Kathy Miller – 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 get around Petaluma by walking, biking and driving, depending on the weather and circumstances. I frequently ride my bike to work. I also occasionally use Petaluma Transit and I used SMART about three times per month to go to San Francisco for business prior to the pandemic.


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 and walking has always played a role in my vision for future development in Petaluma. As a member of the City Council for the last almost 8 years, I have worked toward improving roads and multi-use trails to make walking and biking safer and easier for our community. We continue to build and encourage in-fill development that is bikeable and walkable and close to public transit. We have and will continue to aggressively pursue Complete Streets funding, continue to improve our roads and require new roads to have protected bike lanes.


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

Our biggest transportation challenge is traffic. Having a city that is separated by a river and the 101 Highway makes getting across town difficult and makes for increased traffic on the few cross-town connectors we have. We have opportunities to build two more cross-town connectors – one at the south end of town at Caulfield and one in the center of town at Rainier. My vision for those connectors includes protected bike lanes. When I ride my bike, I do not feel very safe on Lakeville and D Street, East Washington or Corona. I use the Lynch Creek Trail to go from the east to the west side of town. I also have advocated for and will continue to advocate for repairs to the Lynch Creek Trail. Right now, it is by far the safest way for bicyclists and pedestrians to get across town. I will also continue to support in-fill development close to public transit so people do not have to use their cars as frequently.


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

We have been able to use the proceeds from the gas tax and Measure M to improve our streets. We repaved Sonoma Mountain Parkway last year, are currently repaving Maria Drive and will be repaving North McDowell next year. If the extension of the transportation tax passes, much more money will go to local road repair than has gone in the past and we will see an increase in road repairs in Petaluma. The City Council has also placed a sales tax measure on the ballot for this November. If re-elected to the City Council, I will vote for a large sum of that money to go to road repair. We have also secured grants that help make our traffic lights work more efficiently, which helps move traffic more effectively throughout town.


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

As the Petaluma Board Member on the SCTA, I voted in favor of the extension of the transportation tax. We held multiple meetings with numerous stakeholder groups as well as many board meetings where we discussed the allocations of the measure. I am pleased with the amount of money in the measure for local roads, bicycle and pedestrian projects and public transit. If the measure passes, we will use the money to improve and repair our local roads, improve our bicycle and pedestrian trails and provide enhanced bus service in Petaluma.


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

I’ve been a tireless advocate for street safety, bicycling and walking issues in Petaluma (and in the County) and will continue to be if re-elected. I have served several stints on our Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee as the City Council Liaison, have served as the Council Liaison to the Transit Advisory Committee and am currently the Council Liaison to the Petaluma Parks, Music and Recreation Commission. I’ve also served as a Planning Commissioner and been the Council Liaison to the Planning Commission. I’ve been a Board Member of the SCTA and RCPA since 2015 and serve on the Executive Committee of both those boards. One of my primary focuses since being elected in 2012 has been moving people safely around our community. It will continue to be one of my primary focuses if re-elected because it is a top priority of my constituents and improves their quality of life.


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? 

Bicycling and walking play a huge role in addressing the climate crisis. The vast majority of GHG emissions come from cars. If we can get people out of their cars and make them feel safe walking and biking, we can reach our climate goals much faster.


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

I define transportation equity as looking at the decisions we make regarding transportation through a lense of equity and making sure we take into account the impacts of the transportation decisions we are making on people with limited options and finances. In Petaluma, one of the things we are interested in doing if the transportation measure passes is a free fare program for students and seniors. We cannot afford this program without additional funding. In Petaluma, it also means building affordable housing that allows people to live and work in town and have easy access to biking, walking and public transit.