Transportation Alternatives Has a New Leader: Danny Harris

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Since the departure of Paul Steely White last year, Transportation Alternatives has been led by two interim co-deputy directors Ellen McDermott and Marco Conner. Here is the group’s press release about the announcement of its new executive director after a national search. Streetsblog will have full coverage later:

Danny Harris
Danny Harris

Danny Harris, a passionate advocate for livable, walkable and bike-friendly cities, has been named the new executive director of Transportation Alternatives by the non-profit organization’s board of directors. He will officially assume this role on Sept. 3, 2019.

Harris spent four years as program director with the Knight Foundation in San Jose, California, where he oversaw grantmaking related to placemaking, transportation, and affordable housing. He most recently served as senior vice president of Civic Entertainment Group in New York City, where he led teams responsible for high-profile product launches and events.

“Danny Harris is a proven leader and a practiced storyteller who understands the urgency of reclaiming our streets as public space for all New Yorkers,” said Steve Hindy, chair of Transportation Alternatives’ Board of Directors. “Danny is a broad thinker on cities, people, and the connections that drive us. I am confident that he will lead the organization to a new level of effectiveness.”

Harris is an innovator as well as an educator. He has taught at San Jose State University, was named a Vanguard Fellow by Next City, and received a citation from the American Institute of Architects. Harris, a graduate of Connecticut College and Princeton University, is a native New Yorker and currently resides in Manhattan with his family.

“I am thrilled to join Transportation Alternatives to forge our shared vision of bringing better bicycling, walking and public transportation to New York City,” said Danny Harris, executive director of Transportation Alternatives.

Harris takes the helm of the organization during a year when cyclist deaths have risen dramatically. Since January 1, 2019, 17 people have been killed on bikes in New York City, a 170-percent increase from those killed in 2018.

“Together, we must empower New Yorkers from every corner of the five boroughs to fight for safe streets and reorient our city around people, not cars,” Harris said. “With Vision Zero in a state of emergency and more New Yorkers losing their lives, this fight is more important than ever.”

Interim Executive Directors Marco Conner and Ellen McDermott have led the organization since long-time Executive Director Paul Steely White stepped down in November of 2018. Conner and McDermott led Transportation Alternatives through a period which saw several key victories, from speed safety camera expansion and the passage of the Vision Zero Street Design Standard, to the passage of bills in the state legislature to legalize e-bikes and e-scooters and the completion of a decade-long campaign to pass congestion pricing.

“The staff of Transportation Alternatives are some of the most remarkable, talented, and dedicated professionals I have met in my career,” Hindy said. “Transportation Alternatives’ life-saving efforts have continued seamlessly under the leadership of Marco Conner and Ellen McDermott, and they have the board’s gratitude for their hard work and dedication.”

Transportation Alternatives looks forward to welcoming Danny Harris to the team and starting a new chapter in the fight to prioritize people in New York City.

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