2018 Endorsements and Questionnaire Responses
As someone who walks or rides a bicycle regularly in Austin, your vote matters. In fact, our advocacy for safer streets rest in part on the voting habits of our 16,000 members and supporters – the more our supporters turn out to support bike- and pedestrian-friendly candidates, the more power we’ll have to push for bike lanes, pursue pro-bike, pro-walk policy and secure funding for life-saving bike lanes, trails and sidewalks.
Endorsement: Steve Adler
Others who responded: Alexander Strenger, Laura Morrison, Travis Duncan
Mayor Adler has proven to be a strong leader on improving the city’s transportation infrastructure. We appreciate his unambiguous answers to our questions, and we’re especially grateful for his commitment to the goal of achieving platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Community designation by 2020.
Laura Morrison’s answers are generally positive, but they are all stated in conditional terms, and they raise additional questions about her commitment to prioritizing bicycle infrastructure. Likewise, the responses of Travis Duncan and Alexander Strenger, while generally positive, raise some additional questions. Instead of cutting parking requirements, Duncan would support storing cars in temporary rotating elevators, and some of his ideas for other code amendments also seem problematic. Strenger is a pedicab driver, but he adamantly opposes allowing electric bikes on trails, even though many of these trails serve important transportation functions.
Alan Pease, Gus Peña, and Todd Phelps did not respond to our questionnaire.
Endorsement: Natasha Harper-Madison
Others who responded: Vincent Harding
Both Natasha Harper-Madison and Vincent Harding provided solid answers. We’re especially glad to see their support for connecting the Northern and Southern Walnut Creek Trails, and for code changes enabling more housing along and near transportation corridors. Harper-Madison’s response demonstrates an impressive understanding of the need for better infrastructure, the need to revise parking requirements, and the role of biking as a transportation mode. Harding’s response, while strong, is somewhat less impressive; for example, he declines to support cutting parking requirements even in places like West Campus.
Mitrah Avini, Lewis Conway, Mariana Salazar, and Reedy Spigner did not respond to our questionnaire.
Endorsement: Sabino “Pio” Renteria
Others who responded: Amit Motwani, Justin Jacobson
Councilmember Renteria, the incumbent in this race, has been a strong supporter of biking, and of creating more housing in bikeable locations. He also bikes to works and events around town almost every day. Renteria provided excellent answers to our questionnaire. We’re especially grateful for his attention to getting protected bicycle facilities on East Riverside, and his commitment to providing a safer crossing on or near the Pleasant Valley bridge at Longhorn Dam.
We were also impressed by the quality of the answers we received from Justin Jacobson and Amit Motwani. Either could be an excellent councilmember someday. But Renteria has earned our full support, and is in a much better position to make rapid progress on biking issues in the next four years.
Susana Almanza, Jessica Cohen, and James Valadez did not respond to our questionnaire.
Endorsement: Ann Kitchen
Councilmember Kitchen, the incumbent, has no opponent. She nonetheless took the time to complete our questionnaire, and her answers are strong. We appreciate Kitchen’s many efforts on transportation issues, and we look forward to continuing to work with her over the next four years.
Endorsement: Rich DePalma and Bobby Levinski
Bike Austin has generally avoided making dual endorsements. But in this race – for the seat left open by the departure of Councilmember Ellen Troxclair – both Rich DePalma and Bobby Levinski have provided strong responses to our questionnaire. Their answers indicate that both have a solid understanding of transportation issues, and a commitment to making meaningful improvements in bicycle infrastructure.
Paige Ellis and Frank Ward did not respond to our questionnaire.
Endorsement: Danielle Skidmore
Others who responded: Kathryne “Kathie” Tovo, Linda O’Neal
Danielle Skidmore is a transportation engineer, and her answers to our questionnaire demonstrate a thorough understanding of bike-related issues, as well as a genuine commitment to making progress. She unequivocally supports protected lanes on Shoal Creek, and reducing parking requirements. And she appreciates the urgency of making safety improvements on the Congress Avenue Bridge, calling for temporary, incremental measures until permanent changes can be made. Based on her expertise and passion on these issues, we’re convinced that Skidmore would be a very positive force for biking on the Council.
The incumbent in this race, Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, has done some good work in support of biking and walking. She sponsored a resolution to allow a ciclovia on Congress Ave., and she recently advocated for trail connections around the proposed soccer stadium. But she has resisted changes in land use and transportation policies that would allow for more significant progress. In her response to our questionnaire, she hedges most of her answers, declining to commit to supporting important goals such as protected lanes on Shoal Creek Boulevard or reducing parking requirements.
Linda O’Neal’s response to our questionnaire includes some strong answers, along with several others that are concerning. The only Land Development Code changes she envisions involve redesigning bus routes and bus stops, which are controlled by Capital Metro, and she opposes reducing parking requirements even in places like West Campus.
Isiah Jones did not respond to our questionnaire.