The keynote speaker will be longtime transportation advocate Charles Komanoff of New York City.
Komanoff is widely known for his work as an energy-policy analyst, transport economist and environmental activist in New York City. He “re-founded” NYC’s bike-advocacy group Transportation Alternatives in the 1980s, co-founded the pedestrian-rights group Right Of Way in the 1990s, and wrote or edited the landmark reports Subsidies for Traffic, The Bicycle Blueprint, and Killed By Automobile. Earlier, Komanoff gained prominence for deconstructing the disastrous economics of nuclear power in the United States as author-researcher and expert witness for states and municipalities across the U.S.
“Charlie’s work - in cycling, energy and transportation - has been nothing short of profound. Rarely do we find people who have such cache as both an academic and an activist,” said Richard Fries, executive director of MassBike.
Komanoff's current work includes modeling and advocacy for rational traffic pricing and expanded public transit investment in New York City, in tune with the practical vision of the late renowned civic activist Ted Kheel. He also directs the Carbon Tax Center, a clearinghouse for information, research and advocacy on behalf of revenue-neutral carbon taxes to address the climate crisis.
Leading the opening panel of the day on Mass Mobilization: Working Within the System will be Joel Barrera.
Barrera is the Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Innovation in the office of Governor Charlie Baker. One of his projects there is to lead a cross-Administration Trails Team. The goal of the trails team is to develop one vision and one action plan to facilitate the development of paved and improved trails across the Commonwealth. The Trails Team includes members from the Governor’s office, MassDOT, EEA, and DCR. Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito have made trail construction a signature issue of the Administration, and the Governor recently made history by touting trails as part of his 2018 State of the Commonwealth speech.
Joel has worked on trails policy issues for more than 20 years. In the 1990’s, as Director of the Senate Post Audit and Oversight Bureau he helped preserve MBTA right of way from being sold off. As a member of the MWRA Board of Directors, Joel spearheaded an innovative program that allowed towns to convert more than 25 miles of abandoned and backup aqueducts into passive recreational corridors. Joel lives in downtown Natick and looks forward to the completion of the Cochituate Rail Trail.
"Never before have so many elements of trail development lined up so well in Massachusetts as right now," said Fries. "And Joel Barrera is playing a key role in that development."
Randy Neufeld, the internationally renowned super-advocate from Chicago, will lead the final panel discussion on the impact of disruptive bicycle technology in the 21st Century.
Neufeld has been a leading proponent of infusing electric assist and cargo bikes into the metropolitan transportation stream. He led one of the most applauded panel discussions at the 2017 Places for Bikes Conference in Wisconsin.
“We are all seeing the steady infusion of cargo bikes, e-bikes and bike share on our streets and paths. Having studied such implementation throughout Europe and Asia, Randy’s international knowledge on these topics is profound. With UPS launching North American pilot projects for e-assist cargo bikes, the next decade could transform urban streetscapes,” said Fries.
Neufeld is the director of the SRAM Cycling Fund. He started his career as a cycling advocate in Chicago at the Active Transportation Alliance, formally known as the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation. He began as executive director in 1987, and then served as chief strategy officer from 2004 through 2009. He continues to be active as a board member. During over 20 years of NGO leadership in Chicago, he gained experience working in all aspects of cycling promotion including planning, mapping, safety, marketing, design, policy, lobbying and funding.
With the support of SRAM, Neufeld continues as a leader in cycling advocacy in Chicago, nationally, and internationally. He is president of America Bikes, the national coalition working to grow cycling through national transportation policy and funding. He is also the strategy manager for the National Complete Streets Coalition. Neufeld serves on the Chicago Bicycle Advisory Council, the Chicago Pedestrian Advisory Council and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning Transportation Committee. He was the founding chair and is a current board member of the Alliance for Biking and Walking, a North American coalition of pedestrian and bicycle advocacy groups formerly known as the Thunderhead Alliance. He also chairs the state advocacy committee of the National Partnership for Safe Routes to School.