Bike BloNo-Good To Go Council Surveys

Michael McCurdy

Right or wrong, I’m feeling a sense of accomplishment after looking over the latest batch of candidate surveys. Bike BloNo, in cooperation with GLT’s Good To Go sustainable transportation initiative, sent questionnaires to all Bloomington and Normal council candidates. All of the candidates who responded – a majority of those in contested races – are being rated as “bike friendly.” All of the candidates received a “B” or higher! I’d like to think Bike BloNo’s efforts at raising the profile of bikes as transportation has helped to build awareness of some of the issues raised in our questionnaire and that we’re helping to inform the candidates that some of their constituents are bicyclists who care deeply about the safety of everybody using our community’s streets.

We received responses from all of the candidates in contested races except for Bloomington Ward 5 candidate Lupe Diaz and Ward 8 candidate Alton Franklin. They received an “incomplete.” Their opponents took the time to respond and scored favorably. We also didn’t get a response from Ward 2 Alderman David Sage, who is running unopposed. He previously voted in favor of creating the bicycle master plan that will soon be considered by the city council. Thanks to all of the candidates who responded.

Mike McCurdy
President, Bike BloNo
Director, Good To Go


 

Bloomington

Not sure which ward you live in? Here’s a map.

Ward 2 candidate – David Sage (incomplete)
Ward 4 candidates - Amelia Buragas (A) & Jeremy Kelley (B)
Ward 5 candidates - Joni Painter (A) & Guadalupe “Lupe” Diaz III (incomplete)
Ward 6 candidate - Karen Schmidt (A)
Ward 8 candidates - Diana DeSio Hauman (B) & Alton C Franklin III (incomplete)

Normal

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Candidate Survey — Chuck Scott

Michael McCurdy

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 Town of Normal Council Candidate Chuck Scott a “B” on bike issues.


Inline images 1Question 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 wife, daughter, son, daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and I all enjoy recreational rides throughout the communities in which we live. And, due to my residency being such a close proximity to my place of employment, I regularly walk to work and walk throughout campus rather than using any mode of wheeled transportation.


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:
As a Council Member at the time when the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan was developed and implemented, I believe it goes without saying that I am supportive of the Plan. I am also a progressive thinker when it comes to long range strategic planning and believe every plan needs to be continually refreshed. Yes, I would support a bolder plan, one that identifies more shared lanes in major arterials as well as enhancing existing pedestrian routes throughout Town. Improvements cannot be solely focused to Constitution Trail. While it is arguably the best example of creating efficient and effective circulation routes within the community, there are other routes that are equally as deserving of attention. Examples include the Main Street Corridor, Towanda Avenue, and College/Mulberry Avenues. Each of these areas have ample public properties that could accommodate greater designation of space for bike traffic and simultaneously improving spaces for people who prefer to walk or run.


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:
It could be that each of the issues stated above could be important for the safety of bikers and vehicle drivers. I highlighted hose that I believe to be the most critical. While infrastructure will always be in a shortage, it will remain important to strategically select project locations. Even more important than the infrastructure needs, there is strong need to emphasize awareness and education. Driver attentiveness, particularly the lack thereof due to cell phone usage while driving, is something that needs to continue to be drilled into our younger drivers. Those more seasoned should also be afforded opportunities to become aware of bikes in the roads. It is shared responsibility of everyone to know the rules of the road and to abide by them.


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:
This is an intriguing proposal. It supports my earlier comments of education and shared responsibility. I am not certain of encouraging ticketing at an increased rate certain times of the year, as I believe that may have a tendency to draw attention to the laws only during those times when individuals may have a more focused fear of being ticketed. I believe a program enforced consistently throughout the year would be more effective.


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?
I think people are choosing where they live, work, and play for a variety of reasons. They are trending toward making these decisions from a ‘green’ perspective more today than they did 10 years ago, or even last year. Normal has a bike/ped plan, has a reputation of being progressive, thinks sustainably (both green and long term), and actively engages in economic development. For these reasons, and many more, the bike infrastructure will move ahead and many more complementary businesses will strive to settle here.


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 believe complete streets can, and will, be implemented over time throughout this community. Again, with effective strategic planning, all modes of transportation can be accommodated without creating vehicle/pedestrian/bicycle conflict.


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

I think we all need to continue to raise awareness any way possible. I learned long ago that to be an effective leader, you must multiply yourself through others. Speaking with Bike BloNo and Friends of the Trail is like preaching to the choir, yet they are the disciples that can carry the alternative transportation message. Others in the engineering community, Connect Transit, and the various running clubs can also help raising awareness.

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Candidate Survey — R.C. McBride

Michael McCurdy

WGLT’s Good to Go initiative partnered with Bike BloNo to create a Candidate 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 Town of Normal Council Candidate R. C. McBride an “A” on bike issues.


