Spring 2002, p.10

Volunteer Profile: Diana Gavales & Kate Clouse

Name: Diana Gavales & Kate Clouse
Age: 30/26
Neighborhood: Park Slope/East Village
Member since: 1990s/1999
Occupation: Diana, a development associate, and Kate, a special projects coordinator, are co-workers at a labor organization in Brooklyn and loyal T.A. volunteers.
OK, what's your story?
Kate: Our desks are side-by-side, and we realized during my first week at work that we both volunteer for T.A. We stay up-to-date on TA activities and go to them together.
What kinds of volunteering have you done?
Diana: I came to volunteer nights on and off for a few years, then last summer started going to Brooklyn Committee meetings and helped out with route painting for the Century Ride. Now I'm coordinating Operation Hazard ID, where we ride around neighborhoods and record street hazards for the DOT to fix. I'm a big fan of (water-soluble, non-toxic) spray paint.
Kate: Lots of different things through the years: representing T.A. at Bike NY and the Century Ride, taking photos for the magazine, helping with bike counts, plus volunteer nights, which are always fun. I also enjoy helping out with Bike Week.
Why do you like cycling in the city?
Diana: I like the drama of it and the independence. Also, biking is often the fastest way to get around town.
Kate: I totally agree with the feeling of independence. There's nothing better than talking to someone who has just started cycling in the city and seeing the excitement of new-found mobility. With cycling, you choose your own route with every turn-it's liberating to be so self-sufficient.
What issues concern you as a T.A. member?
Diana: I'm shocked at the number of people driving cars in the city. New York has an amazing, comprehensive transit system. I grew up here and never drove, and I don't feel hindered in getting around because there are so many options. The pollution and heavy traffic are extreme prices that everyone pays for a few people's perceived convenience. I support bridge tolls, the Carpool Rule and traffic calming designs to address these problems.
Kate: Overall quality of life in the city, as both a cyclist and a pedestrian. Improvements like the Hudson River Greenway are fantastic but there's much more the City can be doing, and I'm glad that T.A. is a force pushing the City in the right direction. Specifically, I'm concerned about the city's tolerance of aggressive driving, the amount of cars commuting into the city and the ineffectiveness of city buses. I'm also a fan of red light cameras, traffic calming and wider sidewalks.
What is your favorite ride in the city?
Diana: I love the Carroll Street Bridge over the Gowanus. Also, Clinton Hill-riding down Vanderbilt to the Navy Yards, there are some amazing wooden houses with porches that I fantasize about living in one day.
Kate: Brooklyn by bike on a gorgeous fall day is sublime. I'm also particularly fond of the little stretch of bike lane on 5th Avenue in Manhattan from 14th Street to Washington Square, and riding down St. Marks Place.