Remembering Ken Steif

by | September 17, 2021 | News | 0 comments

Earlier this month, we lost a long-time friend of the Bicycle Coalition, Dr. Ken Steif.

Ken was a brilliant Geo-Spatial Analyst who used his knowledge to take on urban planning and policy through GIS analysis to make cities better, more equitable places. Even more significant was his mission to lead and teach others as a Professor at UPenn Weitz School of Design, and his teachings are available to all.

Ken was part of the Bicycle Coalition’s family. His wife, Diana Owens Steif, joined the BCGP staff in 2008 as our first Bicycle Ambassador and later became office manager for the Bicycle Coalition, before moving on in 2020. Ken’s scope of work was much broader than analyzing traffic crashes and measuring the connectivity of bike lanes and trails. But he set aside some of his valuable time to help us paint a picture of bicycling in Philadelphia and what we would need to do to make it a safer, more equitable place to ride a bicycle and walk.

On a personal level, I always saw Ken as the guy who I could geek out with on dry and wonky maps, even if I didn’t fully understand the issues that he was visualizing. His understanding of urban spatial analysis went far beyond my, or anyone on our staff’s, understanding, but he was happy and eager to speak about these issues on our levels.

Ken also developed a bike share usage prediction model and included it in his book that he published earlier this year. This was a project that he started working on as a student. 

Map created by Ken Steif

We were thrilled to be able to talk at length with him at Diana’s outdoor, socially distanced going-away event last year. We will miss him dearly.

Ken also leaves behind two young boys Emil, 8, and Malcolm, who recently celebrated his first birthday.

If you want to learn more about Ken’s legacy, read this extensive obituary written by reporter Jake Blumgart which has been republished for WHYY.

If you would like to contribute to a memorial fund for Ken’s Family you can find it here.


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