Inline images 1Question 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:
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.

✓  Yes
__ No

Comments:
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

Comments:
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?

✓  Yes
__ No

Comments:
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?

✓  Yes
__ No

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?

✓  Yes
__ No

Comments:
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.

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Candidate Survey — Kathleen Lorenz

Michael McCurdy

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 Town of Normal Council Candidate Kathleen Lorenz an “A” on bike issues.


Inline images 1Question 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:
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.

✓  Yes
__ No

Comments:
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

Comments:
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?

✓  Yes
__ No

Comments:
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?

✓  Yes
__ No

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
__ No

Comments:
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.

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Candidate Survey — Jeff Fritzen

Michael McCurdy

WGLT’s Good to Go initiative partnered with Bike BloNo to create a Candidate 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 Town of Normal Councilman Jeffrey Fritzen a “B” on bike issues.


Inline images 1Question 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.

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Candidate Survey — Diana Hauman

Michael McCurdy

WGLT’s Good to Go initiative partnered with Bike BloNo to create a Candidate 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 Ward 8 Alderman Diana DeSio Hauman a “B” on bike issues.


Inline images 1Question 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:
Only occasionally do we bike for recreation while on vacation mostly due to some physical limitations. I walk as my preferred method of exercise and for transportation when appropriate, possible and timely.


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

Comments:
I was at the Planning Commission meeting when this plan was presented and approved. I was impressed by the thoroughness of the report.

I would certainly vote to adopt this plan! It is a great opportunity to promote an “alternative” (to the automobile) way of getting around the Bloomington/Normal area and to promote education and safety. It would also be an asset to help promote Bloomington/Normal to potential employers who might be encouraged to locate in an area that is easily accessible by bicycle for both employees and customers/clients.

While I do not bike in the city, as mentioned in Q1, I am a walker. Whatever can be done to promote bike safety will affect other areas. For example, bicyclists who use Constitution Trail and do not alert pedestrians that they will be overcoming them is both impolite and dangerous. If education can encourage more use of sounding devices or a vocal “on your left”, safety for pedestrians could also be enhanced.


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
This impacts cyclists, other drivers and pedestrians.
✓  Driver attentiveness
With too many distractions (for whatever reason), drivers need to be reminded of how to share the road with others – other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
__ 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
In another life I did ride a bike to/from work on a regular basis in Tucson, Rochester, MN, and Toronto. I became aware of how important bicycle visibility is to drivers and to other cyclists. Practicing defensive bike riding, I avoided being hit by another cyclist, who did not have any lights on his bike on a moonless night, as he made a left turn in front of me. As a motorist here, I have seen too many cyclists not have adequate lights on their bikes to be visible.
__ Bicyclists choosing the wrong roads

Comments:
See comments above related to specific safety issues.

The other options which I have not selected many be important also, but since I am not a bicycle rider in Bloomington/Normal, I am not fully aware of how these issues impact cyclists and others. This is one reason why I am pleased that Bike BloNo exists and advocates for safety for all!


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

Comments:
This is a qualified “yes.” I could support the approved test idea for a first “offense” as education is a goal of the program. Having been a Defensive Driving Instructor, if a learner comes away with even one new attitude or behavior, it is beneficial. There should be different consequences if a cyclist or driver had more than one infraction in a specific period of time.

The qualifier is that I would suggest that this be a year-round effort by our police since bike riding on wet, snowy or icy streets can be more dangerous (less lane width, less traction, etc.) than in more clement weather.


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 do believe that bicycle infrastructure could boost business – both existing and future. Many cities our size and larger than Bloomington/Normal have seen success in this area. For a new or expanding business, showing that there is a safe, reliable way to access the business for employees and potential customers/clients by bicycle and public transit would be beneficial.


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:
While our city roads are convenient for motor vehicles and are required for new development, they are not always safe or convenient for pedestrians and cyclists. It may not be feasible to make all streets “complete streets” due to existing width, etc., however where possible – and certainly streets in new residential and commercial developments – should be assessed for use by cyclists and planned for appropriately.


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

Town Hall style meetings, constituent email, social media (mine and the city’s) and a “bike-fest” are the ways that come to mind first. Bike BloNo has its own ways to engage riders which can be used by aldermen to help engage their constituents and others.

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Candidate Survey — Karen Schmidt

Michael McCurdy

WGLT’s Good to Go initiative partnered with Bike BloNo to create a Candidate 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 Ward 6 Alderman Karen Schmidt an “A” on bike issues.


Inline images 1Question 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

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

Comments:
This is important to our overall transportation plan. In my ward (ward 6) bike transportation is often a need, not a want (since needs & wants seem to be a focus in this election). Many times, this is how people get to work.


