In July of 2007, I joined one of the most effective transportation advocacy organizations in the tri-state region. Ten years later, it’s time for me to say goodbye. This year will be my last as executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.
For almost a quarter-century, TSTC has been on the front lines of the region’s most pressing transportation challenges: highway expansion, inadequate transit investment, high pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities, poor agency planning and traffic congestion. It has been a privilege to work toward transportation reform in the region and to share in many victories in the last 10 years, such as
- Complete Streets policies enacted at the state, county, municipal and departmental levels across the region
- the launch of CTfastrak, the first true bus rapid transit corridor in the tri-state region
- securing a commitment to transit on the new Tappan Zee Bridge
- Citi Bike’s implementation and success
- increased funding for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure in state budgets and agency capital plans
- the proliferation of transit-oriented development in the region’s suburbs
- funding to convert the Sheridan Expressway in the South Bronx into a boulevard
- the passage of Vulnerable User laws in New York and Connecticut
- the conversion to all-electronic tolling on MTA bridges and tunnels
- 320 miles of Circuit Trails planned, designed or constructed
- improved rider representation on agency boards such as MTA and New Jersey Transit
- and a long-overdue gas tax increase in New Jersey
Yet my most rewarding victory has been being part of, and leading, a team of the most intelligent, committed, tenacious, sharp, altruistic colleagues who accomplished this, and much more.
I leave this role thankful for the opportunity to better understand and explain how bad transportation policy decisions disproportionately impact the lives of the poor, ability-impaired, people of color, children and seniors. But I’m also grateful to have learned the tools to help undo and prevent these impacts, and I’m proud to have led an organization that helped start this conversation and shape this awareness.
Regardless of what comes next for me, I will always be an advocate, and I will continue to apply the lessons and knowledge I’ve absorbed during my tenure at TSTC.
While I will plan to step down during this calendar year, I have not set a departure date, and will remain at TSTC until a transition of leadership takes place.
Finally, I would like to thank the extraordinary TSTC staff, board and numerous civic, community, elected and agency partners for your support during these last 10 years. We sometimes call ourselves a “watchdog” organization, but as much as advocacy is about vigilance, it is also about optimism. We need that now more than ever.