Sharon Z. Roerty, a national expert on bicycling and walking initiatives in cities and suburbs, joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2011 as senior program officer with the Childhood Obesity team. She views her work with the Foundation as “bringing in the outside perspective and then, by virtue of RWJF’s efforts, bringing new ideas back outside.”
Previously, Roerty was executive director of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking (NCBW), an RWJF program, and was director of the Active Living Resource Center (ALRC), which provides resources and tools to make walking and bicycling part of a community’s healthy lifestyle. In these capacities, she was a principal spokesperson on national transportation and related issues. She focused on environmental, transportation, and land use planning, and on building public capacity for change. Roerty viewed changes during her time at NCBW in light of Van Gogh’s saying: “Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”
For several years, Roerty managed the multibillion dollar capital improvement program for the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, the fourth largest metropolitan planning organization in the United States. She also developed and directed New Jersey’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Resource Center at the Voorhees Transportation Center. And as a principal planner and project manager for several environmental management firms, she oversaw regional environmental growth and impact studies for land development projects in New Jersey and New York.
Roerty was appointed to the Federal Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Task Force by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). She was a member of the SRTS National Review Group, and was a review committee member for the USDOT Pedestrian Safety Program Strategic Plan. Other active memberships include: NJ Council of Physical Fitness & Sports; the Pedestrian Injury Prevention Program in Newark, NJ; Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center International Advisory Group; America Bikes Board of Directors; and Complete Streets Coalition Steering Committee.
Roerty has written and lectured extensively on biking and walking. She earned her BS in environmental science from Stockton State College; a Master's degree in City and Regional Planning (M.C.R.P.) from Rutgers University; and was a Leadership NJ Fellow (2004). A member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, she is a Licensed Professional Planner, State of New Jersey.
Born in Jersey City, N.J., she and her husband, Barry, a telecommunications engineer, have two children, Van and Mary. She enjoys time spent with her family, occasional deep sea fishing off Point Pleasant and, of course, biking. She also promotes bicycling and walking as a community volunteer in Maplewood and South Orange.