Winter 2002, p.20

Volunteer Profile: Kahya Engler

Neighborhood: West Village. Originally from Brixton, London.
Occupation: Sound Engineer
T.A. member since: I am not a T.A. member, but I am a member of the London Cycling Campaign (London's equivalent to T.A.) back home.
Volunteer Activities: I coordinated two bicycle counts, which meant that I developed the projects and arranged for other T.A. volunteers to help me. The first project was a bimonthly count of the number of bikes and pedestrians crossing the four east river bridges [see page 4]. The second project was a count of the volume of traffic and bikes in the East Village on a single morning and evening.
How did you learn about T.A.? When I found out that I would be living in New York for a spell, I researched cycling groups and decided to contact T.A. to see how I could help. We decided to conduct the counts because it is important for T.A. to have its own database of traffic, bike and pedestrian volume that it could use for its advocacy efforts. Plus, it was a good time to study the impact of the opening of the Manhattan Bridge.
Compare London and New York. Learning to ride in New York was a real adjustment. I had to get used to riding on the right side of the road, the red signal indicators (the ones in Europe are orange) and the fact that cyclists hardly ever obey the lights (in London, you get a huge fine for running lights) [Editor's note: this is also true in NYC]. Some of the other big challenges of cycling in Manhattan are that traffic speeds are often very high and intersections very frequent, increasing the risk of cars overtaking you, only to turn in your path. But, with all the difficulties and obstacles of cycling, it's still the best way to get around town, just like it is in London-come and visit!
What was it like to work with T.A. volunteers? Being the volunteer coordinator for the two counts was a great experience. I met with the volunteers in person at the counts and at a few social events, which was great because talking to everyone helped me understand both T.A. and cycling in New York better. I want to say thank you so much. You all have made my stay in New York and my work for T.A. so much fun, even though there is no kettle at the office to make a nice cup of tea. You're fabulous. Keep going!
What's next? I hope that my time at T.A. will help connect T.A. and L.C.C., since the cycling situation is quite similar in the two towns. I'm heading back to London. Meanwhile, Kerri Martin, the super-fabulous long-term T.A. volunteer, will be continuing the counts here in New York.