Loss of a Giant Cycling Advocate, Steve Faust

Steve and Linda Faust

 

Linda and Steven Faust in NYC, 2009

We are saddened at the passing of one of cycling’s most ardent advocates, Steven Faust, a lifelong resident of Brooklyn, NY. Steve was only 67 and had been diagnosed with Chronic Leukemia a year ago, but he wouldn’t let it slow him down. He was an excellent photographer and shared his photos generously with others. An active member of many cycling organizations, Steve was a crucial participant in developing and growing New York’s Five Boro Bike Tour which now gets well over 30,000 participants.

Steve understood what we wanted to do in creating the East Coast Greenway and saw it as a larger vision on which to hang local greenway projects in NYC and elsewhere. He was always there to support us.

Steve was invariably the most knowledgeable and best prepared person in the room, having done his home work assiduously. He was involved in advancing many portions of the New York City Greenway System, many of which are part of the East Coast Greenway. His work included getting the Hudson River Greenway path on Manhattan’s west side expanded from 8 to 12 feet in width, and the current effort to extend the East River Esplanade pathway past the United Nations site. This is a crucial missing piece of the circuit around Manhattan Island. He fought for the paving of the Putnam Rail Line through Van Cortland Park in the Bronx, another currently important project still pending.

Steve was a critical force in the removal of six staircases that provided access to the Brooklyn Bridge and replacement with ramps accessible to cyclists. Objections by landmark folks stood in the way but Steve secured the original bridge drawings which showed no stairs—they were added at request by the Navy when they asked the bridge to be raised higher for access to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. That, along with bringing in the handicapped advocacy folks, carried the day. The bridge is part of the alternate ECG route through Brooklyn.

One of Steve’s most cherished goals was to gain access for pedestrians and cyclists to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which connects Brooklyn to Staten Island. Original plans for the bridge called for a side path, similar to the George Washington Bridge pathway, but it was knocked out before construction began.

Steve, a graduate of Brooklyn Tech HS (civil engineering), Brooklyn College (Urban Studies/Sociology), and Harvard Graduate School of Design (Master of City and Regional Planning) was a Project Manager for the Federal Transit Administration’s New York Regional Office for 22 Years. He knew more about the technical aspects of adding the path back into the Verrazano-Narrows bridge and dogged this goal for decades. This bridge is a critical link in an alternate route of the East Coast Greenway through NYC, enabling access from Brooklyn to Staten Island and on across to the Goethals Bridge, to New Jersey. Greatly increased cycling activity in NYC in the past five years portend well for the eventual provision of this path, a fitting tribute to Steve’s years of perseverance.

We regret the loss of this tenacious spirit for a safe cycling future. Steve’s wife Linda and children Nathan and Juliette, were partners in many of Steve’s projects and we anticipate they will carry forward his effort on behalf of better cycling conditions, with grandsons Eli and Miles and their generation in mind.

– by Karen Votava, an ECG Founder and the ECGA’s first Executive Director.