Brian Barnacle – 2020 City Council

On behalf of the group, we asked pertinent questions of the City Council candidates who are running in the Tuesday, November 3rd election.

The questions:

How do you get around Petaluma?

I truly enjoy walking and I ride my bike for some local transportation. Because I feel very unsafe riding my bicycle in Petaluma – due to poor road quality, poor signage, bike lanes that end abruptly, and a general lack of awareness for bicycles – I rarely ride my bike across town.


What role does bicycling and walking play in your vision for the future development of Petaluma? If elected what strategies/tools/resources would you utilize to realize this vision?

I would love for Petaluma to become a bike friendly city. In my opinion, the greatest challenge to increasing bicycle usage in town is that our roads are extremely unsafe. That said, about 70% of the trips that start in Petaluma end in Petaluma and are less than five miles (SCTA, 2019). This is a huge opportunity to shift these trips from vehicles to bicycles. I think a logical first step is to ramp up our safe routes to school program, and I have been in contact with the School Board and the safe routes program administrator about this.

Luckily, SB 743 opens the door for us to ramp up our investments in alternate transportation. SB 743 requires Cities to use Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) instead of Level of Service (LOS) when assessing transportation impacts. This means that to mitigate impacts from new development, fees collected must be used to reduce VMT (versus reduce traffic delays). This means that money could be used for measures that shift vehicle trips to bicycle trips (like safe routes to school). This is something I have already started championing with the City of Petaluma and other stakeholders. If elected, I would continue pushing for this type of funding mechanism to fund bicycle safety and advocacy initiatives.


What are Petaluma’s biggest transportation challenges? What policies or projects would you promote to address these challenges?

Safety. Our main thoroughfares are unsafe. While the council boasts about “complete streets”, few who rely on cycling would suggest that our roads are safe. I am a big proponent of safe routes to school because (1) if we make it safe for children it is safe for adults and (2) children are the future so we should be encouraging them to make cycling a habit.


Petaluma streets are increasingly congested and worn if elected, how would you propose to improve infrastructure in the City?

Building on prior answers, I would focus on safe routes to school and creating protected bike lanes on major thoroughfares. The general plan update is a critical process to ensure we adopt the POLICIES that will address the needs of Petaluma cyclists.


What is your position on SCTA’s Go Sonoma sales tax measure and what should Petaluma use the money for if it passes?

I originally opposed Go Sonoma because it did not include provisions that limited money from being spent on projects that do not reduce emissions and improve safety. That has changed and, as a result, I am a strong proponent of Measure DD. I want to use measure DD to build the most impressive bike/ped network in the County (and a leading model for the Bay Area and beyond). I also want to make our roads safer by filling potholes and sidewalk cracks, renovating the Corona overcrossing, and building a Caulfield bridge.


Why should people who care about street safety, bicycling and walking issues vote for you?

Because I was the first candidate to publish anything about street safety on website, and I continuously say that the best climate policy for Petaluma is to focus on street safety (and climate is my top priority).


What role do you think bicycling and walking play in addressing the climate crisis? How can these forms of active transportation help the city meet its climate goals?

60%-70% of Petaluma’s emissions are from transportation. We cannot address climate change if we do not get people out of their cars. Climate is my top priority. If you want progress on these issues, vote for me. The incumbents have created these problems and have said nothing about how they will fix them. They say we can’t. The only reason we can’t make our streets more bikeable is if they are reelected.


How would you define transportation equity, and how would you work to improve it in Petaluma?

Transportation equity considers the fair and appropriate distribution of impacts resulting from our transportation and land use policies and decisions. It considers the intersectionality of environmental, social and economic issues, and strives to ensure the impacts are just. The incumbent council members scoff at important topics like this, and that is a major reason I am challenging them for their seat. They have voted to push affordable housing away from services and transit in favor of building luxury apartments in our downtown – a racist land use practice that we should not tolerate in our town.

I will address transportation equity issues by making equity and safety at the forefront of my policy and project approvals.