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 R. C. McBride 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|
While I’m a fair weather rider (generally April-September) I average about 50 miles a week as a recreational rider during those months, and I bike to work during the summer when my meeting schedule allows. My wife, three daughters (the youngest is still on training wheels), and I all own bicycles and use them nearly daily during warmer weather, with my wife being the most diligent about biking for running errands.
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.
Any long range plan should be refreshed on a regular basis, and I generally favor bold goals with the realization that costs concerns you might force compromise.
The town is in the very preliminary stages of preparing its revised comprehensive plan (last done in 2006) and any update to the Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan will either have to come after that revision is completed, or it will have to be folded into that plan. That’s not to say the Bike/Ped isn’t a priority for me (it is); it just reflects the reality that the overarching plan is even more out of date.
As for remaining project priorities, crossings over/under/through major roadways continue to be an obstacle to Normal becoming more bike and pedestrian friendly, though the town continues to make progress and overall has done a good job balancing needs and costs. Similarly, a determination on the Uptown overpass/underpass issue is a major priority. While I favor the underpass concept, not enough is yet known about potential revenue sources to make a final decision.
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
As someone who drives AND bikes quite a bit, I can understand the frustrations of both groups with the other. Contrary to oft-heard complaints, the problem Is not that bicyclists are inattentive or entitled, or that drivers are, it’s that people in general sometimes are be both. Continued education and awareness efforts are the best way to improve the situation.
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 would support such a program assuming police officers are part of its development, and I believe it could serve as both an educational tool and as a deterrent.
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?
It doesn’t take much imagination to foresee a near future where people are using automobiles less frequently, especially for shorter trips, and we may well be in the early stages of that cultural shift. It’s the responsibility of community leaders to be forward thinking to anticipate these needs and demands as much as possible, keeping in mind some of those are likely to come from the business community trying to meet the demands of its customers.
Question 6: Do you support a “complete streets” policy applied to existing roads during reconstruction or resurfacing and for new road construction?
The complete streets movement is designed to take into account and balance the transportation and access needs of all a community’s residents and stakeholders, and this integrates well with the town’s tradition of big-picture, long-range planning.
Question 7: How do you plan to engage constituents, including those who may ride bikes, on issues involving local transportation and infrastructure?
A council member’s primary responsibility is to be as accessible as possible to the community’s stakeholders, listen to their concerns and suggestions, and process them. I pride myself on my ability to listen, my open mind, and my can-do attitude, and that’s what I hope to bring to Town Council. In addition to being responsive to email and phone calls, I plan to maintain a very active social media presence and will seek opportunities to appear at meetings of neighborhood groups and advocacy organizations.