A Q&A with our new Program Manager
We’re thrilled to welcome Tiffany Smith to the Vision Zero Network team as our full-time Program Manager, starting August 8, 2022.
Tiffany will focus on Vision Zero Network priorities of advancing racial and income equity in our work and safe mobility efforts across the nation, and supporting communities working toward Vision Zero, including shifting to a Safe System approach and facilitating peer exchanges and developing resources for public sector staff and community advocates working for safety.
Based in Queens, NY, Tiffany brings public health program management experience, along with an advocacy and research skill set. Prior to joining Vision Zero Network, she spearheaded a variety of community engagement and empowerment initiatives with Covid-19 case management and led advocacy efforts to expand access to comprehensive family planning services throughout NYC.
VZN: What drew you to this position with Vision Network?
Tiffany Smith: I was particularly drawn to the underlying optimism within the mission and team of the organization, to the collaborative approach that Vision Zero Network takes in helping communities reach their mobility justice goals, and to the sense of community cultivated in the work itself. Moreover, I really appreciated the organization’s intentionality in developing a position to prioritize racial and economic equity within their Vision Zero projects and initiatives.
VZN: What excites you most about this work?
TS: In a world where it can often feel like social injustices are permanent, it’s incredibly valuable to have an advocacy network you can tap into to brainstorm strategic approaches, share best practices, and to discuss lessons learned. So, while I’m really looking forward to engaging with and supporting communities in their advocacy efforts, I’m equally excited to learn from the safe mobility advocacy community more generally.
VZN: Are there any experiences you can share that have shaped your own thinking about people’s everyday mobility and how we can make sure everyone is safe moving around their communities?
TS: Prior to the pandemic, the subway was essentially the only mode of transportation I used because I lived and worked in different boroughs. However, with the onset of remote work, I find myself utilizing intra borough travel: taking the bus, using citi bikes, or walking to most destinations. In doing so, I’ve often felt unsafe crossing intersections in my own neighborhood as many lack crosswalks. I’ve observed an increase in available bike rental stations, but without an increase in bike lanes, and I observe more people riding bikes or scooters on the sidewalk.
And while intra borough travel is already known to be inequitable, discourse surrounding transportation equity in NYC has often focused on subway access and excluded above ground transportation from the conversation. For me, a community that exercises mobility justice is a community that underscores safety, equity, and accessibility for all forms of transportation and mobility from the subway to the sidewalk.
VZN: Living in NYC, the first U.S. community to commit to Vision Zero, what are some ways that you’ve seen local efforts make a difference?
TS: As a current Queens resident, initially what comes to mind for me are all the changes done to Queens Boulevard. Since it was reorganized with shorter crosswalks, larger medians, and the bike lanes moved to the center, that has made a huge difference in how safe I feel biking there.
As a former Brooklynite, I was also fortunate to witness the completion of additional bike lanes along Flatbush Avenue, which made commuting in Brooklyn much easier. Prior to that, I never would have felt it safe enough to bike to downtown Brooklyn from the Prospect Park area.
While the physical changes made were straightforward, they had such a tangible impact on my ability to bike safely. Ultimately, the effect of those changes is what motivates me to continue to push for even more Vision Zero oriented changes in my own community and around the country.