Hubsmith Honored MTC “Excellence in Motion” Grand Award Honors Deb Hubsmith
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) presented 13 “Excellence in Motion” awards during a ceremony on Wednesday, Oct. 26, honoring people, projects and organizations for exceptional contributions to Bay Area transportation. The 2016 program marked the 35th presentation of the now biennial Excellence in Motion awards, which began in 1977.
This year’s top honor, the 2016 Grand Award, was awarded posthumously to Deb Hubsmith as a reminder of the impact that one passionate, tenacious individual can make. Her work to create safe, active transportation for children and adults spread from Marin County to the entire Bay Area, California and the nation. In addition to acting as Executive Director for MCBC, Hubsmith founded the Safe Routes to School National Partnership that advocated for and landed $1.1 billion in federal funds, with more than 17,000 schools in all 50 states benefiting since 2005. Hubsmith brought that same energy to her fight against cancer until her passing in August 2015 at the age of 46.
Ironically, Hubsmith’s commitment began with an auto accident in 1996. Her car totaled, she vowed to make bicycling and walking her primary forms of transportation. This was the start of two decades of passionate dedication and tireless efforts to spread the benefits of bicycling and walking and to create new and safer bike/pedestrian routes.
From 1998 to 2005, Hubsmith served as the Marin County Bicycle Coalition’s executive director, building the organization into a force that secured millions of state and federal dollars for bike projects throughout the county. She co-led development of Marin’s SR2S pilot program and helped create a SR2S program across California, the nation’s first statewide program. In 2000, on a trip to Washington, D.C., Hubsmith met Congressman James Oberstar (D-Minn.), then ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The two shared a vision to expand Marin’s successful SR2S program to the whole nation. Subsequently, Hubsmith and a nationwide coalition of bicycle advocates launched a campaign that led to congressional passage of a bill in 2005 dedicating $1.1 billion for SR2S funding in all 50 states.
Diagnosed with leukemia in 2013 and in worsening health, Hubsmith continued to serve as a board member of the National Partnership and to assist on the Bay Area projects she had begun.
Hubsmith’s death in August 2015 at age 46 reverberated around the country. In the words of Sara Zimmerman, program and policy director of the National Partnership, “Anyone who ever met Deb knows she was a dynamo. She was a bundle of passion, enthusiasm and conviction who helped everyone she met understand why getting kids walking and bicycling matters. She inspired all of us to work harder and smarter.”