuss it with citizens from our respective wards. I maintain a Facebook page strictly for city business in which I post matters of importance about council issues and other Bloomington topics. I also “like” Bike Blo/No on Facebook, so I can reach out to you and you can help spread the word for me.