Transportation Planner, City of Minneapolis – Public Works
Year graduated from Carolina Planning: 2016
Specialization at Carolina Planning: Transportation Planning
Alexander is a transportation planner at the City of Minneapolis – Public Works where he specializes in multi-modal transportation planning and implementation.
Why did I pursue a career in city planning?
For me, city planning was a career change: When I applied to UNC, I was working for Accenture, a technology consulting firm. While working for Accenture, I started bicycling commuting and it changed the way I experienced the urban environment; at first, I contemplated starting up my own bike shop, but after some research I discovered the profession of transportation planning and dived in head-first.
Where am I now?
I am a transportation planner at the City of Minneapolis – Public Works. There are so many things going on at the City, but my main priorities are as follows:
1.) Planning the road infrastructure and utilities for the Upper Harbor Terminal project, a 48-acre industrial redevelopment site adjacent to the Mississippi River.
2.) Developing the freight policies for our 10-year transportation plan; it’s the first time the City has formally included a freight planning component.
3.) Planning a 0.5-mile street reconstruction project for a busy mixed-use corridor.
4.) Reviewing incoming development projects for impacts to the City’s right-of-way.
What does the future hold?
Transportation is rapidly changing, many places in the United States are realizing that the high proportion of single-occupancy vehicle trips are not sustainable. Thus, many agencies are starting to invest in alternative transportation options. In Minneapolis we are in the process of reducing speed limits city-wide, adopted a Vision Zero Action Plan which aims to eliminate traffic deaths and life-altering injuries, and are drafting our 10-year transportation plan (the Transportation Action Plan). These efforts have a direct focus on improving the efficiency and safety of people through-put, not vehicle through-put. This approach is a radical change within our practice, which since the 1950s has primarily focused on improving vehicle access and efficiency.
In Minneapolis in 2020, we are reducing vehicle travel lane widths, removing underutilized car parking, and repurposing this space for other uses such as enhanced boulevards for storm water infiltration, off-street bicycle paths, widened sidewalks and transit priority travel lanes. This reversal is also happening in other places throughout our country and beyond. Vehicles will always have a place in our society, but our sole reliance on them for transportation is transitioning to a more sustainable balance.