Bikes make a lot of sense, especially in these times of economic upheaval and increasingly urgent environmental concerns. But of all the facts, the figures, and the trends, the most critical component of making any change happen is having strong advocates who can develop plans, make the case and build public support.
— Congressman Earl Blumenauer in the introduction to Mia Birk’s Joyride: Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet.


Walking and bicycling are safe, convenient, and fun ways to get around Ithaca and Tompkins County, and are appreciated and funded as essential modes of transportation. By using active transportation, people of all ages and backgrounds enjoy a healthier, more vibrant and connected community. 


Clockwise from back row, left: Tim Logue, Karim Beers, Tom Knipe, Vikki Armstrong and Fernando de Aragon

Clockwise from back row, left: Tim Logue, Karim Beers, Tom Knipe, Vikki Armstrong and Fernando de Aragon

Bike Walk Tompkins (BWT) grew out of the organizing group for Streets Alive! Ithaca and provides a central push for active transportation in Tompkins County.  More specifically, BWT seeks to influence and change the culture and infrastructure for biking and walking in Ithaca and Tompkins County so that many more people can embrace active transportation in their everyday lives, and so that our community reaps the multiple health, environmental, economic and social benefits associated with strong active transportation networks.  BWT was formally established in May 2014 and hired its first staff person/program director in July 2014.  BWT received Park Foundation support that enabled this step as of March 2014 and was accepted as an official Center for Transformative Action project at this time.  

BWT is truly the culmination and next step of years of efforts and initiatives in this region to make active transportation a viable mode within a multimodal system that works for everyone.  Part of our mission is to work collaboratively with other people and organizations, not to supplant what is happening but to broaden and strengthen efforts.


BWT Director Vikki Armstrong was Program Associate and then Coordinator for the Creating Healthy Places Project (CHP) at the Human Services Coalition of Tompkins County from 2011 to 2015, working on improvements to the county's built environment for parks, trails and active transportation. At CHP, Ms Armstrong oversaw a number of initiatives that have continued on under the purview of Bike Walk Tompkins and/or Way2Go. She served as event director for the first three editions of Streets Alive!, launched Bike To Work Day with Way2Go, co-wrote the Tompkins Priority Trails Strategy Paper, coordinated two annual Streets Alive! Film Festivals and the May 2014 Bike Art Show, and brought the Neighborhood Walking Map to completion. Ms. Armstrong has been a longtime bike enthusiast and advocate. In the 1990s Ms. Armstrong coordinated various initiatives in Toronto, Canada including annual Bike to Work Weeks for the City of Toronto, co-founding and coordinating annual Re-Cycled Art Auctions and directing the International Auto-Free Cities Conference in conjunction with Transportation Alternatives of NYC. She continued advocating for active transportation in the Ithaca area via the Cayuga Waterfront Trail Initiative, Curb Your Car Coalition and the Black Diamond Trail Enthusiasts Network (BDTEN), while raising her (now grown) family here in the Ithaca area.


Fernando de Aragón has served as director of the Ithaca Tompkins County Transportation Council since 1998. There, he has focused on efforts to preserve current infrastructure investments,while providing support for expanded services that provide alternatives to single occupancy vehicles (SOV) use, including car sharing, ride sharing, multi-use trails, bike/pedestrian facilities and expanded transit. Fernando is also active in several community organizations and is currently serving on the board of the Latino Civic Association, Ithaca Carshare and the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway.

Karim Beers is the coordinator of Get Your Green Back Tompkins, and a founding member of Streets Alive! He has a Masters in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University. He yearns for a community in which he feels comfortable allowing his two sons to ride their bikes.

Phoebe Brown is the Coordinator of the Ultimate Re-entry Opportunity Mentor, Mentee Program at the Multicultural Resource Center and also Founder, Women’s Healing: Mind Body and Spirit, and a Natural Leaders Initiative Graduate. A highly skilled community activist, advocate, and multicultural bridge builder, Phoebe brings her passion for community-building to everything she does and everyone she meets. Phoebe has worked with the Southside Community Center’s Black Women’s Empowerment Project, Cayuga Medical Center, the Ithaca City School District, BOCES, the Crisis Hostel Project, and other local organizations. In 2013, she was selected as a Civic Leadership Fellow by Cornell University and received the Rere Sojourner Hassett Social Justice Award from the Multicultural Resource Center. Her biggest achievement, she says, is that she is the mother of three and the grandmother of six.

Jennifer Dotson serves as Executive Director of Ithaca Carshare, led the organization through launch as the first independent nonprofit car sharing organization in New York State, and has supported the formation of other car shares around the state, notably Buffalo CarShare. She previously chaired the Planning and Economic Development Committee of the City of Ithaca’s Common Council and Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT). She believes that bikes and gardening just might save the world.

Kent Johnson holds a Masters degree in Transportation Planning from the University at Albany-SUNY and has worked in the City of Ithaca’s DPW Engineering Office since 2006. His work includes a variety of transportation-related issues, with a particular focus on bicycling and pedestrian topics, and he is currently the project manager for the City’s Safe Routes to School federal-aid project. He authored the City’s Local Action Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gases; the City’s first coordinated effort on this topic.

Tom Knipe directed Portland's grant-funded and fee-based hands on bicycle programs and helped develop their Safe Routes to School program. He wrote the Ithaca Neighborhood Greenways Plan, directed the 2010 Cornell-Ithaca Active Transportation Symposium and helped Streets Alive! get started. His study on campus bike sharing led to University approval of the Cornell Big Red Bikes program. He works as Senior Planner for Tompkins County Planning Dept/ Tourism Program.

Tim Logue is Director of Engineering Services for the City of Ithaca's Department of Public Works, with responsibility in areas including multi-modal transportation engineering and planning, trail development, traffic signal systems, traffic calming and capital project management. Previously, he worked as a city planner in Ithaca on issues related to land use and zoning, neighborhood and community development, and transportation. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Miami University and a Masters in Regional Planning from Cornell University.

Jonathan Maddison is the Way2Go Program Manager, holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration and a B.Sc. in Community and International Development from the University of Vermont. His master's thesis explored the public's understanding of the health and environmental impacts of vehicle emissions. Jonathan has created a transit orientation program targeted to older adults, a transportation ambassador volunteer program, and coordinated a stakeholder network to support travel training in Tompkins County.

Sue Powell has 15 years experience as Active Transportation Coordinator for Cornell University Transportation Services, with responsibility for bicycling and pedestrian education and encouragement programs for the campus community, including teaching courses as a League of American Bicyclists Instructor She is the staff adviser for a campus bicycle sharing program and works with university planners, project managers, engineers and Campus Police to implement facility and infrastructure improvements to support bicycling and walking.

Bike Walk Tompkins is generously funded in part by the Park Foundation. Many thanks to additional founding committee members Lois Chaplin, Daniel Keough, Jeanne Leccese, Davi Mozie and Steven Powell, and to our first Program Director Rena Scroggins. Also thanks to website designer Mary Buehler and logo designer Jess Confer.

Bike Walk Tompkins is a project of Ithaca Carshare guided by a steering committee that functions as a board of advisors. Ithaca Carshare is a local non-profit with the mission of enhancing community access to transportation while reducing negative environmental and economic impacts of car use.