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New Webinar- Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets

Webinar Title: “Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets”

Date and Time: Friday, May 22nd at 11am Pacific, 2pm Eastern

Register HERE

America Walks is excited to announce the next free webinar in its second series of 2015, “Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets.”  This webinar is part of the “Take Action at the Local Level” webinar series that calls upon individuals to build community and institutional support for walkable design.

Barbara McCann, former Executive Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, and now Director of Safety, Energy, and Environment in Secretary Foxx’s office will lead off with an overview of the DOT’s Action Plan and the Mayor’s Challenge. After summarizing the recent rise both in walking and bicycling for transportation, and in pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities, Barbara will describe the seven strategies that are being implemented by more than 200 participating mayors: enacting Complete Streets policies, addressing safety barriers for people of all ages and abilities, gathering and tracking biking and walking data, using context-appropriate designs, creating complete ped-bike networks, strengthening safety laws, and enforcing proper road use.

After that introduction, we will hear from the mayors of four very different types of cities in the upper mid-west, the south, and the mountain west. Mayor Zachary Vruwink of Wisconsin Rapids, WI will discuss how pedestrian safety and access are supporting his community’s recovery from decades of economic decline. Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton, Jr.’s Bikeway and Pedestrian Program Manager Kyle Wagenschutz will then describe how Memphis is using the Mayors’ Challenge as a springboard to promote health and physical activity in a sprawling southern metropolis of two-thirds of a million. Although Memphis’ near neighbor, the City of Hernando, MS, has a population of just 15,000, Mayor Chip Johnson has made a name for himself by promoting walkable, bikeable communities and is the newest member of the America Walks Board of Directors. Finally, National League of Cities President and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker will explain why alternative transportation is a priority for his administration and his mountain city.

We hope you will be inspired. Our call to action is to check whether your city Mayor is participating in the Challenge and either get involved or get the Mayor involved!

About the Presenters

Untitled1Barbara McCann, Director of the Office of Safety, Energy and Environment in the Office of the US Secretary of Transportation

Barbara McCann serves as Director of the Office of Safety, Energy, and Environment in the Office of U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx. Among other responsibilities, she directs the “Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets” pedestrian and bicycle safety initiative. Prior to joining DOT in January 2014, McCann served as the founding Executive Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, working with groups from AARP to the YMCA to develop and advance the adoption of policies to make streets safe for all users. More than half the states and more than 600 local governments now have Complete Streets Policies. In 2013 Island Press published her book, “Completing Our Streets: The Transition to Safe and Inclusive Transportation Networks.”

Vruwink-PhotoZachary J. Vruwink, Mayor of Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Zachary J. Vruwink was the youngest mayor in Wisconsin Rapids history when he was elected in 2012. He was born, attended school, and launched a successful business career in Wisconsin Rapids, where he serves as a model for his own vision of making the community an attractive place for young adults. At the age of 15, Vruwink founded ZAXX Technology Specialists in downtown Wisconsin Rapids, where the company remains headquartered with employees and locations throughout Central Wisconsin. He has been awarded the Ernst & Young/Junior Achievement Regional Youth Entrepreneur Award, was named to the empact100 list of top young entrepreneurs in the country who were honored at the White House. and was selected as a U.S. representative for the 2011 G20 Young Entrepreneur Summit in Nice, France. Zach is passionate about recreation, entrepreneurship, and citizen engagement.

Johnson-PhotoChip Johnson, Mayor of Hernando, MS

America Walks Board Member Chip Johnson is in his third term as Mayor of the City of Hernando, MS. He has also served as an alderman for the City, and as Legislative Chairman and President of the Mississippi Municipal League. During ten years as a small-town Mayor, Chip has become a national spokesperson for community health and quality of life initiatives, especially those that can be undertaken by local governments. He served as a panelist at the CDC’s Weight of the Nation Conference in D.C. and was present with the First Lady when she announced her Childhood Obesity Initiative in 2010. He is a Board Member of Bike/Walk Mississippi and a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Chip served with distinction in the United States Submarine Service for six years, and is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Wharton-PhotoA.C. Wharton, Mayor of Memphis, TN

A.C. Wharton was elected Mayor of Memphis, TN in a 2009 special election, and re-elected to a full term two years later, with 65% of the vote. He previously served as the Mayor of Shelby County, Tennessee. Wharton holds a B.S. in Political Science from Tennessee State University and a J.D. from the University of Mississippi Law School, where he became the first African American professor of law in 1974. Mayor Wharton’s agenda consists of reinvesting in safe and vibrant neighborhoods, creating jobs and prosperity for all, giving every child a fair start in life, and a high-performing government. After Bicycling magazine ranked Memphis one of America’s worst cities for cycling, Wharton pledged to build over fifty miles of bicycle lanes and launched a new initiative focusing on bicycle and pedestrian safety. In 2010, he hired the city’s first Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, Kyle Wagenschutz.

Wagenschutz-PhotoKyle Wagenschutz, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, City of Memphis, TN

Kyle Wagenschutz is the current Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager for the City of Memphis within the Division of Engineering to create programs, projects, and policies that increase the safety, efficiency, and daily use of walking and bicycling as a means of transportation in Memphis. Kyle was formerly the director of Revolutions Community Bike Shop, helping to  provide affordable bicycles and bicycle repairs to Memphis residents. He is currently Vice President of Bike Walk TN, a state-wide advocacy group focused on improving conditions throughout Tennessee for active transportation through education, political policy, and grassroots campaigning. In 2013, the Association for Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals awarded Kyle with its Young Professional of the Year Award for exceptional accomplishments in the field of walking and biking.

Becker-Photo-ColorRalph Becker, Mayor of Salt Lake City, UT

Ralph Becker has served as the Mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah since 2007. Previously, he was a member of the Utah State House of Representatives, including five years as the House Democratic Leader. A visible and highly regarded national leader among U.S. mayors, Mayor Becker is the current President of the National League of Cities and recently served on the White House Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. As Mayor, he has been a champion for expanding Salt Lake City’s mobility and transportation options, and has focused on sustainability and social justice. During the great recession, Mayor Becker led the Salt Lake City government in addressing the largest budget gap in the City’s history without raising taxes, reducing core City services or implementing significant layoffs. Away from work, Mayor Becker is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hiking, backcountry skiing, and camping in Utah’s wildlands.

We are grateful to the Centers for Disease Control, American Public Health Association, New Jersey Department of Health, and Every Body Walk! Collaborative for sponsoring this program.