13th Annual StreetTalk 10-in-1

Photo credit: Jenna Connolly

LivableStreets' returned to the Old South Meeting House for our 13th Annual StreetTalk 10-in-1! We had 10 talks (well, actually 11, but who’s counting!) and also offered a hybrid model and ASL Interpretation Services. Thank you so much for joining us — whether you attended online or in-person, your support for our event is truly appreciated, and helped make our event a success! 

You can check out photography by Pete Salomone from the event on our Facebook pageAnd a big thank you to the GBH Forum Network for partnering with us on this event and providing a livestream — watch the full recording of the event below or click here!

Thank You to our Event Partners!


Thank You to our Event Sponsors!

13th Annual StreetTalk 10-in-1 Sponsors

We were so grateful to have our partners and friends join us, to talk about important issues regarding transit advocacy, climate justice, protecting our greenways, equitable housing + land use policies, and more. You can check out information about our speakers, their sessions, and learn more about their organizations below!


2023 Speakers

Phillip Eng

Phillip Eng, General Manager and CEO, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

Phil Eng brings nearly 40 years of transportation experience to his role as General Manager and CEO of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). Since assuming leadership of the MBTA in April 2023, Eng has spearheaded a comprehensive workforce development initiative, prioritizing recruitment, retention, skills training, and leadership development to foster a robust and well-equipped workforce capable of operating, maintaining, and modernizing the nation's first public transportation system. Underpinned by a $20 million investment from the Healey-Driscoll Administration, the MBTA has revamped its senior leadership team, enhanced safety protocols, and bolstered its engineering, planning, frontline, and workforce development and training programs. This comprehensive approach has enabled the MBTA to surpass its hiring goals, welcoming nearly 1,200 new employees in 2023 alone, a testament to the effectiveness of the Local 589 Agreement.

In a landmark undertaking, the MBTA's Track Improvement Program, initiated in November 2023, represents the first comprehensive track repair and replacement endeavor embarked upon by the MBTA in recent history. This ambitious plan, championed by Eng, aims to eliminate all speed restrictions, bringing tracks closer to a state of good repair by the end of 2024. This endeavor will involve reconstructing critical track infrastructure across the Red, Orange, Blue, and Green Lines, paving the way for substantially improved train speeds, reduced delays and disruptions, enhanced safety, and timely, reliable, and consistent service for riders.

Prior, Eng's extensive experience in the transportation industry has been instrumental in advancing the transportation landscape of New York, having served in various leadership roles, including as the President of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) Long Island Rail Road, Executive Deputy Commissioner and Chief Engineer and Chief Operating Officer of the MTA, and Interim President of NYC Transit. During his tenure, he has overseen significant improvements across these agencies, successfully implementing initiatives to modernize ticketing systems, enhance contracting methods, revitalize aging infrastructure, and improve system performance.

Catherine Gleason
Vineet Gupta

Catherine Gleason, Public Policy Manager, LivableStreets Alliance
Vineet Gupta, Director of Policy and Planning, Boston Streets Cabinet

Catherine: Catherine is the Public Policy Manager for LivableStreets, championing our policy priorities and street safety work through coalition building and management, and holding municipalities and elected leaders accountable by publishing reports and candidate questionnaires.

Catherine believes in the power that policy has to revolutionize and make meaningful changes in peoples' lives, and puts her energy into shifting systems of power away from an inequitable status quo. She brings experiences from previous roles with The Food Project and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. Catherine holds a B.S. from Northeastern University, where she studied Environmental Science. In her free time, Catherine can be found curled up with one of the many books she’s reading at any given time, or exploring a new artistic hobby.

Vineet: His work focuses on addressing Boston’s most pressing transportation challenges such as social equity, reducing emissions, traffic related safety, and the impact of technology on mobility.

He envisioned and is now implementing the citywide transportation plan, Go Boston 2030, and its national award winning Complete Streets Guidelines. In his decades-long work he has pioneered the introduction of bus and bike lanes in Boston, converted underutilized street space to public plazas and parklets, launched the city’s EV program, and redesigned major corridors. His policy initiatives have resulted in Boston’s first free bus fares program, TDM regulations including maximum parking ratios, and the installation of mobility hubs. In the last two years he has successfully coordinated the award of four competitive federal grants for Boston totaling $50 million. He is currently leading extensive processes to transform two of the city’s premier corridors, Blue Hill Avenue and Rutherford Avenue.

