Abe Smith’s Answers to Salt Lake City 2017 City Council Election Candidate Questionnaire on Bicycling

Abe Smith is running for Salt Lake City Council in District 7.
Abe Smith is running for Salt Lake City Council in District 7.

Abe Smith’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. We will publish the answers on CyclingUtah.com as we receive them. For questions on this, please contact Dave Iltis, 801-328-2066, [email protected]

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.

Abe Smith

[email protected]


Salt Lake City Council District 7

Council Candidate Questions:

  1. 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 a city where folks can get where they are going safely, and quickly on their preferred mode of transportation – cars, cycling and walking.  To accomplish that, we likely need to shift our focus from just the throughput of our various transportation networks, and look also at how easy it is for people to access the places they need to go.  This mindshift might help us to look not just at the transportation networks that we create, but also at using land more effectively to create a city of shorter distances.

  1. What is the biggest issue for cyclists currently in Salt Lake City and what will you do to address it?

A major issue I’m hearing from my neighbors is having safe surfaces to ride on – just a few weeks ago, there was a kid riding his bike in my neighborhood, and hit a huge pothole that ate his bike and tore his face up.  No one is safe so long as our roads are in the shape they are in.

  1. What would you like to see in your district in regards to bicycling?

As a casual and commuting cyclist (before my bikes were stolen!) myself, I’d like to see more communication to residents about the existing bike paths, and how to use their bikes on the buses and Trax lines.

  1. In your district, the following is an issue for cyclists: 2100 S between 1700 E and 2300 E was supposed to get bike lanes according the 2015 Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan. Yet the administration chose not to install them recently.
    What are your thoughts on this and what would you do on the Council to address it?

I was glad to see the administration work hard at collecting input on how to re-stripe that section of 2100 S.  As I mentioned earlier, I hope that we can focus on the principle of making sure residents and visitors can access the places they need to go safely, quickly, and in their preferred mode of transportation – and we need a roads network that can accommodate a wide variety of preferences and modes of transportation.

  1. What cycling initiatives would you bring to the Council?

    I would listen to the neighborhood and bring those initiatives to the council for consideration.  In the past few weeks I’ve knocked on lots of doors and talked with hundreds of neighbors – so far, the two specific cycling things I’ve heard have to do with repairing the road surfaces, and preventing theft of bicycles.

  1. Would you favor strengthening the Complete Streets Ordinance? If so, how? (http://www.bikeslc.com/GetInvolved/MasterPlansandPolicies/PDF/CompleteStreetsOrdinance.pdf)

I haven’t heard from my neighbors about any specific weaknesses of the ordinance that they would like addressed. One thought that I have is making sure that when we actually attempt to incorporate pedestrian and bicycle considerations into the design and development of transportation infrastructure, that we use new types of data to inform the process.  I think new data sources like Strava Metro can help us make good decisions about the use of bicycles in the City.

  1. 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? (https://www.cyclingwest.com/advocacy/cycling-utah-calls-for-10000-wheels-initiative-for-affordable-transportation-in-utah/)

I would certainly champion it if the funding were clear, and fit into the priorities that my neighborhood was communicating to me as their City Council Representative.

  1. 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? (https://www.cyclingwest.com/advocacy/a-proposal-for-a-salt-lake-city-recreational-cycling-plan/)

While I know my children and I would love many of the proposals in the recreational cycling plan – I would look to my neighborhood to see if those proposals fit into the priorities they collectively have.

  1. The 2015 Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan was passed by the Council in 2015. What will you do to ensure its implementation?

Regardless of the Master Plan in question, we should usually stick to them unless there are significant factors or public input that would cause us to consider deviating from it.

  1. Do you ride a bicycle? Tell us more about how and where you ride.
    I used to ride often, but not after my bicycles were stolen!

  2. Is there anything else you would like to add?

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