Volunteer Profile: A. Scott Falk

Age: 39

Hometown: Norwalk, CT

Current Neighborhood: On the border of UES/Midtown East

What causes or organizations do you currently volunteer with? I am on the board of my union, ATPAM (Assoc. of Theatrical Press Agents & Managers). I've also done a little lobbying with the National Physicians Alliance's NY chapter in support of a public health insurance option.

What initially brought you to Transportation Alternatives? As a non-biker I was excited by T.A.'s work on pedestrian and transit issues. My first interaction with T.A. was the First-Annual Community Board Jammy-Jam in October 2008, which I attended despite the goofy name! That was about a week before the presidential election, and I had a lot of energy and a drive for change that was looking to be channeled somewhere.

The first time I ever did a lobbying day was this March, when I went to Albany to urge the legislature to help fund the MTA; that was such a great experience that I went back to Albany a month later with my husband for the Marriage Equality lobby day (we're celebrating our first wedding anniversary on 10/17), and then I started lobbying with the NPA for the public insurance option. If I hadn't gotten involved with T.A., I might never have done any of those things.

Did you have any expectations about what it might be like to volunteer with T.A.? If so, did they get proven right or wrong once you started getting involved? I didn't have a lot of expectations of what volunteering involved, but I was pretty shy about getting started. Once I attended a couple of meetings and pitched in on a few things, I really came to enjoy my involvement. One thing that impressed me was just how much volunteers contribute to T.A.'s success.

What was the most surprising thing you saw/experienced at this year's Summer Streets, while volunteering at the T.A. table? Volunteering at Summer Streets was one of my favorite activities to date. I had a great time talking to people about why they should consider membership, while enjoying the utopia of a car-free avenue. I loved the reaction of all the tourists who wanted to know if New York was like this every weekend!

You've been active on our new East Side Manhattan Volunteer Committee since we started the group earlier this year – what has kept you involved? The discrepancy between transportation on the East and West Sides is shocking. There are so many improvements needed, which means there are a lot of challenges but also many opportunities still to be realized. Now I'm all about the upcoming M15 BRT project for First and Second Avenues, because that presents so many possibilities for rethinking the East Side's streets.

Is there anything you're looking forward to, in regards to the East Side Committee's future? I'm looking forward to this committee transforming the East Side. Really.

As more and more T.A. staff members meet you, praise for your enthusiasm and energy emanates from all corners of our office. How do you stay motivated and positive about the large-scale projects that you help us advocate for? Isn't that a bit florid?!? Don't make me blush! When I showed up for the first East-Side Committee meetings, I was floored by the vision and dedication of some of the other volunteers. One couple (both architects) showed up at the first meeting with an audacious, thrilling, professional design for a completed Greenway! The example these people have provided gives me a lot of energy to draw on. I guess there's mutual respect between me and the staff, but I think that goes for several core people on the East Side Committee.

Do you have any words of advice for other T.A. members and volunteers, as they look to get more involved in their communities? I know that I'm just one guy, but T.A. has the experience, the resources, and the vision to help me try to make a difference in my community. There isn't a better way to work for change than to have T.A. behind you.