The 6th annual New Jersey Bike & Walk Summit took place on Saturday, February 21, 2015 in New Brunswick, NJ. This event was in collaboration with the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Rutgers University in New Brunswick.
This year’s plenary speaker was US Congressman Albio Sires. Representative Sires hails from the 8th congressional district in New Jersey, and represents the state’s most densely populated areas. His district includes Elizabeth, Hoboken, West New York, Guttenberg, Weehawken, East Newark, Harrison, Bayonne, Kearny, North Bergen, Belleville, Fairview and parts of Newark.
Other featured speakers included Jon Orcutt, Former Policy Director of the NYC DOT, Robert Clark of the Federal Highway Administration, and Susi Wunsch, a Contributor to Bicycling and Momentum magazines and founder of the group VeloJoy.
Participants in the NJBWC Summit had the opportunity to learn more about current state and federal legal and policy issues affecting their communities, became aware of various public funding sources, networked with other advocates, and made connections and developed mutually beneficial relationships that can help your our towns, cities, and state become more bike and pedestrian friendly and therefore, more livable.
Rep. Albio Sires
Born in the Cuban town of Bejucal, Rep. Albio Sires grew up in the waning years of pre-Communist Cuba. His family fled in January 1962 with the help of relatives in America. Congressman Sires became a star basketball player at Memorial High School and received a four-year basketball scholarship from St. Peter’s College. He went on to receive a Masters Degree from Middlebury College in Vermont.
Congressman Sires was a teacher and business owner before entering public service. He proudly served as Mayor of West New York, New Jersey from 1995 to 2006. During that time, the Congressman created more affordable housing units than any municipality in the State of New Jersey by fostering public-private partnerships and the use of targeted tax incentives. Congressman Sires also served in the New Jersey State Assembly, where he served two terms as Speaker of the Assembly. His efforts were recognized by many, including the New Jersey State Bar Association and Legal Services and his fellow Mayors who named him, “Mayor of the Year” in 2004.
Today, Congressman Sires serves on two Committees: Foreign Affairs and Transportation and Infrastructure. The Congressman serves on two Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittees: the Highways and Transit Subcommittee as well as the Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee. He is actively involved in reauthorizing the Surface Transportation bill, supporting increased transit and commuting options, safer streets, and more efficient goods movement. This past year, he introduced the New Opportunities for Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Financing Act of 2014, bipartisan legislation to allow communities to take advantage of low-cost financing for projects that make our streets and sidewalks safer for all users.
Jon Orcutt was Director of Policy at the New York City Dept. of Transportation from 2007 to 2014. Jon oversaw development of NYC DOT’s strategic plan in 2007-2008 and was a leader of the team that delivered major street design and other transportation innovations in NYC during the past seven years. These included major new pedestrian and public spaces along Broadway in Manhattan and throughout the city, weekend pedestrian streets, innovative bike lane designs, a robust and extensive cycling network and a set of new safety programs, including 20mph zones in residential areas. He led the development of CitiBike, the City’s large scale public bicycle program, New York’s integrated pedestrian wayfinding system and Mayor de Blasio’s recent Vision Zero traffic safety policy. Jon also teaches an annual course on contemporary transportation policy issues at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service. Jon has contributed to transportation policy-making reform in New York City and the New York metropolitan area for nearly twenty years.
Since leaving New York City government, Jon has consulted with a variety of governments, organizations and companies on sustainable transportation strategies, including traffic safety, public bike share systems and overall bicycle transportation strategies. He has recently appeared at events in Mexico, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Sáo Paulo and New York.
Prior to joining NYCDOT in 2007, he served as executive director of both Transportation Alternatives and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, overseeing growth and rising influence at both organizations.
Susi Wunsch rides her own bicycle, as well as Citi Bike share, for daily transportation in New York City, and is an avid road cyclist on weekends. In 2010, she founded velojoy.com, a New York City-based website focused on city cycling style and lifestyle.
A passionate advocate for engaging more women in cycling, Wunsch serves on the board of directors of Transportation Alternatives in New York City, on the advisory committee of the national Women Bike program of the League of American Bicyclists and is a member of the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition.
As a writer, Wunsch has contributed to Bicycling Magazine, Momentum Magazine and the fashion website Refinery29.com.