Vineet’s work is driven by extensive community engagement with a proven record of removing barriers to encourage participation by everyone. He has a Masters in Architecture and a Masters in City Planning, both from MIT.

Session — You, Me, and Accountability: Reporting on Boston's Progress Toward Go Boston 2030

Alex Hallowell

Alex Hallowell, Director of Transit Priority, MBTA

Alex Hallowell is the Director of Transit Priority at the MBTA and oversees the talented team that plans, designs, and implements bus priority infrastructure throughout the Greater Boston area. She is a particularly passionate bus advocate and brings a decade of transit planning and operations experience to her work.

Originally from the South Shore, Alex recently relocated from the San Francisco Bay Area where she oversaw the operations analytics and capital planning teams at Muni. She’s a mom to two little transit riders and can be seen most evenings chasing after her toddler as he careens down the sidewalk on his scooter. She holds a Master of City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.

Session — Not just another plan: MBTA Transit Priority Vision and Toolkit in action

Vivian Ortiz

Vivian Ortiz, That Bike Lady & People's Bike Mayor of Boston

Vivian Ortiz is the senior outreach coordinator and bike education lead for the MA Safe Routes to School program. She discovered biking in 2014 after attending the City of Boston's Women's Learn-to-Ride Clinic. Through Boston Bike Party, Mattapan on Wheels, and other group rides, she found her people, and more importantly, the joy that riding a bicycle brings. In the summer of 2020, Becca, Galen, and Stacy approached Vivian about becoming the first People's Bike Mayor of Boston.

Session — No, for real, I am the Bike Mayor of Boston: experiences of either having people laugh hysterically or think you're royalty when you say you're the Bike Mayor

Mike Ryan

Mike Ryan, Legislative Policy Counsel, Committee for Public Counsel Services

Mike is a dedicated advocate with a commitment to ensuring fairness and equity within the legal system. In his current role with the Massachusetts public defender office, he lobbies at the Massachusetts State House on a host of policies that promote justice and address systemic issues in the state courts. His work involves engaging with lawmakers, stakeholders, and the public to build consensus around reforms that prioritize justice, rehabilitation, and community well-being.

Mike began his career as a public defender in 2012. Over the years, he has been a staunch defender of the rights of individuals entangled in the criminal system, representing clients with passion and unwavering dedication. His hands-on experience within courtrooms and his deep understanding of the challenges faced by those navigating the legal system have uniquely positioned him to drive meaningful change.

Session — Debts & Driving: Debt-based license suspensions do nothing to make our roads safer and force the poorest members of our community into impossible situations.

Ellice Patterson
Photo credit: Jaypix

Ellice Patterson, Founder/Executive & Artistic director, Abilities Dance

Ellice Patterson is the founder/executive and artistic director of Abilities Dance, a Boston-based dance company that welcomes artists with and without disabilities. She was an artist in residence with the City of Boston’s transportation department, using dance as a way to promote more accessibility on the streets and sidewalks of the city 2022 - 2023. She has also served as the executive director of BalletRox 2020 - 2022, a Boston-based dance education program to provide access to high quality dance education to youth within Boston Public Schools/external partners and in our after-school program in Jamaica Plain. Outside of self-produced Abilities Dance's shows, her choreography has appeared in the MFA, Links Hall in Chicago, Gibney Dance in NYC, The Series: Vol IV at the Ailey Citigroup Theatre in NYC, and more. She has given lectures and workshops at schools, universities, and organizations across the country, including Harvard Graduate School of Education, Fidelity Investments, Boston University, and more. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences from Wellesley College and her Masters of Science in Management Studies from Boston University Questrom School of Business. As a student, Patterson sailed from Massachusetts to Ireland and conducted research in the Atlantic and Caribbean oceans on coastal runoff, sponge species, and spider habitats! She is a passionate researcher and science communicator, dedicated to uplifting Black women in STEM.

