After more than 9 years with Cycle Toronto, Jared Kolb is stepping down as Executive Director
Message from Francesca Allodi-Ross, President of the Cycle Toronto Board of Directors:
After more than 9 years with Cycle Toronto, Jared Kolb is stepping down as Executive Director.
Jared oversaw many victories that helped create safer streets in Toronto including the Richmond and Adelaide bike lanes, the drive for pilot bike lanes on Bloor St., making those lanes permanent, and recent wins to extend the Bloor bike lanes to High Park and new bike lanes on Danforth Ave. He helped unlock increased funding for cycling infrastructure at the provincial and municipal levels and co-founded Friends and Families for Safe Streets.
What’s more, Jared oversaw the transformation of Cycle Toronto into the organization it is today. When he started as Executive Director, he was our only full-time staff person; today we have six full-time staff and an annual budget approaching $600,000! Part of this success came from developing key revenue programs like extending the Bike Month program across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.
The Board is pleased to announce that Keagan Gartz, Director of Programs & Engagement, will act as Interim Executive Director until the end of the year and will lead the organization until a permanent Executive Director is hired. Keagan has been on staff for over six years and has managed a large portfolio of programs in her time at Cycle Toronto. She has experience in senior leadership, having co-led the organization last year when Jared was on parental leave and having been a senior member of the staff team since 2016. The Board is very grateful for her dedication to Cycle Toronto and willingness to take on key responsibilities during this period of transition.
We’ll be sending out the job posting for a permanent Executive Director in August and would appreciate your help in spreading the word. The Board is excited to see what fresh talent, ideas, and energy we can attract to continue growing Cycle Toronto and improving our work.
Finally, please join us at Jared’s going-away party! It will be Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at Louis Cifer, 417 Danforth Avenue, 7-10 p.m.
President of the Board, Cycle Toronto
Message from Jared Kolb, outgoing Executive Director:
It’s been an incredible ride Cycle Toronto, but it’s time for me to go. At the end of August, my tenure as Executive Director comes to an end and I start a new journey with Proof, a startup in the government technology space. I leave proud of what we’ve accomplished together and excited for our city’s future.
To Cycle Toronto’s staff, board, volunteers and members, we’ve built an incredible organization together. We’ve grown to more than 3,000 dues-paying members and have a diverse and growing base of revenue to invest in advocacy, education and encouragement programs. As members, you keep us innovative, fresh and accountable to doggedly pursuing our mission and mandate.
We’ve achieved so much together. When I got involved with the Toronto Cyclists Union in early 2010, Rob Ford wasn’t yet Mayor and the University Ave bike lanes were approaching a vote at Council. When I started as a full-time staff person in early 2011, we were locked in a battle for Toronto’s first downtown grid of protected bike lanes while fighting back on the loss of the Jarvis, Pharmacy and Birchmount bike lanes. It was a wild time to earn my bike advocate stripes.
Three years later, the Sherbourne and Wellesley cycle tracks were open and thanks to some strategic campaigning, we were preparing to open protected bike lanes on Richmond and Adelaide. We realized that in this town, it takes the whole community to raise a bike lane. We used this key strategic insight in our campaign for the Bloor St bike lanes. And it worked! After decades-long work by cycling advocates, we were opening pilot bike lanes on Bloor St. in 2016.
While cycling network progress has been slower than any of us would like, I’m optimistic about this term of City Council. After months of campaigning, we saw Mayor Tory and Council commit to extending the Bloor St. bike lanes to High Park and building new lanes on Danforth Ave. It’s incredible progress.
John F Kennedy said that “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." From simple pleasure to real transportation option, Torontonians are turning to bicycles like never before; this elegant 19th century invention is a key part of tackling the kinds of 21st century urban challenges we face across the city. But we've got to accelerate the rollout of safe cycling infrastructure to enable more people to feel comfortable riding on our streets.
As the organization continues to renew itself, I want you to know that serving Cycle Toronto has been one of the greatest honours of my life. Thank you for the opportunity to help transform our city’s streets to make them safer for all.
There’s a long road ahead, but I leave Cycle Toronto optimistic about our future. I’m so pleased that Keagan Gartz, our Director of Programs & Engagement, is stepping into the role of Interim Executive Director. Keagan, Mark, Claire, Kevin and Tamara, alongside our talented Board of Directors, will continue to help build momentum for safer streets across Toronto.
Executive Director, Cycle Toronto
PS - I hope you can join us on the 14th as we share a few stories from a road and have a few laughs
Message regarding interim Executive Director Keagan Gartz
Thank you to Jared for all of his hard work, from the transformation of the Toronto Cyclists Union of the past to the Cycle Toronto of today.
Keagan Gartz, Director of Programs & Engagement, will act as Interim Executive Director until the end of the year and will lead the organization until a permanent Executive Director is hired. Keagan was the second permanent employee at Cycle Toronto when she joined the organization in January 2013. Since that time, she has managed a large portfolio of programs and has played a pivotal role in everything from advocacy strategist, to growing & professionalizing our Bike Month, ride services, encouragement programs and educational offerings, to HR &, staff management. She has experience in senior leadership, having co-led the organization last year when Jared was on parental leave and having been a senior member of the staff team since 2016. The Board is very grateful for her dedication to Cycle Toronto and willingness to take on key responsibilities during this period of transition.