Niles Lecture Archive

2017 Niles Lecture

Tamika Butler, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust

Tamika Butler, executive director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, will deliver the Ann Niles Active Transportation Lecture this year. She is an advocate and activist who works in support of LGBTQA rights, as well as fighting for social justice and healthy communities. She moved to Los Angeles from Omaha, Nebraska, and became interested in active transportation when she met her wife. It was on bike rides that she fell in love with the city. Uniquely positioned as a queer black woman to understand what marginalized people experience every day, she brought passion, energy and intersectionality to the quest for better bicycle access as the executive director of the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition. In her new role with the L.A. Neighborhood Land Trust, she continues to help address social and racial equity through building parks and gardens in park-poor communities across Greater Los Angeles. Butler is a featured speaker at the 2017 National Walking Summit in St. Paul this September, and gave the keynote at the 2016 NACTO Designing Cities conference in Seattle. Prior to leading the L.A. Bicycle Coalition, she was the director of social change strategies at Liberty Hill Foundation, and worked at Young Invincibles as the California director. She received her J.D. from Stanford Law School and her B.A. in Psychology and B.S. in Sociology in her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.


2016 Niles Lecture

Why We Walk: Creating a movement for black women's health and justice


Vanessa Garrison, Girl Trek

Vanessa Garrison is a passionate advocate of social justice issues and has focused her work on improving health outcomes and quality of life for black women and girls. Prior to co-founding GirlTrek, a national health movement, Vanessa worked as a Program Coordinator for Our Place DC, a nonprofit organization that provides services to currently and formerly incarcerated women. Vanessa began her career working in digital media at Turner Broadcasting System,Inc. in Atlanta, GA. Vanessa was awarded Teach For America's Social Innovation Award, recognized by the Awesome Foundation as a leader to watch, and was featured on NPR and The Root. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in World Arts and Culture from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Garrison serves as chief of operations for GirlTrek, a national movement that mobilizes women to live their healthiest, most fulfilled lives through a habit of daily walking. GirlTrek supports thousands of walkers and more than 400 neighborhood-based volunteers and inspires a network of 250,000 supporters through social media.


2015 Niles Lecture

Equity and Access in Los Angeles: 

Fostering active transportation culture in car country

Seleta Reynolds, Los Angeles Department of Transportation

Despite its reputation as a city built for automobiles, Los Angeles has made huge strides toward promoting active transportation and transit. In a diverse city with a unique land use and transportation system, however, serving all residents poses a challenge.

It’s a challenge Seleta Reynolds, the general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, is up for. In Los Angeles, equity and transportation are bound together and the city's transportation department must take on equity in a big way.

Heading an ambitious plan that includes doubling the number of people riding bikes, Reynolds encounters issues such as nurturing a walking and cycling culture in low-income communities and making sure the wave of transportation technology doesn’t leave some groups behind.

Before coming to Los Angeles last August, Reynolds was a manager in the Livable Streets team at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, where she led project development for the city's Vision Zero effort to eliminate traffic deaths. Prior to that, she led the bicycle and pedestrian practice for Fehr & Peers and served as the city of Oakland’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator.




2013 Inaugural Lecture

Growing a World-Class Cycling Culture: Lessons from Québec

Jean François Pronovost, Vélo Québec

Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, Portland State University

The Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation is pleased to welcome Jean François Pronovost for the inaugural Ann Niles Transportation Lecture. Pronovost is vice president, development and public affairs for Vélo Québec, where he works on the focus, strategy and development of new projects and partnerships.

From 1989 to 2010, he was the executive director of the association division of Vélo Québec. In 1992, he acted as Chief Organizer of the first world-wide conference on bicycling, the Conférence Vélo Mondiale Pro Bike•Velo City, in Montréal. The Technical Handbook of Bikeway Design is among the many technical publications he has edited. Since 1995, he has been involved with the development of the Route Verte, a 5,000-kilometer bike route across Québec, and with the launch of several active transportation initiatives in collaboration with municipalities and the school network.

Trained as a biologist, Pronovost has worked as a nature guide, journalist and television commentator. He has also authored numerous books on hiking, cycling, and science. Over the last 25 years, he gave several lectures and presentations for several international audiences in Canada, in the United States and in Europe.