The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is thrilled to announce the selection of Chris Gale to serve as the organization’s new Executive Director. 

Gale joins the Bicycle Coalition after years of advocacy for safe streets and Vision Zero initiatives in North Philadelphia, where he has served as Chief Programs Officer for North10 Philadelphia. While there, he has closely collaborated with the Coalition on its Lil’ Philly Safety Village, the region’s first traffic park, which teaches children in the Hunting Park neighborhood about safe cycling in an urban environment. 

“After years of close collaboration with the Bicycle Coalition, I’m excited to take on the role of Executive Director at this critical juncture in our city’s history,” Gale said.

“I firmly believe that cycling should be available to every Philadelphian and that every family deserves safe streets — regardless of their race, socioeconomic status or ZIP code. As Executive Director, I look forward building on the Coalition’s strong track record of expanding access to cycling through our robust education programs and advocacy for safe streets, bike lanes and the Circuit Trails network.” 

Gale succeeds longtime Executive Director Sarah Clark-Stuart, who in her eight years at the helm, 15 years as a staff member, and two years as a board member significantly expanded the Coalition’s reach, bolstering education and outreach programs to underserved communities while also leading advocacy efforts that led to a significant expansion of bike lanes, trails and safety initiatives, including speed cameras on Roosevelt Boulevard. 

Gale’s appointment comes at a critical time in the history of both Philadelphia and the Coalition. As Cherelle Parker prepares to take office as Philadelphia’s 100th mayor, Gale will lead efforts to build on the Coalition’s successful partnership with the city, with a focus on improving safety at the city’s most dangerous intersections. 

“We are delighted to announce Chris’ appointment as Executive Director to lead the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia into the future,” said Board of Directors Chair Edward W. Chang. “Chris is joining the Coalition at an exciting time in the organization’s history, with the launch of a new five-year strategic plan that deepens our commitment to advancing equity in cycling as well as pedestrian safety. We’re convinced that his long experience partnering with the Coalition on advancing these initiatives prepares him to hit the ground running.” 

Gale is prepared to start with the Coalition on December 4. He comes to the Coalition after a long career working to expand opportunities in marginalized communities. Prior to his work at North10, Gale served as Deputy Director of Community Schools, helping to lead one of Mayor Jim Kenney’s signature education policy initiatives. He also served as administrator for Casa del Carmen, which provides early education and social services to the Hunting Park community on behalf of Catholic Social Services. 

A native of the Midwest, Gale moved to Philadelphia to attend Villanova University, where he received his Masters of Public Administration. Gale began his career in public policy and social service at the Boys and Girls Clubs, where he served in a variety of positions, culminating as Manager of Literacy Initiatives. Gale’s experience with cycling began as a young child, when he used his bicycle to work a newspaper route and used it as a primary means of transportation in the small Midwest town in which he grew up. 

Gale continued cycling with his family for exercise and recreation but found the neighborhood where he moved to in Philadelphia’s suburbs lacking basic safety infrastructure. His current home, in the Fairmount section of the city, has better bicycling infrastructure but is still in need of additional safety improvements. 

Chris Gale speaking at the 2023 World Day of Remembrance

Gale’s lived experience, coupled with his experience advocating for pedestrian safety improvements at places like Broad Street and Erie Avenue, make him the perfect fit to lead the Coalition in carrying out its new five-year strategic plan, which calls on the organization to double down on its efforts to expand education and safety initiatives in underserved communities.  

“Having grown up poor in a single-parent home and as a Latino who has worked in and advocated for communities of color throughout Philadelphia, I understand firsthand the essential role that cycling — and safe streets — play in the lives of families across our region,” Gale said. “My mission is to lead this organization to realize its goals of eliminating traffic fatalities in our region even as we expand access to cycling to more families than ever before.” 

The Bicycle Coalition board is grateful for the support of the expert team at DiverseForce who led the search and the lead support provided by the William Penn Foundation in support of the leadership transition. 

Read the Inquirer article about the transition.

We welcome you to join us for a Bicycle Coalition Open House on Thursday, January 25th, 5-7pm at our office at 1500 Walnut Street, 11th Floor.  More Info here.

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