I made many sacrifices when I chased my dream and moved to San Francisco.
I gave up a large downtown apartment where I lived alone affordably and comfortably. I moved away from several wonderful friends (although many of them have since departed from Milwaukee as well). Perhaps most painfully, I made the decision to leave a job in alternative transportation.
To fill that void, I began volunteering with and/or attending events by several sustainability-minded organizations in California in my spare time. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, TransForm, Sunday Streets, The SF Green Film Festival, 18 Reasons, CUESA, GRID Alternatives…you can take the environmentally-friendly job away, but you can’t kill the passion.
Out of all of these, discovering that Walk San Francisco existed made me so glad I moved to a city that valued, at least on some level, pedestrian advocacy. And well it should. With 21 pedestrian deaths in 2013, those without a voice need one more than ever. Really, everyone in the city should be a member of Walk SF. After all, we are all pedestrians. We should not take our walkable community for granted. Pedestrians need a place at the table.
I’ve loved getting involved with this small but scrappy organization. It began by chatting with their reps at Sunday Streets, I believe, then attending some of their monthly walks to get to know my new city. Perhaps then it elevated into policy concerns and emailing my elected officials. Then last year, I participated in the Walk to Work Day Task Force and served as a leader for the Peak 2 Peak Walk. I enjoyed exposing my friends and network to the benefits of having an advocacy group available to speak up for their needs.
So in December, when I was asked to consider joining the Walk San Francisco board, I couldn’t say “no.” I know this is somewhere where I can make a lot of impact and dig into my passion for building a better community through transportation equality. And I’m so honored that on Tuesday evening, the current board elected me as their newest member. I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves (or socks) and get to work!