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BikeABQ Candidate Survey

Julie Radoslovich

Senate District — Democratic Primary

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

I love to cycle in New Mexico. While my daily biking has waned amid campaigning (walking neighborhoods in my community as I knock on the doors of voters is now my primary method of cardio), when I worked as a principal of Title I South Valley school, I cycled 100 times each year to and from work. During the better part of a decade, I logged around 3,000 miles annually. My commitment to cycling as a means of transportation started when a teacher encouraged me to buy a bike for recreation in 2008. Later, another friend suggested that I bike to work as frequently as possible. I started to track my cycling frequency on a spreadsheet and celebrated every year that I hit the 100-ride threshold. I presently still cycle on the weekends for recreation. I do not mountain bike, but have enjoyed rides in Chama.

I understand the importance of creating spaces that are safe for cyclists. I was fearless on the roads, and learned early on to signal, signal, signal. And I worked very hard at being visible. My students sometimes said I looked like a Christmas tree when I left school in the evening. My first bike was purchased at the Bike Swap hosted by Bike ABQ in April 2008.

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.

At a recent event hosted by Together for Brothers at the Pat Baca Library at Unser and Central, we had a chance to take photos of images that caught our attention. I took a picture of cars speeding westward on Central. There was a bike lane sign visible in the image, but the photo inspired questions of safety. Was this a space optimized for cyclists?

The pragmatic reality is that only diehard cyclists would bike on Central past Coors. It is incumbent upon public officials to creatively integrate secure and accessible paths for cycling and use by families. In Boston, a 2-mile stretch of road near downtown called Memorial Drive is fully closed to vehicles, so families bike safely, without cars, on Sunday afternoons.

Seattle is another major metropolis that has pioneered literal inroads at the intersection of community use, equitable transportation, and climate justice. In their Health Streets program, certain roadways are closed to pass-through traffic but open to pedestrians as well as residents skating, rolling, biking, and/or enjoying outdoor recreation. This template affords more access for public space and thus promotes community and individual health while simultaneously encouraging alternatives to automobile use.

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?

I walk; I cycle; I take public transport. Very simply, the city of Albuquerque is constructed so that the quickest and most convenient methods of transport traditionally involve a car. To reconfigure that paradigm, public transit - and specifically, public transit that embraces electric and other renewable energy sources - must be comprehensively reimagined. Investments in development and cultivation of a thoughtful and accessible public transportation system can spur such a transition.

When I speak with voters, a concern that comes up regularly is the need to slow traffic. We build calming devices but roads have been designed to serve as speedways, and the result is speeding.

To incentivize walking, we need to embrace open spaces and parks so that people have places to walk free of cars. In neighborhoods and parks, we need to think of walking corridors where people have access to larger sidewalks and clear ways to get to points of interest.

For cycling, we need streets that reflect the safety and logistical needs of cyclists. We don’t need every street to have a bike lane, but important corridors should. I myself feel safer cycling on Lead Ave now that it has a clear bike lane, but I still enjoy traveling on Silver Ave simply because the traffic is slower and the beauty of the neighborhood is enticing. I appreciate that I can cross the river from the western side at the Gayle Ryba Bridge.

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?

Many of New Mexico’s streets and highways were created in an age before cell phones. By and large, they also predate contemporary vehicles that are of considerably large dimensions. NMDOT and other agencies in the state must adapt roadway engineering and enforcement away from the antiquated thinking that has led us to the scary, noisy, deadly and ungoverned speeding we see and hear today. Historically, NMDOT and others constructing and maintaining our roads have centered their thinking on the "85th Percentile" concept, designing high-stress, high-speed roads and then determining "speed limits" oriented around the speed 85% of drivers stay within. We must change this approach and retroactively realign our largely intact roadway system away from unchecked speed and uncontrolled noise to one focused on keeping roadway users alive. We need better engineering that expands on proven successful strategies such as the road dieting and traffic calming seen, for instance, on Atrisco Road north of Central in my District 26. We must bolster innovative enforcement that balances civil rights with the rights of our citizens to not be endangered by distracted drivers or find themselves subject to the dangers and noises of constant "racing" on our streets.

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?

The construction of wider roadways inherently means the construction of streets plagued by greater safety concerns. Urban freeway widenings contribute to more substantial carbon footprints and incentivize automobile use over other methods of transportation.

As I knock on doors, poorly maintained infrastructure and speeding traffic is an issue that comes up over and over. The imperative for the Legislature is to create livable communities in which walking and cycling are optimized modes of transport.

As a state, we must make sure that we are taking advantage of federal programs like TAP, a reimbursement program that funds pedestrian and bicycle facilities or related multimodal infrastructure projects. There are already financial motivators to embrace creative and multidimensional approaches to bolstering transportation options in New Mexico.

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