(Philadelphia, October 14, 2016) – Mayor Kenney today announced the hiring of Kelley Yemen, an accomplished planner of bicycle and pedestrian programs, as Philadelphia’s first Director of Complete Streets.
“Philadelphia has more than 2500 miles of streets, and finding ways that all residents can safely share them is a growing challenge,” said Mayor Kenney. “I’m confident that Kelley will bring a vision and ideas that will move us toward streets that are not only safer but more accommodating for bicyclists, pedestrians, joggers and drivers — in other words, for all Philadelphians.”
Yemen, a native of Minnesota, has served three years as the first Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for Hennepin County, Minnesota, a sprawling county of 45 cities, including Minneapolis. In that position she oversaw creation of the County’s new bicycle and pedestrian division, with more than 40 miles of bikeways completed in a 2-year span. She also managed and coordinated implementation of Hennepin County’s first pedestrian plan as well as the adoption of the 2040 Bicycle Transportation Plan.
“We were fortunate to have a wealth of great candidates,” said Clarena Tolson, outgoing Deputy Managing Director for the Office of Transportation and Infrastructure. “And Kelley really stood out not only for her track record of success in Minnesota, but also for the breadth of her knowledge of transportation planning in an urban environment and her infectious enthusiasm for promoting active transportation.”
The Complete Streets Director will oversee the expansion of programs and initiatives that have a direct impact on safety throughout the city’s transportation systems. Working in close conjunction with city departments, agencies and other stakeholders, the Director will assure that all street projects, programs and maintenance incorporate concepts and strategies that promote safety across all modes of transportation.
“I am excited to continue my career improving cities for people walking, bicycling, riding, and driving by joining the team here in Philadelphia,” said Yemen. “By emphasizing safety for our most vulnerable road users and accessibility for all, I look forward to building off of the work already in place, and empowering new and creative ideas to help make Philadelphia the best multimodal city in the country.”
Prior to her tenure in Minnesota, Yemen was a project manager in the Office of Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs in New York City. Part of her role in that position was to research and implement traffic calming techniques, streetscape design and other complete streets concepts many times using only paint, granite blocks, and planters.
“We are excited that the Kenney Administration has found a qualified proponent of active transportation and traffic safety to fill the role of Complete Streets Director,” said Sarah Clark Stuart, Executive Director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. “Ms. Yemen’s experience in the transformation of bicycling in Minneapolis and New York City bodes well for Philadelphia’s future. The Bicycle Coalition is confident of Ms. Yemen’s preparation and motivation to make Philadelphia’s streets work for people of all ages, no matter their transportation choice. We’re excited to welcome and work with her to help Philadelphia reach its potential as the best bicycling city in the nation.”
The Director reports to the Deputy Managing Director and will lead a team of professionals engaged in efforts to drive change that will ultimately lead to safer and more fully multimodal streets, especially for pedestrians and other vulnerable users.
The announcement comes three weeks after two important milestones: the unveiling of the first protected bicycle lane in Philadelphia, and the first “Philly Streets” event, offering 10 miles of active transportation through 15 Philadelphia neighborhoods.
Photo of Ms. Yemen available upon request.