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 Kathleen Lorenz 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 do have a working bicycle and an air compressor to pump up the tires, so I could be ready to go, given a few moments notice! I must admit, however, that the recreational bike rides are not as common as they used to be for me. When our kids were toddlers until about 10 years old, my husband would often organize Sunday afternoon family bike rides. We would take advantage of the trail and the many parks in our community. As our children got older, they became very involved in youth sports; so our weekend bike trips gave way to out-of-town baseball and soccer tournaments. Although our day-to-day lives have become more car-focused, we do recognize that our “millennial children” (who are 19 and 17 years old) will very likely need to rely on something other than the combustible engine as they get older. So we have tried in some small ways to expose them to other forms of transportation when traveling, such as the New York subway, renting bikes for the week on an island resort, and high speed rail in Europe.
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.
I think the current Bicycle / Pedestrian Master Plan should be at least updated to reflect the advancement in the broader acceptance of alternative modes of transportation. Even six years ago, there was not the level of conversation that there is now in our community, and communities around the country, for alternative types of transportation. Hybrids, electric cars, high speed rail, car sharing, bicycling are all forms of transportation that have become much more common in our everyday lives than even 6 years ago. Furthermore, plans could be started in the near future to overhaul the plan by its 10-year mark
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 have checked the items above that I could imagine would be of concern for the regular cyclist. I believe that education seems to be a critical issue for both cyclists and drivers alike, recognizing that car drivers have the greater burden to drive defensively for the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
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?
I like the idea of a ticket diversion program that provides both cyclists and motorists the opportunity to learn and be enlightened about the issues of sharing the road with different forms of transportation. As I mentioned earlier, education seems to be key to weaving a healthy respect for all types of transportation into our culture.
Question 5: Do you think bicycle infrastructure, like bike lanes, boost existing businesses and attract new businesses and jobs to our community?
If yes, how would you tie together bikes and business? If no, why?
I tie bikes and business together on two fronts: quality of life, and tourism. Bicycle friendly communities can distinguish themselves from other cities in a positive way, especially in the eyes of millennials who may be more attracted to an active lifestyle. Quality of life, as I have said in the past, can be an economic engine for a community. As for tourism, I see a tremendous opportunity for Bloomington and Normal to leverage the Constitution Trail and our proximity to Route 66 as a destination for cycle-based tourism. We also have an opportunity to grow the existing Bloomington Criterium event. As a member of the Bloomington-Normal Sports Commission, I have supported the Commission’s financial contributions to this race, and would like to see it grow into a community wide event.
Question 6: Do you support a “complete streets” policy applied to existing roads during reconstruction or resurfacing and for new road construction?
Yes, support of complete streets is an investment in our future. I can imagine 50-75 years ago, communities may have balked at the idea of investments in the interstate system. Today, we must have similar forward thinking views about planning for the next generation’s transportation needs. I would like to see a cooperative planning effort, on a regional basis, for investing in complete streets for our entire region.
Question 7: How do you plan to engage constituents, including those who may ride bikes, on issues involving local transportation and infrastructure?
I would begin with myself, and try to lead by example. In conversing with my friends who are more bicycle-savvy than me, I have realized that I need to sign myself up for the next “group ride” with Bike BloNo – if such an event exists! Give this carpool, car-centric mom an intervention, and get me out on the road on a bike to experience first-hand what are some of the issues surrounding cycling as an every-day mode of transportation. I would be an advocate for educational events, and would embrace the opportunity to teach myself and others about the merits of active transportation along with other alternatives to the combustible engine automobile.