Carlos Diaz Providence City Council Candidate Ward 8
RIBike: Active transportation, such as bicycling and walking and safe bike-pedestrian infrastructure, enhances quality of life and addresses issues such as affordability, equity, access, health, climate change and the safety of our streets. It also helps move our city toward a carbon neutral future. In your view, what can Providence do to actively encourage more people to bike and walk? What would you do to ensure residents have transportation options?
CD: As a biker myself (this month I have ridden over 250 miles) I can attest that even know there has been some improvement, people still feel unsafe while walking and cycling in our city. It can also be unpleasant, slow, and inconvenient in most places. I believe that if we can provide a safer environment for bicycling, and walking there is going to see dramatic increase of people using their bike and walking around the city. We need to address. Some of the issues at the state level, for example making sure our residents can count with a good public transportation system that they can afford. We all need to get involve in the traffic pattern design in our neighborhoods.
RIBike: What will you do, as a member of the City Council, to participate fully in transportation decisions made at the state level to ensure the needs of all Providence residents are addressed?
CD: I will attend the general assembly hearings and persuade the Providence delegation on making sure they pass bills that will ensure that our residents will continue to have a good and reliable transportation system.
RIBike: In light of the tragic death of a small child on the East Bay Bike Path, what measures would you propose to make it safer for children to bike to school and for recreation? What responsibility do you think the City Council / Mayor has to improve access and safety for all road users?
CD: We need to start, and education campaign so that drivers create can be very aware of people that are using their bikes to work, school or pleasure, there is a need to help people understand how to share the roads. In our city, there is a need to have more signs and traffic lights that could help the people that are walking and bicycling is safer.
RIBike: How do you feel about replacing on-street parking with bicycling facilities such as dedicated bike lanes, protected bike lanes, bike corrals, and so on? Give us some insight into your decision making process and how you plan to balance the opinions of residents and business owners.
CD: We need to be fair to both sides; as a biker I would love to have dedicate space to bike throughout the whole city. But, we also need to take into consideration. The problem of t limited parking spaces. I believe with proper planning we can achieve a balance, maybe there could be dedicated bike lines during part of the day or maybe the city could offer other alternative parking for costumers and residents in the area.
RIBike: According to the League of American Bicyclists, the U.S. bicycle industry contributes approximately $133 billion annually to the U.S. economy by supporting over 1 million jobs; generating nearly $18 billion in federal, state, and local taxes; and providing nearly $47 billion for meals, transportation, and lodging purchases during bike trips and tours. Additionally, studies show people on bicycles spend more per month in local business districts than those arriving by other modes. What steps would you take to ensure that local businesses in your district benefit from better access by people who bike?
CD: There is no question that bicycle tourism is an important economic resource, there is so much you can do and explore on a bike than driving around in your car. I will work to ensure safe and interesting places to ride. We can improve on-roads condition and build more shared-use trails and promote bike to a business week.
RIBike: Providence City Council passed a Complete Streets resolution in 2012. How do you propose to ensure that Planning, DPW, and RIDOT fully utilize Complete Streets designs when working on city streets? How would you codify and strengthen the city’s position on Complete Streets? Please share how you prioritize walking, transit, bicycling, driving, and parking in your decisions.
CD: We need to work with the community, bicycle organization, state, and city government to make sure all the proper streets designs is met. We need to have a task force to supervise the implementation of the plan. I will like to see the priority of the design as follows; we need to take under consideration first people that are walking, second driving, bicycling, and parking.
RIBike: Do you have a biking or walking related story you’d like to tell? Want to go for a ride sometime?
CD: I have been riding on the Washington Secondary Trail for some time, but never reach the end point. The other day I was determined to do it, along the way I fell of my bike, got some bruises and felt some pain. I almost did not make it to the finish line, but I continue until I reached the end. It was a great feeling of accomplishment. I took a selfie just to show my friends that I was able to make the 33 plus miles journey. I have been bicycling about 65-100 miles a week and I love it more and more every time, I love it so much that I’m buying a better road bike.