Nancy Smith Lea is the Director of the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation, a project of the registered charity Clean Air Partnership. She has decades of project management experience and specialized knowledge in applied research and policy analysis specific to Complete Streets, safe and inclusive streets for walking and cycling. Nancy has published several articles and led numerous research projects aimed at improving understanding and conditions for active transportation. In 2011, Nancy was awarded the Toronto Foundation’s Vital People grant for “Putting Active Transportation on the map”. In 2016 she was featured in Spacing magazine as a “Safer Streets Crusader” and one of 12 extraordinary women city builders. In 2018, she was featured in LocalLove.ca as one of eight top women change makers in Toronto working hard to make the city a better place.
Jiya Benni is an urban designer, working on TCAT’s Scarborough Cycles and Active Neighbourhoods projects, who has called Toronto home for the last couple of years. Originally from India where she grew up and studied architecture, she later moved to the Netherlands to study urbanism – only to fall in love with biking. In her free time, if she is not exploring Toronto’s diverse neighbourhoods (or coffee shops) with her husband, she’ll probably be working on her next art project.
Car Martin is a Participatory Design Consultant on TCAT’s Active Neighbourhoods project. Car is an interdisciplinary designer with an interest in the production of spaces that reflect diverse voices. She has years of experience in managing participatory design projects of all scales and is currently an intern member of the Ontario Association of Architects, working on local public architecture projects. She holds a professional Masters of Architecture from the University of Washington and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Toronto. Car also has a wealth of experience as a social entrepreneur, initiating and managing successful projects, including an award-winning community bike repair centre at the University of Toronto called Bikechain.
Tessa Nasca is the Project Manager for TCAT’s Active Neighbourhoods project. Tessa brings a background in active transportation advocacy and urban design, and they are dedicated to creating more accessible and participatory planning processes. Tessa holds a Master of Arts in Sustainability Studies from Trent University, and they were fortunate to work as a researcher for the first phase of the Active Neighbourhoods project in Peterborough, Ontario. Tessa is thrilled to be engaged with the next phase of this project, and to work with the TCAT team!
Dr. Beth Savan leads the Toronto Cycling Think and Do Tank at the University of Toronto and is Research Chair of “Scarborough Cycles: Building Bike Culture Beyond Downtown” with TCAT. She is on the faculty of the School of Environment at the University of Toronto where she was the inaugural Sustainability Director. She has received numerous large research grants on accelerating adoption of cycling for transportation. Beth consults and advises extensively on cycling and other sustainability issues with various clients, is an award-winning teacher and broadcaster, and active on community boards and foundation grants committees.
Trudy Ledsham is Research Lead on the Scarborough Cycles project with TCAT and is working on a PhD in Planning at the University of Toronto. She is also project manager at Toronto Cycling Think & Do Tank, a research programme focused on increasing cycling for transportation. She previously worked with TCAT as the project manager for an active transportation community based social marketing project with the Region of Peel. Trudy has degrees in Environmental Studies (HBA) and History (MA) from the University of Toronto. She sees cycling as a keystone of sustainable urban living.
Dr. Marvin Macaraig is the Scarborough Cycles Bike Hub Coordinator, a joint initiative between Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services and TCAT, in partnership with Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre, CultureLink Settlement and Community Services, the Toronto Cycling Think & Do Tank, and Cycle Toronto. Employed as a Community Health Promoter at Access Alliance, Marvin works to increase cycling knowledge in Scarborough by building both institutional and community capacity. Marvin believes that active transportation is a key facet of urban resilience and local prosperity. One of his goals is to find solutions and address barriers that will increase participation in suburban cycling for transportation. Marvin received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto (Geography and Planning), has expertise in metropolitan governance and civil society, and has taught several urban geography courses at the University of Toronto Scarborough. He is also a co-founder of the Toronto East Cyclists.
Yvonne Verlinden is the Project Coordinator for the Scarborough Cycles initiative and is also responsible for TCAT’s social media presence. Past projects with TCAT include an economic impact study for the Bloor St pilot bicycle lanes and a study on the feasibility of offering driver education about sharing the road with bicycles in Toronto. She recently completed her Master’s of Planning at Ryerson University, with a focus on transportation, and cycling in particular. For her Major Research Project, she explored the connection between mobility and belonging through a Photo Voice project with the Bike Host program, which loans a bicycle to newcomers in Toronto (including as part Scarborough Cycles). She has also worked for the Ministry of Transportation as a writer for the GTA West Corridor review. In 2016, she served as a Complete Streets intern at TCAT during which time she produced a backgrounder on Complete Streets in rural areas.