Board of Directors
Maia Ingram, President
Maia grew up in Tucson walking, biking an using public transit. While Tucson has shown commitment over the years to being a bike friendly city, extensive riding with her family has made Maia keenly aware of the challenges that still face our city and community. Tucson has grown substantially in the past 30 years and Maia is excited about working with others to ensure that as we keep growing, everyone has access to safe streets and places to play. Maia received a Masters in Public Health from the University of Arizona in 1995. Since that time she has worked with communities to help them prioritize their health concerns and pursue sustainable solutions.
Gabriela Barillas-Longoria, Vice-President
“I am inspired by culturally vibrant cities that promote good health. I believe that we can address several societal problems by advocating for health in all policies. My Latina upbringing has led me to advocate for minorities and those in most need. I am excited about working with the community to ensure that everyone has access to safe streets for leisure, work, and play.”
I developed a deep appreciation for active transportation while living in Madrid in 2014. There, I adapted to the Spanish culture and grew to appreciate my one hour commute to work which consisted of walking, taking two trains, and walking more. This experience drew me to become a big proponent of walking. I learned to observe and love the minutia of everyday life; encountering people I would never have crossed paths with had I been in a car. Ultimately, my daily physical activity was spent navigating the city on foot, bike, metro, or train. Yet, I felt healthier than I did back home although I wasn’t doing conventional exercise. After teaching and traveling in Europe I returned to my beautiful hometown, further inspired and eager to then attend graduate school at the University of Arizona College of Public Health. My advertising background, specifically geared in advocacy marketing and promoting awareness impelled me to study and developed my passion toward health behavior and health promotion. My public health interests evolved from childhood obesity to exploring deeper causes of how physical and social environment affect the community’s health. My research interests lie in how built environments and transportation policies influence the community’s levels of physical activity, particularly in families and school-aged children. I volunteered for LSA in 2015 as a super-volunteer. I am also working with the University of Arizona Nutrition Network and conducting an active school neighborhood checklist with local elementary schools.
Corky Poster, Treasurer
Corky Poster has been working on urban design issues in Tucson since 1973. He operates on one principle: “people of any age, color, gender, national origin, physical ability, and income have an equal right to share in and enjoy the life of the city.” His life’s work has been to implement that simple idea.
Corky Poster is a Registered Architect, a Certified Planner (AICP) and a licensed General Contractor. Mr. Poster’s education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architectural Sciences (Magna cum laude) from Harvard College (1969) and a Master of Architecture degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (1973). He has practiced architecture, planning and urban design in Tucson since 1973. He is one of three principals at Poster Frost Mirto. After 30 years at The University of Arizona, Mr. Poster is now a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (CALA) and the former Director of the Drachman Institute. He served as Acting Dean of CALA in 2002 and in 2003.
Mr. Poster’s professional work focuses on: Urban Design (especially in relation to transportation), Community/Neighborhood Planning, Affordable Housing, Historic Preservation, and Community Architecture. Mr. Poster has won numerous awards including: the Diane LeVan Lifetime Achievement Award for Community Development (1997); the Distinguished Visiting Professor (Universidad de Panama) 1999; Honor Award, National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2002; Governors Award for Historic Preservation, 2003; the Best Master Plan for 2004 (Arizona Planning Association); the Best Comprehensive/ General Plan for 1992 (Arizona Planning Association); National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) Awards of Merit, 1994, 1996 and 2000. He is on the Advisory Board of MOCA and the Primavera Foundation. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Tucson Pima Arts Council and is Chair of the City of Tucson Housing Trust Fund. He is the co-editor of the book: From the Studio to the Streets: Service Learning in Architecture and Planning, September 2006.
Corky Poster lives in the center city of Tucson and walks and bikes whenever he can.
Ben Elias, Secretary
“I want to help foster a sense of community and make our region more tight-knit. Streets should be the places where interaction happens and we all have to opportunity to live to our fullest potential. Changing how our streets work gives us the opportunity to change the way we use our built and natural environments. By making an area where people can more effectively interact and appreciate our neighbors, resources and landscapes, we can improve our sustainability, happiness and tackle local and regional issues more united and efficiently.”