Ann Sussman
Adrian Gill

Ann Sussman, RA, President, the Human Architecture + Planning Institute, Inc
Adrian Gill, Founder & Creative Director, Ad Hoc Industries

Ann: Ann is president of the Human Architecture + Planning Institute (theHapi.org) a nonprofit dedicated to understanding the human experience of the built environment, and improving its design through education and research. A licensed architect, her expertise is using biometric tools, including eye tracking, to reveal how our experience of buildings begins subliminally. Her book, Cognitive Architecture, Designing for How We Respond to the Built Environment, (Routledge, 2015, 2021) won the Place Research Award from the Environment Design Research Association (EDRA) in 2016. She has taught a course on buildings and our biology at the Boston Architectural College (BAC) since 2018. Her website: annsussman.com; blog: geneticsofdesign.com

Session — Using biometrics to ’see’ how we really see a Chelsea Bus Stop: the talk reviews recent efforts in Chelsea to improve the Bus Stop experience with art and flowers; the Boston Globe wrote up the ‘Flower Walk’ project here.

Adrian:Adrian Gill is the Founder of creative agency Ad Hoc industries. At Ad Hoc, Adrian has led creative and branding efforts for a range of innovative startups and international organizations, including the Harvard Innovation Labs, BostonBRT, LovePop, Sasaki Foundation, Barbados Tourism, RE/MAX, VMWare, and more. He is also an advisory board member for FutureBARBADOS, and is the Marketing Committee Chair for Laguna College of Art and Design's Board of Trustees. Prior to Ad Hoc, he was the VP of Global Footwear at Puma, where he led all creative design direction, including collaborations with fashion designers Alexander McQueen, Yashuhiro Mihara, and Hussein Chalayan.

Zack Bertocchi + Matty Harris, seniors at Medford Vocational Technical High School

Zack Bertocchi — He's a 17-year-old and a senior at Medford Vocational Technical High School. Growing up, Zack's always had a thirst for building things from the ground up and creating whatever fun contraption he'd be cooking up in his mind. In collaboration with Matty and two other classmates, he developed a way to add fare value to the MBTA's CharlieCard out of thin air. As the project progressed, Zack developed a machine dubbed the "CharlieKiosk" that allowed the group's methods to be demonstrated in the hands of any user. After months of working with the MBTA's Automated Fare Collection team (and their lawyers), he and his friends went on to present at DEFCON 31, one of the world's largest cybersecurity conferences. Along with the same group of pals, he is part of the two-time MATE ROV New England winning team, Sunk Robotics, where he gets to put his passion for a more sustainable future to use.

Matty Harris — Matty is a 17-year old and a senior at Medford Vocational Technical High School. He’s had an enthusiasm for public transit ever since he learned to navigate the T on his own when he was 12. He was the lead hacker who, along with Zack and two other friends, reverse engineered the MBTA CharlieCard, finding a way to add infinite money to cards without paying a dime. The four of them presented their findings at DEF CON 31 in Las Vegas to a crowd of over 2,000 and were featured in WIRED Magazine, WGBH’s All Things Considered, WBZ, and The Boston Globe. He’s also the lead software engineer and former pilot at Sunk Robotics, the underwater robotics team at his high school.

Session — Freeing the T: A Criminal's Guide

Noah Berger

Noah Berger, Administrator and CEO of Merrimack Valley Transit (MeVa)

Noah Berger is the Administrator and CEO of Merrimack Valley Transit (MeVa), the Regional Transit Authority serving the northeast corner of Massachusetts, centered on the gateway cities of Lawrence, Haverhill, and Methuen. MeVa carries 2.8 million riders per year on its family of local and intercity bus routes, mini MeVa paratransit, a seasonal beach bus, and future ferry service! Since his appointment to the position by the MeVa Board in July of 2021, Noah has worked with his talented team of transit professionals to implement several exciting initiatives to increase access and opportunity across the region, including going fare-free systemwide, doubling frequencies in Lawrence, extending service later into the evening, adding Sunday service, optimizing routes, establishing MeVa as a great and inclusive place to work, and rebranding the look and feel of vehicles and spaces to be more visible, welcoming and responsive to the culturally and linguistically rich comminates MeVa serves.