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 cycle a lot and am constantly reminded of the need to drive defensively, whether in a car or on a bike (or walking – I walk defensively too!) We need to figure out how to respect each other, regardless of our mode of transportation.


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

Comments:
All of us can do better/learn more about how various forms of transportation can live together.


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?
There is a growing body of research that shows how communities prosper when there are different & compatible ways to get to businesses.


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:
Good streets for bikes = good streets for cars = good streets for bikes, etc.


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

I have found that people in general understand that alternate forms of transportation are positives for their neighborhoods, and out community. I will advocate at neighborhood & ward meetings, and personally model good biking behavior and benefits. Plus, what is more convincing than the Book Bike?

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Candidate Survey — Joni Painter

Michael McCurdy

WGLT’s Good to Go initiative partnered with Bike BloNo to create a Candidate 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 Ward 5 Alderman Joni Painter an “A” on bike issues.


Inline images 1Question 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:
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

Comments:
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

Comments:
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

Comments:
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

Comments:
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.

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Connect Transit Tests USB Charging

Michael McCurdy

Bloomington Normal’s transit system is testing USB device charging on two of its buses. This is another positive step in Connect Transit’s continuing efforts to provide more customer amenities. Let them know what you think. The full news release is below.

————————————————————————————

For Immediate Release

March 26, 2015

Contact:  Melissa Chrisman
Connect Transit
(309) 829-1158, mchrisman@connect-transit.com

Mobile Device Chargers to be Tested on Connect Transit Buses

Connect Transit has begun a pilot program to evaluate the feasibility of providing USB Electronic Device Chargers on its buses. Two Connect Transit fixed route buses, #402 and #1104, have been fitted with USB chargers and will be in service on routes throughout the community over the next few months.

“Connect Transit continually strives to improve the customer experience. The ability to charge a phone or tablet while traveling should prove to be a great convenience for our customers with a minimal financial impact to the transit system,” said Connect Transit General Manager, Andrew Johnson.

Connect Transit will monitor the durability of the equipment and collect customer feedback on this new upgrade before making the decision on whether to install USB Electronic Device Chargers in the rest of the fleet. Customers are encouraged to test out the devices and provide any comments or concerns via email to info@connect-transit.com or by phone to 309-828-9833.

Connect Transit has provided safe, reliable and affordable public transportation to the Bloomington-Normal community since 1972.
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Game Changer for Winter Pedestrians?

Michael McCurdy

A simple, quiet change in practices implemented by Town of Normal Public Works director Wayne Aldrich could change where pedestrians walk in the winter.

In our car-centric world, you may ask “who is walking in this weather?” With a little observation you’ll see dog walkers, kids walking to and from school (or their bus stop), those walking for exercise, and people getting to a Connect Transit bus stop. Clear sidewalks are vital for transit users to get to the begin point of their trip safely. Frankly, we owe those transit users a favor for choosing not to drive, adding another car to the already busy traffic on some Bloomington-Normal streets.

After the winter of 2013-14, complete with the introduction of the term Polar Vortex and a record amount of snow, many pedestrians found themselves in the street because sidewalks weren’t cleared of snow. Additionally, snow plows drivers clearing  intersections piled snow right where the sidewalk meets the street, creating huge mounds of frozen snow that a well meaning property owner couldn’t clear with a pick axe. That meant that even in cases where pedestrians could use the sidewalk, when they reached an intersection, they’d have to sidestep into the street to get around the pile at the end of the walkway. This winter isn’t nearly as harsh, but pedestrians are finding themselves in the same predicament.

A clear sidewalk in Normal, IL

Sidewalk in Normal, cleared to the curb.

In Normal, that obstacle may become a thing of the past. The town’s public works director is asking plow drivers to be mindful of where they pile snow, adjacent to the sidewalk-street intersection. This may require extra effort on the part of the driver.

There have been murmurs of a creating an ordinance requiring property owners clear their sidewalks, much like Bloomington’s requirement. However, Normal elected officials and staff have been reticent to move on an ordinance because of enforcement issues. Enforcement would be complaint based and while it might help with serious or repeat offenders, officials believe it wouldn’t lead to real change.

Director Aldrich says before (or if) an ordinance is written and approved, the town should do its part first by not piling snow on sidewalks. With no fanfare, he’s implemented a common sense change regarding where the snow goes.

Could this be a game changer for pedestrians Normal? Maybe. If property owners don’t feel it’s futile to clear their walks because of the mini-Matterhorn at the end of the sidewalk, maybe (just maybe) they’ll  keep shovel in hand after wrapping up the driveway, and tackle the sidewalk.  By not piling snow on sidewalks, town is also sending the message that sidewalks are important.

 

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