Emilia Crotty, Policy and Program Manager of Los Angeles Walks. Photo courtesy Emilia Crotty
Los Angeles Walks has been around a while, but only recently hired its first staffer, Policy and Program Manager Emilia Crotty. Keen-eyed readers probably spotted her introductory interview at L.A. Walks’ website last month. In conjunction with L.A. Walks hosting their annual Sidewalk Soirée awards dinner this Saturday, SBLA wants to introduce Crotty to our readership. If you are interested in supporting L.A. Walks, and meeting Emilia Crotty in person, there are still a few tickets available for the Sidewalk Soirée, which honors Los Angeles City Councilmember Felipe Fuentes and walking guide Bob Inman.
Tell our readers about yourself. What’s your background?
Well, like many people here in L.A., I recently fled New York City, where I lived since 1999.
My academic background is in urban public health, but I usually tell people that my professional background is in bikes. In New York, I developed Bike New York’s education program, helped start Bike to School Day with NYCDOT, and launched the city’s bike-sharing system, Citi Bike, where I worked for about three years. I was a voting member of my community board for over five years, and in my spare time I lead bike camping tours for the Adventure Cycling Association.
In 2013, I adopted a dog and started pounding the pavement three times a day, and a lot of my attention turned from bike lanes and sharrows to walking infrastructure – curb cuts, crosswalks, lighting. I’m thrilled now to be focused on walking and accessibility issues with Los Angeles Walks.
Relocating from, was it Brooklyn? What do you miss the most? The least?
Nope, Queens, where I lived for 12 years! I miss the network of people from my block, who were such a constant fixture in my life – those weak ties that create a sense of belonging somewhere. But I do not miss the constant crush of people everywhere you turn in NYC. That place is so crowded all the time! There are many positive aspects to that kind of density, but it can also be pretty exhausting.
What are L.A. Walks’ top priorities for L.A. for 2016?
Our top priority is to reduce the number of people who die or are severely injured while walking in Los Angeles. L.A. Walks is a founding member of the Vision Zero Alliance, a group of community-based and advocacy organizations working to help achieve the City’s goal of zero traffic deaths by 2025. To that end, we are developing campaigns around walkability in Downtown L.A., where construction zones often create hazardous conditions for people walking, and campaigns that address safety for seniors and accessibility for those with physical disabilities.
How can Streetsblog readers get involved with L.A. Walks? Are there opportunities to volunteer? Read more…