I’m thrilled to join the Mobycon team as a Senior Integrated Mobility Specialist, and to bring my skills in planning, design, and visual communication to this team of innovative change makers. Based in Portland, Oregon, I will be working to bring Dutch inspired urban design and mobility innovation to communities across the US.
Throughout my career, I have dedicated myself to effectively communicating complex ideas and technical details to diverse audiences, bridging the gap between innovation and practical implementation. My experience spans both the private and public sectors, providing me with a unique perspective on context-sensitive innovation and the realities of on-the-ground implementation.
I began my career in transportation on the cusp of a revolution in urban cycling in the US. Contributing to the first and second addition of the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide, I learned from leaders in American cycleway design, advocating for the first national-level guidance on new innovations to the US. For the first time, tools such as protected bike lanes, bike boxes, and bicycle boulevards were recognized by city leaders as important tools in achieving success.
Transportation consulting brought me around the country, spreading the word of these new tools and guidelines to all communities that wanted to learn. This exposed me to the vast differences, contexts, and unique challenges facing our cities and small towns, but also, a recognition of our similarities.
As American cities began to build their protected bike lane network, it became clear that we needed to add even more to our toolbox to make the experience safe and comfortable at intersections. For that, I looked to the Netherlands as the world-leader in cycleway design. Through online research, practitioner message board discussions, and translating the Dutch edition of the CROW Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic, it became clear that the elegance and comfort of Dutch designs were what we needed. Building on my background in bikeway design, I struck with a viral video hit, giving a name to and popularizing the Protected Intersection in North America as a way for US and Canadian cities to embrace the Dutch design approach.
I developed a passion for public speaking through my roles as a NACTO certified trainer, teaching urban mobility planning at the graduate level as an adjunct faculty at Portland State University, and frequently presenting at industry leading conferences.
I eventually turned my attention close to my hometown of Portland, Oregon, and joined the Portland Bureau of Transportation as a Senior Transportation Planner to help bring these innovations to the city I call home. Portland has long been a beacon of cycling for transportation in the US, and I wanted to be a part of the team that helped continue that legacy.
I worked to expand our city’s neighborhood greenway (bicycle boulevard) network, and grow our system of bus only lanes for improving transit reliability. After 30 years of active transportation investment, there is little low hanging fruit left in Portland, and none of these projects come easy.
I quickly learned that while change requires a good idea, a good idea alone is not enough. City agencies and leaders face a complex reality, full of advocates, reactionary communities, changing politics, and funding realities that all influence the world of what is possible. These experiences taught me a lot about thoughtful strategy around implementation.
Like everywhere, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the City of Portland and the world to pivot to address changed priorities. I helped shape our agency’s response to the pandemic, as we asked ourselves how we can support our city in this time of need. We realized we could offer up our main asset: our streets.
This led me deeper into the world of public space and placemaking, as we let businesses and communities fill our streets with seating, activities, and community events. In a grand experiment of action, we could quickly iterate on what works, while adapting to the changing needs of our communities. Through this period, I helped formalize Portland’s Outdoor Dining Program to lower barriers to entry for small businesses and expand their footprint in our public realm and I helped lead the new Street Plaza Program, an effort to create platforms for public use, community activation, art, and expression.
Coming to Mobycon, I’m excited to bring my experience in mobility and urban placemaking to a broader audience, with a Dutch inspired lens. If you would like to discuss upcoming projects or opportunities in your community, please reach out. My colleagues and I would love to help.
“Cities and communities in the US grapple with questions of equity, sustainability, and affordability as they grow. Part of the answer to these hard problems is found in how we build and move around our cities. As change makers we’re here to tell stories of the way things are, the good and the bad, and of the way that they can be better in the future. We’re here to help inspire communities, leaders, and agencies to reshape their cities to meet the needs of tomorrow.”