Erin Mendenhall's Answers to Salt Lake City 2017 City Council Election Candidate Questionnaire on Bicycling in Salt Lake City for Cycling Utah
Background: Cycling is a healthy and fun form of transportation and recreation that improves livability, health, and economy in Salt Lake City. We ask these questions to provide information to Salt Lake City’s citizens regarding your outlook on cycling.
Candidate Information: Please provide your name, contact info for your campaign, council district (describe too) and if you like, a brief statement regarding your candidacy.
Erin Mendenhall, cell: 801-503-9181, www.slcerin.com, District 5
Council Candidate Questions:
- What is your vision for cycling (both road and mountain biking) in Salt Lake City? What would you do to make that vision happen (planning, budget, infrastructure, education, safety, economy, etc.)?
I envision more community connectedness through trails, such as the McClelland Trail provides, by utilizing city-owned property like alleyways. I envision a city-wide community that is more supportive of cycling and Complete Streets developments, making cycling ever more safe and accessible for our residents and commuters. An East-West connected city via development of the 9-Line is a priority for me. I will support funding and press for development of that trail and would support the city again exploring a comprehensive recreation bond.
- What is the biggest issue for cyclists currently in Salt Lake City and what will you do to address it?
Safety. Fulfilment of the Council’s Complete Streets policy in evaluating and building new roadways is our best, existing tool for ensuring greater safety for cyclists. When street investment proposals do not fulfil this policy, the Council needs to be ready and willing to support our policies and withhold funding for those projects if they are not in congruence.
- What would you like to see in your district in regards to bicycling?
Development of the 9 Line, better roadways (including Complete Streets) for riding and State Street development of bike lines.
- In your district, the following is an issue for cyclists: State Street is well used by cyclists, yet has no bike lanes. The Life on State Study is looking at ways to remake State Street. In one of the open houses, most people wanted to see better walking and cycling on State Street.
What are your thoughts on this and what would you do on the Council to address it?
I am continuously engaged in State Street progress-related projects, including Life on State. It is critical that this visioning process include bike lanes. UDOT’s participation in the process tells me that the results of the project will likely be implemented, thus making cycling a critical element in the vision.
- What cycling initiatives would you bring to the Council?
I have recently begun conversations with the Mayor’s administration regarding a policy I would like to advance that would prioritize pedestrian and cyclist right-of-way over vehicles at many trail crossings. For example, where McClelland Trail intersects many different avenues between 1300 and 1700 South, I am proposing those intersections have ‘stop’ signs for vehicle traffic. I believe that it is important to work progressive policies, like this, through the city departments like Transportation and Streets, in order for them to be successfully adopted and implemented.
I’m also open to ideas from the cycling community. I have organized a group-ride cycling fundraiser in the past (‘Marty Ride’, 2007), organized a puncture-proofing event for Heartland kids along the Jordan River (2014) and am a regular rider, myself.
- Would you favor strengthening the Complete Streets Ordinance? If so, how? (http://www.bikeslc.com/GetInvolved/MasterPlansandPolicies/PDF/CompleteStreetsOrdinance.pdf)
Yes, I would strengthen it with the prioritization of cyclist and pedestrian right-of-way over vehicle traffic at many trail crossings (see answer to question 5).
- Regarding the proposal 10,000 Wheels for Affordable Transportation, what are your thoughts and would you commit to working to implement this if you are elected? (http://www.cyclingutah.com/advocacy/cycling-utah-calls-for-10000-wheels-initiative-for-affordable-transportation-in-utah/)
I am working with Councilmember Luke to revise and improve the bicycle licensing program in Salt Lake City, which is a component of 10,000 Wheels, and am open to other policy and budget related discussions to advance this initiative. I can commit to working toward the implementation, though recognize that much of the need is administrative (Mayoral) and not policy or budget (Council).
- Regarding the proposal for a comprehensive recreational cycling plan for Salt Lake City, what are your thoughts and would you commit to working to implement this proposal if you are elected? (http://www.cyclingutah.com/advocacy/a-proposal-for-a-salt-lake-city-recreational-cycling-plan/)
I was one of only two councilmembers who voted in support of the recreation bond in 2015 and am continuously supportive of expanding recreational opportunities in the city. I would like to see another, comprehensive recreation plan and funding discussion come before the council from the Mayor.
- The 2015 Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan was passed by the Council in 2015. What will you do to ensure its implementation?
I will prioritize funding for the projects that support the plan and use the master plan as leverage to ensure that Complete Streets are implemented where appropriate.
- Do you ride a bicycle? Tell us more about how and where you ride.
I sure do. I mostly ride a commuter bike or my home-customized mountain bike/cruiser that hosts a toddler seat on the back. I ride around 9th and 9th for errands, on McClelland for fun, and down to city hall on occasion. My favorite ride, which my family regularly takes in the evenings, is from Inglewood Park to Westminster College’s outdoor climbing wall where the kids can burn off the last of their energy before the ride back home.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
Bicycling connects people with nature, neighbors, businesses, school and recreation. Access to fun, safe and convenient cycling opportunities is a primary component of great cities. Salt Lake City has miles still to go in capturing the opportunities for enhanced cycling that are available to us. I will continue to be a strong voice for cycling as a core component of our multi-modal transportation system and as an economic driver in our city. Ride on.