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BikeABQ Candidate Survey

Cindy Nava

Senate District 9 — Democratic Primary

1. Do you bike in New Mexico? Describe your experience biking for transportation and/or recreation.

I’m lucky to have been able to bike in all of the places I’ve lived - in New Mexico, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. A few years ago, however, I had brain surgery, and I have been reluctant to return to cycling due to an increased risk of the impact of head injury. Because we haven’t built our cities around safe pedestrian and bike transit, there still remains an unfortunate risk of injury to cyclists.

2. Describe your vision of a healthy, safe, equitable transportation system for the Greater Albuquerque Region and the roles walking, biking, and public transportation play in that vision.

Everyone should be able to get from point A to point B in a way that is safe and meets the needs of that person, whether they are time, accessibility, health, or any other transportation need. I envision a community with interconnected, well maintained bike paths and protected bike lanes, contiguous and well maintained sidewalks and pedestrian pathways that are fully accessible as well as well marked crosswalks, and a transit system that runs frequently and regularly and can connect people with the places they need to go in a reasonable amount of time. We have built our cities so that car transportation seems like an inevitability, and it doesn’t have to be that way.

3. What are the biggest barriers to getting people to choose walking, biking, and public transit instead of personal vehicles for daily trips, and what would you do to address these impediments?

Right now, it can be difficult to connect between point A and point B easily and safely without a car simply because we don’t have the infrastructure: bike paths, pedestrian paths and accessible sidewalks, protected bike lanes, bus routes that are frequent and easily connect people between one destination and the others. Those infrastructure elements can be solved with investment and planning from the State Legislature and transit experts. Safety is also a critical barrier; people often don’t feel safe sharing the road with drivers who don’t know or don’t follow the rules of sharing the road, and we lack protected bike lanes and bike/pedestrian only paths in much of Senate District 9.

4. New Mexico consistently has the deadliest streets of any state in the US, with approximately 400 people killed by vehicles each year while walking, biking, or driving, and another 12,000 people injured. What should New Mexico, and in particular the New Mexico Department of Transportation, do to improve traffic safety?

We have to take vehicular deaths and injuries seriously, which means strengthening laws surrounding such deaths and injuries and ensuring those laws are enforced. We also need significant investment into programs like Vision Zero that utilize data and proven policy to reduce pedestrian, cyclist, and driver deaths. We must make changes to infrastructure to design our roadways to be safer for all. Further, we need to launch public health and education campaigns to help people understand the gravity of the choices they make on the road to speed, text, or engage in distracted driving.

5. The New Mexico DOT is currently pursuing a pair of projects related to Interstate 25, following the South I-25 Corridor Study that calls for the widening of Interstate 25 in Albuquerque from Sunport to the Big I, to 8 lanes from the current 6. Do you support urban freeway widenings, or how would you prefer NMDOT enhance transportation options in this corridor?

Urban freeway construction and expansion in the United States has a long and fraught history that has historically impacted marginalized groups and neighborhoods the most. While I believe in maintaining infrastructure that works for all, the best way to do this is not by relying on expanding roads but by incentivizing public transit, biking, walking, and carpooling. It will take longer, but if we build the right infrastructure, and work on the cultural changes need to move people away from car transportation, we’ll see changes in the usage of our freeways and roads.

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