John Guequierre District 19
How candidates move around the city
When was the last time you took the bus?
December 5, 2022
When was the last time you rode your bike to work, to school, or for an errand?
December 2, 2022
What is the primary way you move around the city?
Madison Bikes questions
Complete Green Streets:
Question: Madison recently adopted a Complete Green Streets policy that prioritizes walking, biking, transit, and green infrastructure over driving and car parking when it comes to allocating our public right of way. Are you committed to implementing this policy, especially when a project requires the removal of car parking or inconveniencing drivers?
I am prejudiced about Green Streets. As an avid recreational biker who bikes to shopping, meetings, seminars, and concerts, when possible, I love our Madison bike lanes and paths. Despite a rather nasty biking accident in 2020, I went back out as soon as possible, although I need to recognize that age and winter ice are not a good mix. My wife and I chose our home location to maximize our ability to walk to needed services. Likewise, I prefer to use Metro when the destination is a good fit. I have studied Green Streets closely, and enthusiastically endorse the goals and trajectory for development. Let’s maximize the implementation of Green Streets, using education and logic to, as much as possible, avoid generating a scale of opposition that halts our progress.
Question: Madison committed to eliminating all fatalities and serious injuries from traffic crashes by 2035. Yet in 2022, 14 people were killed, including 3 people riding bikes, and 74 were seriously injured. Which roadways and intersections in your district should be prioritized for safety improvements, and what strategies would you use to ensure improvements are implemented?
District 19 is relatively safe for biking, although there was a fatality in an adjoining district on Mineral Point Road. The main thoroughfares connecting to the isthmus include wide bike/bus lanes on Mineral Point, Old Sauk, and University, that allow convenient access to the major separated bike paths. North-south lanes are not quite as safe, but not scary. Intersections on Mineral Point Road are the most problematic, but the recent reduction in the speed limit may help. I’ve studied Vision Zero and support it.
Question: Madison Bikes wants all residents to have access to a low-stress bike network that makes biking safe and convenient for people of all ages and abilities, no matter where they live in the city. Where in your district do you see major gaps in this network and how would you propose to fix these gaps?
Overall, as noted above, biking in District 19 is relatively safe and convenient. Other districts may deserve a higher funding priority. The one situation that will deserve study is the impact of BRT frequency in the lanes shared with bikes on Mineral Point Road.
Transportation Climate Impact:
Question: In Madison, about 40% of greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation. How do you think the city should go about reducing emissions from that sector over the next 5 years?
A key component would seem to be follow-through with Transit Oriented Development, with it’ emphasis on encouraging the substitution of walking, biking and public transportation for automobile traffic with supporting infrastructure and the encouragement of development along prime public transit corridors. The other important component would be encouraging the substitution of electric and hybrid vehicles for gas and diesel vehicles, including busses. That effort probably requires some attention to the availability of charging infrastructure.
Madison is for People questions
Question: There have been conflicts between the priorities of promoting new housing development and preserving historically significant buildings and neighborhoods in recent years. What specific factors would you consider when balancing new development against preservation, and how much weight would you give to the different factors?
The recent Common Council debate and approval of the TOD Zoning Overlay (I watched the entire session) and the Landmark designation application for the Filene building are clear examples of this tension. I would want to consider (1) the opportunity to develop more affordable housing, (2) development that advances our approved transportation plans, and (3) the extent to which a proposed development reduces historic inequities. Looking at the details of the Hill Farms historic district, I tend to think that the protections inherent in the designations will preserve most of the desirable historic features in the TOD zoning overlay. Part of the Common Council’s obligation is to educate the electorate on the benefits and sacrifices in proposed developments, realizing that time-delay tactics are often used to thwart needed change.
Question: The City’s 2022 Housing Snapshot indicated that more housing was needed at all income levels, including both affordable housing and market rate housing. What is your plan to ensure housing is built that is available at all income levels?
