Earlier this year, the Cleveland Foundation commissioned a series of 17 portraits by local artist Billy Delfs of those who are making our region a better place. We call them Place.Makers—the people behind the buildings, programs and places who are making our community a better home for all. We unveiled our Place.Makers at this year’s Annual Meeting, and the photo exhibition is currently on display here at the foundation.
Our Place.Makers blog series will highlight each of these individuals over the coming weeks.
This week, meet Jacob VanSickle, executive director of Bike Cleveland, a member-supported advocacy organization that works for safe streets and more inclusive modes of transportation.
As director of Bike Cleveland, Jacob works closely with volunteers and members to affect policy, legislation and infrastructure that help make Cleveland’s roadways safer and our neighborhoods more friendly. Jacob is a fierce advocate for bike-able and walk-able streets in Cleveland. Over the past few years, Bike Cleveland has created many miles of more bikeable streets, improved the safety of our roadways, and championed UH Bikes, an innovative bike sharing system in partnership with University Hospitals that has placed 250 bikes at locations across Cleveland.
We selected Jacob as a Place.Maker because he has worked tirelessly to give a voice to the many residents and local businesses that have a stake in creating safe, connected communities of choice. Through Jacob’s leadership, Bike Cleveland has literally made places better by improving access and opportunities to navigate and enjoy our community.
When asked what a future Cleveland looks like, he says, “A future Cleveland is equitable, sustainable and, in terms of the work Bike Cleveland does, connected. People can get from where they live to where they need to go safely and equitably so that they can really, truly experience our community, not just in a car but on a bike or on a bus or walking.”
And to attract and keep the next generation in Cleveland, we simply must offer convenient and safe modes of transportation. This work is not just about cycling—it’s about improving community health and opportunity.
Meet the first Place.Maker in our blog series, Margo Hudson. And stay tuned for more!