Dan Monte

Name Dan Monte
Candidate for: State Assembly
1.    Do you ride a bicycle in Petaluma for recreation or transportation?  Why or why not?  What has been your experience? I live in San Rafael and have taken the SMART train with my bicycle to Petaluma and from there have ridden to various destinations. Three years ago, I bicycled across America, from San Rafael to LA to DC, advocating for Peace and Environmental Justice. I often rode to Petaluma to train for that ride. Recently I have ridden to each of the 5 Sonoma cities in our Assembly District, Petaluma, Cotati, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, and the Town of Sonoma. Rohnert Park is not in this Assembly District though I was there too.  Riding a bicycle is a great way to meet folks. And the infrastructure for bicycling is fairly well developed. Though there were a few places I think could use improvement. Highway 116 from Cotati to Sebastopol and along Lakeville Highway. I think the pathways need to be developed for more casual in-town riding. I have heard others with experiences of group rides in Petaluma speak generally that there are some locations that are not comfortable for bicyclists.
2. 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? Bicycling is an important alternative to auto transportation. As we change our energy use away from fossil fuels, bicycling will become ever more important. Bicycling is important for that last mile of public transportation use. Bicycling infrastructure, safe lanes to school, to work, and to commercial and retail areas are very important and should be prioritized by the State and local municipalities.
3.  What are Petaluma’s biggest transportation challenges?   What policies or projects would you promote to address these challenges? Governor Brown just signed the carbon free energy bill, SB100, which aims to reduce fossil fuel use for electrical generation to zero by 2045.  In 2015 California enacted SB350 that promised to move our transportation system off of fossil fuels. However, the fossil fuel industry turned back efforts to halve petroleum use. California’s attempts to attain 100% carbon free transportation now resides in incentivizing electric vehicles and other forms of transportation, like bicycling and walkable communities. For bicycling, that will require subsidies for infrastructure as well as developing a bicycle culture. We will need more educational opportunities for bicycle safety, for the bicyclists and auto interaction and for bicyclists and pedestrians.
4.  Petaluma streets are increasingly congested and worn if elected, how would you propose to improve infrastructure in the City? Three suggestions:  The 101 corridor is a mess at rush hour morning and evening. I understand that there are plans to widen the highway. Instead, I would prefer that public transportation options were increased, more frequent buses and SMART trains, and more coordination between these systems.  I drove a paratransit bus in Marin where I experienced firsthand the needs of folks who cannot drive or access the public transportation system, mostly elders and folks with disabilities. To connect local areas to major transportation hubs, some communities are now experimenting with on-demand, shared ride transportation models in lieu of regularly scheduled bus routes.  Improve the pedestrian and bicycle pathways from major bus hubs and the SMART train to other parts of town, to aid commuters to work and school, and further to recreational destinations.
5.  Why should people who care about street safety, bicycling and walking issues vote for you? Every segment of a town’s life, the young and old the healthy and disabled, face different transportation challenges. I am an advocate for transportation-oriented design. It is essential that current planning addresses the past mistakes of suburban sprawl. We no longer have the resources to waste. We cannot afford to emit the greenhouse gases. The public spaces of our cities and towns have been dominated by the automobile. We need to reorient our planning to include safe paths and intersections for pedestrians, bicyclists, as well as for the auto. Protected bike lanes make for safer sidewalks for pedestrians and safer streets for motorists. Planning for how people get around increases the sociability of town centers.