Ben is currently an undergraduate studying Sustainable Built Environments at the University of Arizona’s College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture with the goal of furthering his education and pursuing a Master’s in Landscape Architecture. In addition to his academic studies, Ben is also the student president of The University of Arizona Cycling Club, stemming from a love of cycling and with the intent to connect more with the local community. He also works as the Race Director of the Old Pueblo Grand Prix and at O2 Modern Fitness, as well as giving input while currently sitting on the University of Arizona Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.
Ben proudly calls himself a Tucsonan, being both born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. He has strong roots in Southern Arizona, with a family heritage going back generations. This connection to the local community and an appreciation for a sense of place drives his passion for fostering spaces of vibrant culture and interaction.
Jill is co-founder and co-owner of Che’s Lounge on 4th Avenue. As a business owner on one of the most multi-modal corridors in the city, Jill has served on the 4th Avenue Merchants Association for the past 12 years and is currently a member of the City of Tucson Park Tucson Commission. A long-time resident of the Ironhorse Neighborhood, just east of 4th Avenue, she also serves on the Board of Directors of Casa Libre, helping ensure that arts and culture have a place in the bustle of 4th Avenue.
“Next to a leisurely walk, cycling is high on the list of my most favorite activities. Whether you’re commuting, running a quick errand or enjoying a long ride out in the desert with friends, it’s hard to match the sense of freedom and exhilaration that you feel when you’re on a bike.”
Gene is a native Tucsonan who enjoyed a lifelong career in television/media production. For the past 15 years, as a writer-producer for Tucson 12, Gene contributed to a variety of programs including City News, Sonoran Style, Desert Living and dozens of special projects, most notably Why We Remember, a documentary about the holocaust as told through the experiences of holocaust survivors who live in Tucson.
Gene is passionate about all that makes Tucson unique; the desert, its cultural diversity, rich history and great downtown. Today Gene is very active in the community. He is president of the Menlo Park Neighborhood Association and co-chair of the Downtown Neighborhoods and Residents Council. Both organizations feed Gene’s desire to engage in projects and activities that lead to a more sustainable, cohesive community.
Gene holds a B.A. in Radio, TV, & Film from California State University Northridge and a M.Ed. in Instructional Technology from California State Los Angeles.
“Decisions about transportation shape our zoning, our built environment, our environmental footprint, and the health of both our selves and of our communities. They also determine how attractive our community is to the many students who graduate from the university here, and if they decide to remain in Tucson or go to other cities with a higher quality of life. Moreover, there are also issues with transportation equity; our government and tax system hugely subsidize automobile travel to the near-exclusion of other modes. I believe that if other high quality and safe options existed there would be more people using them.”
Ian Johnson has lived in Tucson for 22 years after growing up in the midwest where even as a child he used public transportation and his bicycle to go almost everywhere. Ian currently serves as the Chair of the Tucson Pima County Bicycle Advisory Committee where he works to build public consensus around policies and projects that will increase Tucson’s bicycle ridership and increase the safety of those who choose to bicycle for their transportation needs. He also co-founded OpenTucson, a non-profit dedicated to opening up public data and using it and technology to make government services work better. OpenTucson’s most recent project is a mobile app that provides location-based transit data for Tucson’s bus system.
Caroline (Cara) O’Neill
Cara is a Tucson native and currently a student at Tucson High. As a bike enthusiast, Cara does most of her commuting by bike and appreciates the independence it lends to someone who is not yet an adult and does not own a car. Being a high school student provides an uncommon perspective into the younger community of Tucson. She hopes to leverage this in order to help eliminate some of the obstacles for bike commuting and create a more bicycle/pedestrian friendly community – especially for her peers at Tucson High.
“For me, a walkable and bike friendly community makes a profound difference in the quality of life for everyone in that community. My wife and I are raising two kids in Tucson. When we walk or bike to downtown, or to work, or to a friends’ house, we interact directly with our neighbors and our neighborhood. We see people and pets and places that we know. We see the cycle of seasons as plants and trees bloom and seed. The routes we travel become a mental-map of experience and connection for our family. Walking and biking are also fun, healthier, don’t burn fossil fuels, and place the value of people before commerce. As a group that advocates for walking, cycling, and public transportation, Living Streets Alliance works to bring people together and shape public decisions that cultivate and build a strong community all around us, and I’m thrilled to be working with them.”
