Michael Andersen, Green Lane Project staff writer
One of the country’s most effective city leaders in improving biking is joining the PeopleForBikes team.
Kyle Wagenschutz, who started his bike advocacy career as a nonprofit bike shop director, will serve as the new director of local innovation.
In the role, he’ll take on many day-to-day management duties for the Green Lane Project, the PeopleForBikes program that has championed the introduction of protected bike lanes as a feature of cities across the United States.
In the position, he’ll increase the capacity of the Green Lane Project team as it wraps up work with its second round of focus cities, celebrates the rapid spread of protected bike lanes and shifts its work to focus on the next leap in building bike-friendly cities: fully connecting low-stress biking networks.
Wagenschutz has served since 2010 as the first pedestrian and bicycle coordinator and program manager for the City of Memphis, Tennessee. There, he oversaw a program that turned one of the nation’s former “worst cities for cycling” into a national leader.
We first met Wagenschutz in 2012, when he led Memphis’s successful application to become one of the Green Lane Project’s first six focus cities. During Memphis’s time with the Green Lane Project, the city approved a complete streets executive order; created a citizen-led, city-funded program for testing low-cost changes to its streets, called MEMFix; successfully crowdfunded a protected bike lane; and made protected or buffered bike lanes the default bike lane treatment on major streets. His philosophy of “Ready, Fire, Aim,” borrowed from tech startup culture and applied to low-cost, agile, data-driven experimentation with space on city streets has been widely discussed within the national biking movement.
In the meantime, he’s testified before Congress about the importance of biking in Memphis and ? oh, yes ? continued the ground-level political work to shift his city’s streets to become better and safer for everyone.
Last fall, the White House named Wagenschutz, 33, as one of 11 “Champions of Change” around the country.
At PeopleForBikes, Wagenschutz will report to Martha Roskowski, the Green Lane Project’s founding director. Roskowski was promoted to vice president for local innovation in 2014 and continues to lead the Green Lane Project.