Staff members who work with SGMF
Andrew Yip, Program Coordinator; Wes Reutimann, Project Director
What does your organization do — and how does it relate to SGMF?
Our mission is to support a more bicycle-, pedestrian- and transit-friendly San Gabriel Valley. This focus is driven by our founders and staff’s shared passion for creating more sustainable, healthy, and resilient communities. Given BikeSGV’s geographic and professional focus, it was an easy decision to become an active member of San Gabriel Mountains Forever coalition — to share our expertise in the realm of active transportation and to support it via our local roots (almost all of our staff were born, raised, still live and have family in the San Gabriel Valley).
How do you make life better for Angelenos?
BikeSGV’s work helps lower barriers to leading more active lifestyles by driving less and integrating physical activity into one’s everyday life. We do so by working with communities to improve the safety of streets for all modes of transportation and providing direct educational and encouragement services, such as free City Cycling, Basic Bike Repair, and Learn-to-Bike classes to empower people of all ages and abilities to ride a bike for transportation, recreation, and fun!
What’s the biggest challenge you face in your work and what would make things easier?
The biggest challenge working in the San Gabriel Valley is the sheer number of small communities and municipalities that are contained within the region. Each has distinct politics, city staff, and community makeup, which is constantly shifting. Since residents of the region regularly cross multiple communities in the course of their everyday lives, coordination and cooperation among communities is critical if the Valley is to ever develop a safe, comfortable and convenient regional network of biking, walking and transit infrastructure. One thing that might help facilitate this process would be if the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments or a similar entity would create bike and pedestrian coordinator positions to foster more collaboration between neighboring communities.
Best thing you’ve done as a member of SGMF?
This is a tough one, but one of SGMF projects BikeSGV is most proud of supporting is the development of a new generation of environmental stewards and champions via the Leadership Academy. In addition to having many of our volunteers and most of our staff graduate through the program, we have successfully recruited many other young residents of the San Gabriel Valley to the program.
Think ahead ten years in the future: What will you be proud of your organization for accomplishing?
We’re hopeful one of our legacy projects will be the development of a San Gabriel Valley Regional Greenway Network along the over 100 miles of County storm channels, washes and creeks that feed into the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo watershed. The region is incredibly fortunate to have existing rights-of-way along the watershed, which can be transformed into safe, off-street biking and walking paths. Over the past five years we’ve made great strides in moving a simple but ambitious staff-selected “Priority Project” into a full-fledged campaign with broad community and City support; in 2015 the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments officially included the creation of a regional greenway system into its strategic plan in 2015, and helped earmark over $231 million in Measure M transportation funding towards greenway development.