Shipherd Reed currently works as Operations and Communications Manager for the Flandrau Science Center where he works on community outreach programs for the University of Arizona College of Science. Previously he worked as the Project Coordinator for the Miners Story Project, a digital oral history project based at the University of Arizona Mineral Museum. The project collected and shares the history of mining and mining towns in the American Southwest. With an MFA in Film from the Columbia University School of the Arts, Reed worked as a freelance producer, writer, director, cameraman, and editor in Los Angeles, CA before coming to Tucson.
Growing up, my friends and I would walk, ride our bikes or take the city bus everywhere. Having a bike meant having the freedom to go as far as your legs could take you. I’m not from a small town or idyllic suburb; I’m a native Tucsonan and my home was near Grant and Craycroft. I’d like to see my son have the same experiences I was able to have; safe streets to use to get to and from school, the park and friends’ houses. I would like to see our region become even more bicycle and pedestrian friendly, where riding a bike or taking the bus to work doesn’t beg the question, “Don’t you have a car?”
Mark is a native Tucsonan and an enthusiastic supporter of bicycle commuting. He holds a MEd from Northern Arizona University and has worked with students with intellectual disabilities in TUSD for the past 14 years.
Emily Yetman, Executive Director
Emily Yetman is a native Arizonan (from Prescott) and one of the founding members of Living Streets Alliance. She moved to Tucson 15 years ago where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Landscape Architecture degrees from the University of Arizona. Her Master’s work focused on bicycle networks designed for different comfort levels and abilities; something that Living Streets Alliance advocates for on a regular basis. Emily is passionate about making Tucson a great place to live by providing quality public space and transportation options for everyone. She’s a big supporter of grassroots organizing and believes that people can come together to make positive change in their community.
Kylie Walzak, Lead Program Manager & Cyclovia Tucson Coordinator
Kylie Walzak is passionate about working with the population that depends on the outcomes of the planning decisions we make today- youth. Ensuring youth awareness of environmentally sustainable alternatives to the current car-centric transportation model is essential to the long-term health of our planet, our community and our selves. Kylie is most enthusiastic about encouraging youth participation in the civic process, focusing on how to practice good environmental stewardship and citizenship. Kylie has worked as an educator and outreach coordinator at BICAS (Bicycle Inter-Community Art and Salvage) and as a Spanish teacher in Tucson’s public schools. She holds a MEd from the University of Arizona and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa.
Evren Sonmez, Neighborhood Walkability Assessment Program Manager & Walkability Consultant
Evren moved to Tucson in 2005 when she was accepted to the Planning Degree Program at the University of Arizona. While she was studying for her master’s degree, she became interested in the interaction between people and the built environment, and was greatly influenced by urban thinkers such as Jane Jacobs, William Whyte, and Jan Gehl among others. She joined LSA in 2013 to manage and implement the newly-conceived Neighborhood Walkability Assessment Program.
Evren is inspired by cities and finds great joy merely being in and observing the many scenes that unfold in urban places. She believes that streets are fundamental to public life and the way we build our cities, streets, and public spaces can profoundly shape the way we live. She would like to see more streets that truly support walking, bicycling, and public transit use in Tucson and she is excited to be part of a movement to make this happen.
Vanessa Cascio, Lead Community Liaison
Vanessa spent the last decade living in Chicago, where she learned to navigate the mean streets as a cyclist, pedestrian, and transit rider. An Arizonan native, she returned to Tucson to attend graduate school at the College of Public Health. With a background in social work, her interest in community wellness and personal experiences with active transportation led her to current career path. While in grad school, her research focused on the intersection of public health, equity, transportation policy, and built environment, with outreach and activism driving her passion.
“I have two perspectives on the issue of transportation in our city which really lend to my vision. As someone who comes from a working-class Latino family in Tucson, walking was not merely leisure, but it was a necessity. There is a large percentage of residents who rely on alternative modes for their daily commute because they don’t have access to cars. Having infrastructure that supports multi-modal users is key to addressing the issue of disparities in health and safety in our city. As a millennial and young professional, Tucson has captured my heart and where I would like to settle. I can only image how we might leverage Tucson’s natural beauty and culturally-richness in creating a vibrant place for people to walk and bike.”