Each of our three new team members will introduce themselves to you here. This week, meet Austin T.D. Hall, our Central Valley Policy Manager, based in Fresno. Earlier, Miha Tomuta introduced herself.
Hello! Austin Travis Dylan Hall here, and I am extremely happy to join California Walks! As a Central Valley native, I’m happy to have this opportunity to promote walkability and pedestrian safety in my home community. I first moved to Fresno at the age of three, and was walking and riding my bike to and from school as early as 10 years old. While at UC Santa Cruz, I continued this tradition and was able to remain car-free throughout my four years there. When I would come home to visit the Valley, I began to notice how much more uncomfortable it was to walk, bike, and ride transit than in Santa Cruz and the Bay Area. In the nation’s most polluted air basin, our communities were designed to promote driving—often even for short distances—at the expense of active alternatives and to the detriment of our environment, our health, and our economy.
I resolved to engage this problem and become a part of the solution. I interned for the City of Fresno’s planning department, joined the Fresno County Bicycle Coalition and served on its board, and coordinated the Fresno Partnership, a coalition of community groups that focused on a wide array of Fresno’s issues, from water to sprawl to income inequality. I joined the San Joaquin Valley Rail Committee and worked with local public health nonprofit Cultiva La Salud. When I heard about California Walks and their search for someone to promote and improve walkability in the Central Valley, I was excited by the opportunity to join the team. I believe in California Walks’ mission, and I believe that not only Fresno, but all Central Valley communities—whether rural, suburban, or urban—can and must be walkable and bikeable in order for everyone to have the opportunity to enjoy a high quality of life here in the heart of California.