Kevin McDonnell

Name Kevin McDonnell
Candidate for: City Council
1.    Do you ride a bicycle in Petaluma for recreation or transportation?  Why or why not?  What has been your experience? Yes I ride a bicycle.  I ride several Centuries a year including Backroads, the Giro, Wine Country and America’s Most Beautiful (Tahoe).  I ride my bike for transportation as well.  I used to referee a lot of soccer and the bike was the fastest way to get from field to field.  I am a comfortable urban biker.  That said, I totally get why people would be terrified to do what I do.  And with our roads and drivers, I wouldn’t recommend it except to the brave.  I have some stories!!!
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? The past of Petaluma (and California) is car based.  Housing was driven by car needs.  Road design was driven by car needs.  The future must be multi modal (yes I’m a civil engineer and use words like that).  All new housing has to be walk-able and bike-able.  We won’t build anymore housing on the edge of town.  We will build downtown.  When developments come through the Planning process, we must create incentives to move away from cars.  They only create pollution and traffic.  The change must be to de-couple parking spaces from apartment rents, reduce the total parking provided, provide SMART fares to bike users, create central concourses in designs so that cars don’t clog where bike and walkers can be. I founded “Know Before You Grow”, a citizens forum series on the coming development because I think the city Planning process is not adequately communicating with the public.  Our mission is get the public educated and engaged early.  One of our four key values is “mobility for all.”  At our first forum, we brought in Bjorn Griepenburg to speak to bike mobility.  We continue to advocate these values.  I have met with developers to advocate for these ideas.
3.  What are Petaluma’s biggest transportation challenges?   What policies or projects would you promote to address these challenges? Petaluma’s biggest transportation challenge is funding.  Because transportation has been underfunded for years, every road is overcrowded and new paths do not get built.  Current state gas tax is starting to improve the funding.  Repeal of this is on the State ballot in November.  It would be disastrous to Petaluma if SB1 gets repealed.  Good paving surfaces make biking possible.  Flat tires and wrist injuries from bad roads get people off their bikes.overcrossing).  We also need to put a good surface on the Lynch Creek Trail.   I can’t wait for the SMART bike path project from Payran to Southpoint Blvd/McDowell.  SMART owes Petaluma more than it has delivered.  Another pet project of mine is to extend street sweeping to focus on busy biking routes.  Too often road debris makes bike lanes dangerous, so bikers move to straddle the white line.  This angers cars.  If the lanes were swept, both cars and bikers would be happier.
4.  Petaluma streets are increasingly congested and worn if elected, how would you propose to improve infrastructure in the City? I have a two step plan to improve infrastructure.  First continue as I’ve stated above.  Second, the city needs added funding or there are no projects.  Some money can come from grants but a tax is the only real money to fix things.  However, I do not believe that the a city led tax can pass at this time.  Look around, who really trusts city hall?  My plan is to gather the most interested public parties, those with the loudest complaints and provide the facts and ask for solutions.  If these working groups are constructive, they will provide the leadership needed to create a dedicated tax for roads.  This has been done in many cities.  It needs to happen in Petaluma.
5.  Why should people who care about street safety, bicycling and walking issues vote for you? Bicycling and walking advocates should vote for me because I understand the issues, I believe in the mission and mostly because I am already working on the issues.  I can hit the ground running.  I have been in government for more than 30 years.  I know how it works.  I have built bike paths.  Check out the beautiful bay front path from Tiburon to Blackies Pasture.  I designed and constructed that path Biking and walking advocates must recognize I have been advancing these issues with my Know Before You Grow Forum and in all the many Planning meetings that I’ve attended in which I spoke to these issues..   I am experienced; have vision; and am a team player.  I’ll get stuff done!