From the RIDE Board of Directors
Dear Fellow Transit Advocates,
At the end of the year, our founding Executive Director will step down. Today we are beginning a search for a new, expanded position – President & CEO for RIDE New Orleans. I am reaching out to you for help in identifying candidates who are strong non-profit leaders with experience leading advocacy organizations.
As a Board, we could not be more thrilled with how our organization has grown under Rachel’s stewardship. We are determined to find a leader who will carry this legacy forward as we move into our next phase as an organization. Many of you on this mailing list have been with us since our very earliest days as Transport for NOLA. As we go through this transition at RIDE, know that we are determined to continue to provide the highest quality research on transit issues in the Greater New Orleans region while building our network of citizen activists.
Please do feel free to reach out to me and my fellow board members with any questions or suggestions. And most importantly – please distribute this job opportunity far and wide so that we can find the best candidate to take the lead for RIDE New Orleans.
Jackie Dadakis, Board President
From RIDE’s Founding Executive Director
Four years ago, I joined a start-up non-profit organization, Transport for NOLA, as the founding Executive Director. Surrounded by passionate volunteers and a dedicated Board of Directors, we set out to bring our bold vision of world class transit for greater New Orleans to life.
There was no playbook for how to be an effective transit advocate in the deep South. We learned through trial and error, following our intuition and belief in community wisdom to bring New Orleans’ and regional transit challenges and opportunities into focus.
Over the past four years, we have grown RIDE into a trusted advocacy and organizing leader. RIDE’s research and grassroots actions have made front page headlines and steered millions of dollars of public investment into needed infrastructure upgrades, service improvements and planning studies. Our work has lead to:
- Public engagement reforms at the RTA – today, 22 transit riders serve on the Riders’ Advisory Committee supporting the RTA Board of Commissioners to advance community transportation priorities;
- Safer streets for walking, biking and riding transit – complete streets legislation at the City and State, improved City zoning standards and a new Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Advisory Committee to the City Council will make our roadways safer for all users;
- Continued ferry connections – the Algiers-Canal Street ferry that was on the chopping block in 2013 is now locally run with expanded hours and innovative iconic art installations planned to attract new ridership;
- Investment in a true Downtown Transit Center – planning is underway to consolidate the CBD transit hub – the heart of our regional transit system – to make riding transit easy, safe and comfortable; and
- New tools to make riding transit easier – the RTA and JeT now share their map, schedule and real-time bus location data with app and software developers making it easy to plan trips and track your bus.
- Long-range transit master plan – following the release of our August 2015 “The State of Transit in New Orleans – Ten Years After Katrina” report, the RTA Board has committed to create a stakeholder-driven, ten-year transit master plan, a process that will kick-off in 2016.
I’m immensely proud of what we have accomplished together. Thank you for your encouragement, support and partnership. I will serve as Executive Director through the end of the year and continue to advise the Board on strategy and policy in the new year.
Rachel Heiligman, Founding Executive Director