Noah is an almost thirty-year veteran of public transportation. He has previously held leadership positions with the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, Connecticut Transit, the Greater Hartford Transit District, the Federal Transit Administration, the Boston Foundation, the MBTA Advisory Board, Cambridge Systematics, the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, as well as Boston’s Parker Shelter, Vermont Congressman Bernie Sanders, and the New York Yankees. He is an exhibited oil painter, and has served on the boards for ARTmorpheus and the New Art Center. He is the author of By Bus, Bike or Boat: A Rider’s Guide to Public Transit in Greater Burlington and Vermont, and “The Guardian of the Birds” in John Abarno’s The Ethics of Homelessness: Philosophical Perspectives, and has Master’s Degrees in City Planning from M.I.T., and Philosophy from the State University of New York.

Session — Merrimack Valley Transit (MeVa): We're Fare-Free and now we're bringing the receipts!

anne ning lin + kirstie hostetter

Anne Ning Lin, Director of Planning & Narrative Strategy, Grayscale Collaborative
Kirstie Hostetter, Former Transit Planner, City of Boston

Anne: As an urban planner trained in design, public health, and public sector programming, Anne's work is rooted in social equity. Her current position as the Director of Planning & Narrative Strategy at Grayscale is informed by her background in direct service, community place-based advocacy, and a series of public sector roles working to enhance accountability, transparency, and collaboration between government and community. Her technical and personal background consistently marries high-impact development and planning work with the creative possibilities of design.

Anne convenes and leads broad collaborations to generate co-developed, actionable plans and processes. She brings a wealth of experience in program development, equity framework creation, and narratively-informed spatial and quantitative analysis to Grayscale’s clients and community partners. Prior to joining Grayscale full time, she worked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development to funnel federal emergency COVID-19 relief funds towards the creation of policies and programs to keep low-income tenants stably housed during the pandemic. She received her Master in Urban Planning with Distinction and Master in Public Health at Harvard University.

Kirstie: Kirstie found her passion working in public transportation because of the impact a well-functioning transit system can have on environmental sustainability, social equity, and economic mobility. This passion led her to a planning position at the City of Boston's Streets Cabinet, where she managed the community engagement process for the Blue Hill Avenue Transportation Action Plan and helped design and implement Boston's Fare Free Bus program, among other responsibilities. In her work, she strives to uplift community voices and bring the diversity of residents' lived experiences into decision-making and evaluation processes. She is an ardent believer that equitable community engagement can empower our most marginalized community members and help build trust in local government. Kirstie received her Masters in Environmental Policy and Planning from the University of Michigan and her Bachelors in Environmental Economics and Management from the University of Georgia.

Session — Blue Hill Avenue Transportation Action Plan: Putting equitable engagement values to the test: Kirstie and Anne will discuss their work on the Blue Hill Avenue Transportation Action Plan, the values that informed the engagement process, and the successes and challenges that occur when idealism meets reality.

ian coss

Ian Coss, host of the GBH News podcast The Big Dig

Ian Coss is the host and producer of "The Big Dig," a nine-episode podcast from GBH News released in fall 2023. He is an acclaimed podcast creator, and founding member of PRX Productions. His original series "Forever is a Long Time" was named one of the best podcasts of 2021 by The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Financial Times and Apple Podcasts. He was previously the producer for Radiotopia's "Over the Road," "Ways of Hearing," and "Blind Guy Travels" – which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival – as well as GBH's "Detours," which was nominated for Podcast of the Year by the Podcast of Academy. Ian's work has appeared on Snap Judgment, Studio 360 and 99 Percent Invisible; and received multiple Edward R. Murrow Awards, including for 'Excellence in Sound.'

Session — "Telling the story of the Big Dig": Boston's most ambitious modern undertaking has a bad reputation, but is it totally deserved? Ian Coss, host of the podcast The Big Dig, considers how public narratives around the project have formed and shifted over the years.