Candidate Questionnaire: Manuel Chavez
City Council District 4
What is your vision for Costa Mesa’s transportation infrastructure in 2050? If elected, what will you do to prepare Costa Mesa for that future?
My vision for Costa Mesa includes an OCTA Streetcar going down to Harbor Blvd, protected bike paths on major streets like Harbor, Fairview, Placenta, 19th, and Victoria and a community that prides itself on being more walkable and pedestrian-friendly.
According to recent estimates released by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, from 2020 to 2021, motor vehicle fatalities rose 10.5%, bicyclist fatalities rose 5%, and pedestrian fatalities rose 13% (https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/early-estimate-2021-traffic-fatalities). If elected, what will you do to address these worrying trends?
We need to create more infrastructure to protect cyclists and pedestrians. This can take the form of bulb-outs, planting trees to have additional protection between the street, and pedestrians and having better light intervals that prioritize pedestrians and cyclists. I am also a collaborative leader and always take seriously ideas Brough forward by our residents, and look forward to hearing yours.
Many Costa Mesa residents complain of cut-through traffic and speeding on the streets near their homes. How do you think Costa Mesa should address these complaints?
On Meyer Street, upon my request the city installed street calming measures including roundabouts, painted bulb-outs and bollards for speeding. These measures make it so cars drive slower and avoid using smaller streets to cut through traffic. My goal is to continue these improvements on other streets in my district like Hamilton, Wallace, and Pomona.
Nationally, about a third of all car trips are two miles or less. Do you think Costa Mesa should encourage more people to make these short trips on foot, by bike or via transit, and if so, how would you pursue that goal?
A better biking network, a better transit system, and improvements to make streets safer to walk are all ways we can reduce the volume of car traffic. We can further pursue this goal by having more walkable restaurants and grocery stores near residents.
This year, the City hired a new Active Transportation Coordinator and devoted approximately $3,150,000 of the Capital Improvement Budget to active transportation projects. Do you think the City is spending too much or too little on active transportation? Why?
Infrastructure is a tangible investment that community members appreciate. The city is making progress and investing in active transportation, but there is always more we can do. I believe we should pursue further active transportation projects like protected bike paths and other alternatives to getting around by car.
Should children be encouraged to walk, bicycle or take transit to school? Why or why not?
Children often walk to schools in my district. We need to make it safer for them by providing more crossing guards, more safe routes, and continue the city's creation of protected bicycle lanes and paths.
Electric bicycles (or ebikes) have surged in popularity during the pandemic, bringing new bicyclists of all ages onto our streets. What, if anything, should the City do to respond to this trend?
E-bikes are an excellent way to get more people interested in alternative modes of transportation. The City of Costa Mesa should work with local partners to increase education in the community about e-bikes and safety. I would advocate for creating more bike specific lanes or paths to keep e-bikes separate from vehicles and pedestrians.
What role do you think public transportation will play in in the future of Costa Mesa and Orange County, as a whole? What are your thoughts on buses, light rail, micro transit, street cars, or similar modes in Orange County?
We need more options for transit by rail, bus or streetcar. As mentioned before I am supportive of having the OC Streetcar go down Harbor Boulevard and connect Costa Mesa to more of Orange County. I am also in favor of increasing OCTA bus service and believe people will not use public transit until it is more convenient than driving. So as a county and city we have to provide safe and convenient alternatives to vehicles.