I have spent 40 years building housing and other structures in every conceivable price range and the last 25 years focused on affordable and sustainable housing – single-family, multi-family, rental, owner-occupied. In my experience, that I hope to bring to the Council, there are four factors. First, is technology and building codes, probably my greatest expertise. We need to periodically review our codes to assure that they enable the deployment of the latest, useful, building technologies. That has some benefit for construction costs and even greater benefit for increasing the pace of new construction (or rehabilitation). Second, is density. Lot size, allowable living unit size, setbacks, building height, and other criteria are critical. Density is also the most politically difficult to adjust. I participated in the public opinion gathering for the Odana Plan and Greater East Towne Plan, and I’m registered to participate in the West Area Plan that particularly affects District 19. I’m very impressed with the efforts that are being invested in these plans and the thoughtful consideration for density and a range of housing choices. Third, is preserving existing housing where possible. I like the provisions in the new TID51. Fourth, is financing for affordable housing. At least for now, technology is not going to give us really low-cost housing. We will need to encourage every available financing tool from grants to TIF districts.
Question: Municipalities across the country, including Portland, Minneapolis, and Charlotte have taken steps to reform zoning by eliminating parking minimums and allowing for small multi-family buildings by-right throughout the city. Would you support similar reforms in Madison? Why or why not?
Revisiting parking minimums is a logical component of transit-oriented-development. That’s where constraining the need for vehicles and the attendant increase in developable space is balanced with the availability of public transit. We are not going to have the financing to provide frequent transit everywhere, and I am concerned that constraining parking spaces in areas more remote from public transit might increase vacancy in those areas, actually hurting our supply of housing. I had a consulting arrangement in Portland in early 2022 involving the design of multi-family housing, owned and rental, and the facilities to prefabricate major parts of the structures. We evaluated whether ADU’s should be a priority, and concluded that Portland’s uptake of the ADU zoning opportunity made that a low priority. Madison is seeing a similar low uptake of the ADU opportunity. The economics of small multi-family structures is challenging. Making them optional everywhere may not yield as big an increase in housing as a focused Increase in the zoning permissions for duplexes, 4-plexes, vertical 3-flats, etc. in the most logical and politically achievable locations.
Madison Area Bus Advocates questions
Question: 2023 brings many significant changes for Metro including the beginning of Bus Rapid Transit implementation, a complete redesign of the transit network, and policy changes such as Transportation Demand Management and Transit Oriented Development. Do you support the current direction of Madison’s transit plans, and what is your vision for Madison’s transit system in the mid and long term?
I have devoted time to studying all active area plans, TDM, TOD, the 2023 Metro route redesign, the first phase of BRT and future phases. I believe they are conceptually strong, and may be the best designs possible within the constraints of allocated funds and grants. Recent public statements by candidates and activists about designing transit around development rather than the reverse, seems to me a prescription for inadequate and inequitable transit, maximized carbon emissions, and even less affordable housing. There is at least a decade of hard work before us just to realize the intent of these plans. Along the way there will undoubtedly be some tweaks to keep the whole process moving toward the desired goals. Unless the Wisconsin Legislature unexpectedly and miraculously makes some changes in revenue-sharing formulae, we are headed toward some very tough budget years that will heap further challenges on staying the course. Vision and courage will be needed.
Question: In the Metro redesign, funding constraints limiting the budget to 2019 levels required compromises in network coverage, hours of service, and frequency outside a handful of core routes. What would you do to establish more sustainable funding to improve Metro’s quality of service?
At this moment, it appears to me that in 2024 when the Common Council develops the 2025 budgets, there will be no interim fix for the structural deficit, and Madison will face some truly painful choices. Searching for sustainable funding when myriad voices are justifying holding on to some piece of their current funding will be stressful. I hope my experience and skills in budgeting and finance will contribute to the debate. In fact, I prefer that we start looking at choices and alternatives now rather than in late 2024. I am impressed with the work that your organizations have invested in analyzing transit systems. If elected, I hope to draw on that expertise as we formulate a path forward.
Question: The Metro network redesign has increased the distance to the nearest bus stop for some residents. This is a major concern for bus riders with limited mobility. What measures would you take to ensure riders with mobility limitations are well-served by our transit system? What do you think the role of paratransit is in this regard?
This is my ninth year on the Wexford Village Homes Association board, and we have been active in educating our members on the impact of Metro redesign. The majority of riders, like me, will walk to their same Route 15 and 68 stops on the new R1. Some will have to walk up to 4 blocks further, and a few will have a shorter walk because of the new R2 route. Transportation was very helpful this last month as I pulled together the full impact of the change for our members. We can live with the redesign in order to get the advantages of BRT and the redesign. Paratransit is already a problem due funding and staffing challenges. We will need to see how we can improve it.