Photo credit: Streetsblog/Roger Rudick
At our 25th Annual Golden Wheel Awards on July 20, we are proud to honor Tom Radulovich for his decades of service as a director on the BART Board and as executive director of Livable City.
Whenever I want to dig deep on the history of city planning or untangle the knot of Municipal Code policies, there’s one person I know I can count on: Tom Radulovich. Few rival his understanding of our city’s Planning Code, which comes from his passion for making San Francisco a better city for everyone.
So what brought Tom to our city in the first place?
“I settled in San Francisco because it was urban yet friendly, rooted yet cosmopolitan, beautiful and convivial, in a splendid natural setting. Progressive values are at home here,” he told me. But as our city changes and cost of living skyrockets, how do we keep San Francisco’s character alive?
“Sustainable transportation is key to preserving all those qualities,” Tom said. “Walking, cycling, and public transit are also key to making our region more affordable — automobile dependence imposes a huge cost burden on households and makes housing more expensive and scarce.”
As a true believer of sustainable transportation, you’ll often see Tom pedaling around the city. Tom says that it’s “great news” that more and more San Franciscans are biking, but that our streets continue to be “unacceptably dangerous for cycling and walking.”
“Traffic on many city streets is too fast. Our bicycle network is sketchy and disconnected, and compromised by feeble design and lax enforcement,” Tom said. “The work of redesigning our streets for safe and accessible walking, cycling and transit is still at the beginning stages and changing very slowly.”
How do we change that? The simple answer is that it isn’t easy, but change is possible.
“The good news is that local action can effectively make our home place more livable, more equitable and more sustainable, and serve as an inspiration and practical example for communities that share our values,” Tom said. “Land use and transportation decisions are overwhelmingly local. If we’re determined to be a Sanctuary City, we have to protect residents from displacement and build affordable new housing in walkable neighborhoods.”
Just as Oscar at Bicis del Pueblo challenged us to “act locally as allies,” Tom shares his challenge for our city and its people, bringing it back to the reason he moved to San Francisco in the first place:
“We can reclaim and create public spaces in the City that bring us together, and help counter increasing inequality and privatization by dignifying all San Franciscans as they use or move through the public spaces of the city,” Tom said. “Now more than ever, San Francisco needs to live up to its values.”
To toast Tom and his enduring vision for San Francisco, please join us on July 20 at this year’s Golden Wheel Awards.
Learn more about Livable City at their website here.