Through Cella’s leadership, Citizens for Modern has made great strides to further Transit-Oriented Development by working with community partners to establish the needed tools and resources to entice development around the light rail system. More specifically, her efforts have included the passage of form-based overlay zoning in Pagedale, the formation of 353 around the UMSL South Station, an RFP for development at the Belleville Station and the first draft of overlay zoning at Grand Station. She also recently oversaw the delivery of the first feasibility study led by a non-profit to explore the possibility of adding a new light rail station in the Midtown/CORTEX area of St. Louis, which would serve as the first addition to MetroLink since the opening of the Cross County Extension in 2006.
Cella’s tireless efforts have also led to the establishment of quality community programs that help raise awareness about the benefits of transit, while increasing ridership. This includes but is not limited to the Ten Toe Program, which has more than 7,500 older adult participants who take guided walk tours around the St. Louis region in an effort to link healthy living and transit, while enabling seniors to better familiarize themselves with the system; the Guaranteed Ride Home, a incentive based program with 15,000+ registrants, which was established in 1996 to provide a free car ride home for transit, bike and walk commuters in the event of an emergency; and The Great Race, an initiative designed to play off the CBS television hit “The Amazing Race” that places local media personalities and other local influentials on teams as they utilize biking, transit, carsharing and carpooling to see who can get from Point A to Point B the fastest during the evening rush.
Cella has been working at Citizens for Modern Transit for more than 23 years, during which time she has successfully secured millions in federal and private funding for transit advocacy and education. She has been nationally recognized for her efforts by the Federal Transit Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. She was appointed to the St. Louis County Public Transportation Commission in 2012, and is on the East-West Gateway Coordinating Council Air Quality Committee and the St. Louis Regional Clean Air Partnership’s Advisory Committee. In addition, she serves on numerous boards and committees in the St. Louis area on transit and non-transit related endeavors.
Most recently, Cella was selected to serve as the new executive director of the Missouri Public Transit Association (MPTA). She and her team at Citizens for Modern Transit have partnered with Michael G. Winter Consultants to lead efforts on behalf of the statewide transit provider association to elevate the status of transit in Missouri, build new coalitions to expand the advocacy base, and promote and support MPTA members.
In 2016, WTS honored Cella with Woman of the Year in Transportation Award.
Cella received her master’s degree in business administration from Saint Louis University. She currently resides in St. Louis County with her husband and two children.