Raquel Zamora is a social worker and Los Angeles Unified School District counselor from Boyle Heights with a passion for community advocacy and environmental justice. Her response to Bike The Vote was solid, prioritizing student safety in getting to and from class, along with a call for reduced price transit passes for students. We were encouraged by her commitment to include road diets as part of efforts to implement Vision Zero. We were left with questions, however, regarding her statement expressing doubt about the feasibility of a road diet on North Figueroa between York and Colorado Boulevards. We were additionally disappointed that, of all the CD14 candidates who provided responses, Zamora’s statement regarding bus rapid transit service for Eagle Rock was the most non-committal.
Altogether, Zamora appears to be a strong candidate with a thoughtful and compassionate approach to considering policy issues, and we are confident that she will use empathy and equity to guide decision making around improving transportation options in Los Angeles.
UPDATE 2/14/2020: On February 7th, Zamora communicated that she does not support on-street dedicated bus lanes within Eagle Rock and instead supports an on-freeway alignment for Metro’s Noho-Pasadena BRT project that would serve fewer Angelenos and subject people who ride buses to high levels of air and noise pollution. Bike The Vote L.A. reached out to Zamora for clarification but has not received a response to-date. In consideration of this change from the position Zamora communicated in response to Bike The Vote L.A.’s questionnaire, our CD14 committee has decided to revise Raquel Zamora’s grade to a B-.
Bike The Vote L.A. 2020 Primary Grade: B-
(See below for full candidate questionnaire response)
1. Transportation remains the largest source of greenhouse gases in California, and neighborhood oil extraction has been shown to pose significant health and safety risks to residents. Heavy spending by oil and gas companies in local elections casts doubt on whether voters can trust their elected leaders to protect them from these and other impacts. Will you pledge to refuse any donations, whether to your campaign or officeholder account, from the fossil fuel lobby?
First I would like to thank Bike LA for the opportunity to complete this survey. I have always been a firm believer in environmental justice, and the Council District that I hope to represent has several environmental issues currently impacting its residents. I am running a grassroots campaign of which many of my donors to date have been working professionals, local small businesses, or residents. I am not and will not accept monies from special interest groups, such as, Developers, Lobbyist, Oil or Gas companies. The environmental interest and public health of residents in the 14th Council District is the only interest I hope to serve. Because residents are a priority and I am a service driven candidate. If elected it will always be people first!
2. 242 Angelenos were killed in car crashes in 2018, a 32% increase from 2015. Clearly, L.A. has failed to make significant progress towards Vision Zero. Despite proven success in reducing the severity of crashes, road diets have been removed from Vision Zero projects on the high-injury network across LA. Why do LA’s streets remain so deadly by design? Would you commit to implementing road diets across the high-injury network to reach Vision Zero’s goals?
From my perspective we need to build the type of leadership, collaboration and accountability with stakeholders that should include transportation professionals, policy makers from the Federal, State, County and the City of Los Angeles, as well as public health officials, police and local residents to discuss obsolete designs of our City streets. By working together in addressing the obsolete designs and implementing road diets we can offset the bad designs and reduce fatalities, as well as open more bike lanes. It is my belief that to reach Vision Zero we must work together to reduce fatalities. I believe that road diets have borne out the empirical data that supports its implementation. In the high-injury networks within the 14th Council District, I will support road diets to achieve Vision Zero goals.
3. Los Angeles’ traffic woes are compounded by the reality that roads around schools are frequently unsafe. This discourages parents from allowing their children to walk or bike to school, and makes the health benefits of active transportation inaccessible for most Angeleno youth. If elected councilmember, how would you prioritize student safety and active transportation options around schools?
As a mother, educator and social worker. Student safety around the school sites within the 14th Council District will be the highest priority for me when it comes to our youth. The K-12 transportation landscape is getting very complex every year. Our current transportation system was designed to take people to jobs in downtown. These transportation designs did not consider taking students from neighborhood to neighborhood. I do support continuing discount bus passes for students for rail and existing bus lines. I believe that we can look into having Dash buses run more frequently and that routes should be at every middle and high school in Los Angeles. Another option that that I am researching and may consider is implementing a program that is being used in school districts like Arcadia USD and Pasadena USD. The program Hop, Skip and Drive, whereby they employ parents, teachers, nurses and others as Care divers. These care drivers are vetted extensively and must have five years experience as a caregiver. This program has had success in transporting smaller groups and single students as well as students with IEP.
