Introducing the Southern California Regional Policy Blog

Pauline ChowRye Baerg(Note: Pauline Chow and Rye Baerg joined the Safe Routes to School National Partnership in January 2012 as our new regional policy managers in Southern California.)

As advocates, we are working to strengthen policies and increase funding for bicycling and walking at the local and regional levels. On the ground, our policy work translates into less bicycle and pedestrian injuries, better communities, healthier transportation habits, more informed transportation investment decisions, more bicycle lanes and accessible sidewalks for all Southern Californians.

To create the biggest impact on the region, we engage local partners and elected officials to support active transportation, support stakeholder coalitions related to equity and public health, and bicycle and pedestrian issues, and help you figure out wonky technical stuff, such as transportation finance and policy. Additionally, we are part of a nationwide effort to create safe, sustainable and healthy communities to help Kaiser Permanente’s (KP’s) Healthy Eating And Living grantees achieve their goals. See KP’s fact sheet on Community Health Initiatives (PDF).

After two months in the field, we are inspired by the active transportation movement in Southern California. People really want safe and inviting choices to walk and bicycle to school, to work or to the cafe down the street, so they can get out of their cars. It is exciting to find strong leadership in community members, youth leaders, public health, planners, social equity champions and elected officials who are directing changes in land use policy, transportation investments and policies, and supporting communities that allow for active living. We see phenomenal efforts around Safe Routes to School, joint use and active transportation. A few examples of these efforts are Alliance for a Better Community Joint Use Project, Riverside County’s Safe Routes to School program,  Rancho Cucamonga’s Healthy Kids Healthy Communities program and San Bernardino County Department of Public Health’s Healthy Communities program.  We are excited and inspired each time we find a new partner working hard in their community. Please visit the CA Network microsite for updates on our activities and information on great programs in Southern California.

Our work is strengthened by the addition of community members, youth leaders, advocates and non-profits, public agencies, and private sector voices. If you live in SoCal, we encourage you to join our efforts. Help us tell the SoCal stories to transportation policymakers so everyone can choose to walk or bicycle to school, work and play.

A little more about Southern California’s Regional Policy Managers:

Before joining the bicycle and pedestrian movement with the National Partnership, Pauline began her career as a data geek with stints in database programming and business strategy consulting. She then found her passion for social justice in a variety of roles - affordable housing advocacy, civil rights, health care access and international land use law. Pauline is an avid rock climber and enjoys taking long rides on her road bike.

Polo and Kit

Prior to joining the National Partnership, Rye worked for both the Los Angeles County MTA (Metro) and the Los Angeles Department of City Planning. Rye was the winner of the 2011 Government Worker of the Year award from Streetsblog Los Angeles. Rye’s background in advocacy includes working with Transportation Alternatives in New York City and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. He is currently on the Executive Committee of Walk Bike Glendale.  Rye enjoys gardening and taking long walks with his dogs Polo and Kit.