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Q&A with longtime Walk SF supporter and past executive director, Elizabeth Stampe

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In celebration of Walk San Francisco’s 20th anniversary in 2018, we’re catching up with some of the people who have gone above and beyond in support of our mission.

We interviewed Elizabeth Stampe, who was Walk SF’s executive director from 2010-2013, and continues to help out with our work; she is also a sustaining member.

How long have you been involved with Walk SF? What led you to get involved?

I became Walk San Francisco’s executive director (and, at the time, sole staff member) in 2010. When I saw the job announcement, I thought it had so much potential. Walking connects to so many important issues, and is at the heart of creating a sustainable and just city. Plus, you can walk to so many fun things in San Francisco! To me, it was a powerful way to bring people together… and an inarguable call for change.

What has been most meaningful to you about your involvement?

All the inspiring people! There are a lot of people working really hard to make this city better — in big public agencies and in tiny community groups. At Walk SF, the board and volunteers and members are so willing to pitch in and help out, and really care about this place. I love to see people come in for the fun events — and stay for the mission.

How do you benefit from the work of Walk SF? Why is advocating to make walking safe and enjoyable important to you?

I walk and take Muni and BART pretty much everywhere; we’re proud to be a car-free family. To me as a parent, cars are so clearly threatening, as this drawing shows vividly. Walking is the most sustainable form of transportation; it should be the safest and easiest. We need Walk SF’s work to keep us safe and to shift the balance on our streets — prioritizing transportation we can all afford, that’s good for us, our city, and our planet. Walk SF can help make our city a model for the nation.

What Walk SF accomplishment are you most proud of?

It was great fun launching Walk to Work Day, and I’m proud of getting safer 15-mile-per-hour speed limits around 181 schools in the city. But I’m most proud of the Pedestrian Strategy, adopted in 2013. It was modeled on exciting work in New York City. It set clear actions, goals, and timelines to make San Francisco’s streets safer. This evolved into Vision Zero, the goal to eliminate all serious traffic injuries and deaths. I’m proud Walk SF is continuing to hold the city accountable.

What is your favorite walk in the city?

It’s hard to pick a favorite! On a date a while back, my husband Marty and I hiked from Land’s End to the Legion of Honor, saw the Klimt and Rodin show, shared a glass of wine and a pecan tart, then walked back along the wild coast trail. I love that in San Francisco you can do all that.

Favorite Walk SF event of the year?

I’ll say Peak2Peak, as that’s coming up soonest!

What’s your vision of the city in 20 years?

I’d love to see a city designed for people to walk and bike first — with far fewer cars and thousands more trees. I’d like to see a city that’s making room for people of all incomes to afford a decent home — a city where you hear lots of languages and see lots of kids. A city where people share space gracefully with each other and with nature. I think Walk SF can help bring that vision to life!

Want to help power Walk San Francisco’s work as Elizabeth does? Become a member today.
With your support, we can win safer streets and a better city for all!