4. In 2016, over 70% of Los Angeles County voters supported Measure M, a ½ cent tax to improve mobility options for Angelenos, including a number of bus rapid transit (BRT) lines such as the North Hollywood-Pasadena Transit Corridor. The project sees widespread support from transit users, Northeast Los Angeles residents, students, and environmentally-focused non-profits. What are your views on Metro’s proposal to have dedicated bus lanes on Colorado Boulevard through Eagle Rock?
It is my understanding from what I can gather is that initially Metro had several options for BRT. The first called for BRT to run along the corridor of the 134 Freeway. The other is for BRT to run through Colorado Boulevard. Metro has did away the initial plan, because they felt there would be a lack of ridership and miss key connecter points. Their proposal to run through Colorado Boulevard has been met with opposition for and opposition against. I have not taken a position on the BRT through Colorado Boulevard. But, I do believe however, that stakeholders in the community of Eagle Rock, residents, stakeholders and businesses must engage in the EIR process and ensure that Metro does the right thing for the community of Eagle Rock
5. Over the past year, we have seen increased use of privately owned electric bikes and scooters throughout Los Angeles, particularly in Downtown. Unfortunately, without a network of bike lanes or on-street storage space for these vehicles, vital pedestrian space is sometimes negatively impacted by sidewalk riding and storage for dockless e-scooters and bikes. Would you direct LADOT to reallocate curbside car parking for dockless scooter and bike corrals? In order to reduce conflicts between scooter/bike users and pedestrians, would you implement a cohesive network of bike lanes on all streets Downtown?
As I have walked the streets of downtown I have noticed the increase usage of Electric scooters. I have experienced the impact those scooters have with pedestrian space while walking or shopping in DTLA. I would first like to meet with the company and LADOT and to collaboratively come up with solutions to impeding the foot traffic and the prospects of developing curb side parking for e-scooters only. I would also like to see an increase of bike lanes in DTLA so that e-scooters must use those bike lanes to travel instead of sidewalks.
6. The previous CD14 administration made some important progress towards providing safer streets through projects like Spring and Main Forward as well as York Blvd. and First Street bike lanes. But much work is still required to provide safe streets for all road users. Please respond to the following questions regarding specific CD14 issues and projects:
6A. My Figueroa opened in 2018, providing dedicated bus lanes and protected bike lanes between Expo Park/USC and Downtown. Will you direct LADOT to secure funding to extend these bus lanes, protected bike lanes, and pedestrian improvements up to Cesar Chavez/Sunset Blvd during your term?
Yes, I am committed to continuing the progress for safer streets that the previous administration started. I will work with LADOT to secure the funding needed to ensure completion of those projects.
6B. With the construction of the Wilshire Grand project, $9.175 million was set aside to improve transportation along 7th Street. What is your vision for use of these funds?
If elected I would like to see and study the various proposals put forward for the transportation use of that money. I will say that I would like to see something that benefits the business community along Seventh Street, bus riders, bike riders and e-scooters utilizing designated bike lanes.
6C. In response to recent collisions harming area students, The Eagle Rock Association (TERA) has initiated “Slow Yosemite,” a project aimed at providing a safer Yosemite Dr. serving Eagle Rock High School and Rockdale Elementary School. Will you commit to continue support for this project in collaboration with TERA?
Yes, as an educator I am committed to student safety. I will absolutely support “Slow Yosemite” and if elected will work to make Yosemite a more safer and pleasant street.
6D. The stretch of North Figueroa in CD14 between York Blvd. and Colorado Blvd. is a treacherous one, taking the lives of Ervin Garcia and Manuel Alonzo in 2017. Do you think a road diet is possible on North Figueroa? As councilmember, would you dedicate staff resources towards getting community support to reduce speeding and provide a safer street for drivers, people on bikes, and pedestrians?
As I have been speaking to folks throughout the district I do hear that speeding is an issue that needs attention. I am committed to working with LAPD and LADOT and how we may curb speeding. I will also look into the prospect of a road diet on Figueroa and if its feasible and if it possible to do.
6E. TERA, in collaboration with CD14, recently secured $16.3 million in Metro funding to implement “Rock The Boulevard,” a remaking of Eagle Rock Blvd. oriented towards the people, with protected bike lanes, curb extensions, and increased trees and green space along the boulevard. Will you commit to help making this community vision for a people-oriented street a reality?
Yes, I will commit to ensuring that “Rock the Blvd” is completed with the $16.3 that was committed for the project if I am elected.