Board of Directors
José Jiménez, Co-President
Shipherd Reed, Co-President & Secretary
Dan Fleury, Treasurer
Ernesto Portillo Jr.
Caroline (Cara) O’Neill
Emily Yetman, Executive Director
Emily Yetman is a native Arizonan and one of the founding members of Living Streets Alliance. She moved to Tucson in 1999 and 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.”
Colby Henley, Bicycle Program Manager
Colby moved to Tucson 22 years ago after living in Germany for 3 years. While traveling around Europe, he experienced first-hand how good urban design can make walking, biking, and transit a convenient option for everyday travel. Once in Tucson, he completed a Masters in Wildlife Ecology and went on to work on wildlife conservation efforts across Arizona and the southwest.
After moving with his wife near the University of Arizona in 2009, his interest in good urban design and car-light living was rekindled. Motivated by his passion for making Tucson a unique, vibrant, and healthy place to live, he has been a member and volunteer with LSA since 2011, and then joined as a staff member in July 2016.
“I’m inspired by the work of LSA because it helps us as a community to dream big and catch a glimpse of what is possible.”
Ramzy Bejjani, Graduate Intern
Ramzy Bejjani grew up in the Inland Northwest and then bolted to New York City for his undergrad in Global Studies. After university he joined the United States Peace Corps and served as an English teacher in Ethiopia. Between his time as an undergrad and a Peace Corps Volunteer, Ramzy saw a lot of cities and he’d like to make them better for everyone. A recent transplant to Tucson, Ramzy is pursuing a Masters in Landscape Architecture as a Coverdell Fellow at the University of Arizona. He is interested in green infrastructure networks and creating accessible and abundant public parks.
An aspiring elementary educator, my zeal for compassion and creativity is what drove me to Living Streets Alliance. I was lucky enough to participate in the Complete Streets project of October 2018 and I fell in love with this organization ever since!
The current events shifting the world before our eyes increasingly emphasize the importance of mental health awareness, friendship and social support. Like creative engagement in the classroom, community members require inclusive spaces in which they are safe, inspired and further able to participate, pursue hobbies and meet new people. Do enough of our streets currently promote this vision? I came across the amazing opportunity to partner up with Public Allies and AARP and I am thrilled to work alongside LSA’s wonderful team to help create more Livable Communities!
River is a recent graduate from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and holds a B.A. in Anthropology with minors in Archaeology and Geoscience. He has moved all the way across the country to be with LSA and is partnering with Public Allies, as well as AARP, to create more livable communities here in Tucson. Prior to graduation, he was a member of the Scouts for 12 years and was involved in multiple community events. River has a passion for both people and the environment, and is looking forward to being a positive influence here in Tucson!