Transportation Choices Coalition is Washington's only non-profit bringing you MORE CHOICES – buses, trains, sidewalks, and bike lanes. Sign up and get involved!
Q&A: Meet Our Program Champion Miriam
Do you know which neighborhood in Seattle has the most transportation services? Second most? Miriam sure does and she’s going to tell you all about it and her work with Transportation Choices Coalition below.
Can you describe yourself?
I moved to Seattle about 12 years ago with the goal of going to graduate school. I wanted to work in the nonprofit sector helping to fulfill a mission that I believed in. Within a week of living in the area I started volunteering at Casa Latina teaching ESL and also helped with their fundraiser. Since then, I’ve done a lot of different things like teaching, fundraising, coordinating volunteers and planning events. Through these experiences, I learned that I loved doing outreach and engaging with people. Side note: along the way, I worked for nine glorious years, with a small farm from Ellensburg. I loved the work and created a lot of connections that I still maintain today.
Can you describe your commute in a meme? Or photo?
I love the time that I have walking to and from my bus stops or on my bicycle ride. Check out this photo of a pretty pink tree that I took.
Depends on the day! I spend most of the time in the U District neighborhood working on my program U District, Let’s Go. I send emails, post posters, and meet a ton of interesting people. I am currently promoting and organizing a handful of events like a movie night to celebrate Bike Month, a Transit Talk, a Street Fair, and Ride Transit Month—to name a few! A typical day involves spinning plates and keeping things moving.
Why do you support Transportation Choices?
I grew up in rural Idaho, if you don't own a car you couldn't get to where you needed to go. For a lot of people that is a huge burden. I support our work because I see it in action every day through people on buses, riding bicycles, and walking to where they need to go.
Most important are the stories that people share with me. I constantly hear how valuable a bus pass is to a person. For some it is their prized possession; especially vulnerable populations who tell me that without it they wouldn’t be able to get to appointments and jobs. Imagine if you couldn’t get to work tomorrow, or to your doctor’s appointment. It’s great that we have choices here.
Why do you want your loved ones to support Transportation Choices?
When it comes to transportation advocacy, TCC does it best. There isn’t any other organization that does this type of work. TCC is extremely effective in everything it does and the staff and leaders at TCC work well with other organizations in the region working on improving communities. If anyone knows how to do it, it’s TCC and I am sincerely proud that I get to work with every single person and to learn from them.
Who is your transportation hero?
Celeste Gilman is my transportation hero and also my hero-hero. I had the great pleasure of working with her and her team at UW’s Transportation Services. When I applied for an outreach specialist position, she gave me the job and the opportunity transformed my world. I started May 1st and I rode my bike without realizing it was the first day of Bike Month. Something told me I should show up on a bike.
Working with her helped me realize how important transportation is to all aspects of our lives. During the course of working with her I learned the value of a great team where everyone brings their own strengths to complement one another - good things happen in those instances. She also taught me how to have difficult conversations, which come up from time to time in the transportation world. She’s made a huge impact on my life.
Q: Will you share a fun transit-related picture of yourself? What’s the story of this picture?
This photo was taken at the TCC Tuxes and Trains event that was held the same weekend the UW Link light rail station opened! I attended this event with my colleagues from UW Transportation Services! This gentleman said I could take a photo with him (I thought he looked a bit like His Royal Highness Prince William). The opening of Link light rail at UW Station was an inspiration moment for me. I got to ride the train the evening before it opened and listen to inspirational speakers like Joni Earl with Sound Transit (who has since retired) and Anthony Foxx, President Obama’s Transportation Secretary at the time.
Q: Anything else?
Here is a photo of me and a ghost! I’m at White Cemetery in Barrington IL at one of the most haunted places in the world! Eries globes float and hover around tombstones here. Can you see it?! Can you see it?!