City Council Candidate Question 3: Active Transportation Plan Funding

3. Albany’s Active Transportation Plan (ATP) ( was approved by City Council in Spring 2012. Are there particular elements of this plan that you support or oppose? Most projects included in the ATP are unfunded. Would you fund implementation of these projects? If so, how?

[Sheri Spellwoman] I support Albany’s ATP. I want to have safe bicycle and pedestrian routes throughout the city to allow and encourage residents to walk, cycle and/or use all other wheeled devices (besides cars) to get to Albany schools, community facilities, the library, the community center, the waterfront, parks and the commercial districts. I want to fully fund our ATP, and will work with community groups and City staff to explore funding options including grants and allocations from the general fund.

[Pete Maass] I can support all of the elements in the plan. A small quibble might be the later placement of Dartmouth improvements on the list. Given it’s critical connection for cyclists going to any future store at the UC development, from east of San Pablo, I think that it would be good to work this out sooner as opposed to later. I will look for ways to fund implementation. One idea, that I’ve proposed, is taking at least half of the future net revenues from the UC development and spend them on implementing our ATP and Climate Action goals. I would have the Traffic and Safety and Sustainability Committees monitor this.

[Peggy Thomsen] As a sitting council member, I voted to approve the plan because it contains detailed information on current situations and recommendations for the future. Bicycle routes are particularly detailed; since this was the first time walking routes were formally addressed, in the future I would like to see additional attention given to walking routes. There are a variety of sources for funding projects, and city staff and council regularly seek to obtain funding from these sources. Council members serve on regional bodies which allocate regional, state, and federal funds to local jurisdictions; when I served on Congestion Management Agency we received funds for Albany projects. The city often uses capital improvement fund monies to fund transportation projects and regularly seeks grants for transportation projects.

[Nick Pilch] I support all the elements of the plan. In particular, I am excited that low-cost paint and signage improvements have been placed into the new Capital Improvement Plan. These improvements are the low-hanging fruit – easily done at low cost, but would bring immediate significant benefits for bicyclists. I would fund implementation of ATP projects. If Measure B1 passes, transportation funding to Albany is set to more than double. This will certainly be a source of funding. The city has also been very successful obtaining grants for transportation projects, such as intersection improvements, Ohlone Greenway lighting, etc. I will make sure these opportunities continue to be pursued.

[Michael Barnes] Sorry, campaigning takes a lot of time, and I’ve got to get these questions done before the P&Z meeting, so I don’t have time to evaluate the ATP in depth. It is a very extensive document.

[Tod Abbott] I like the Active Transportation Plan. My concern, though, is that it is so extensive and some of the plan would be so expensive, that it could be challenging to get the different elements in place. My strategy for this would be to role out the plan progressively, identifying core features that should be undertaken first — a root network of class III bikeways, for instance — then build upon that as funds allow — adding more streets and hardscape as money allows.
To the degree general fund monies might be needed (as opposed to money from outside programs or grants), we need to remember that the bikeways and other features are not just a feature to benefit bicyclists and pedestrians, the support they provide will be crucial to our success meeting our Climate Action Plan goals. So the question becomes one of just how committed we are to achieving those goals. I think that is an argument that the people of Albany would understand and could work to pull moderate funding from other areas to begin to implement the ATP.

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