In recent weeks, a group of St. Louis City residents, bike advocates, and urban explorers have joined together to lead the effort to ensure St. Louis receives qualified candidates for the vacant Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator position and build on the progress made over the past several years. Together, the group has drafted a letter and amended the job description to be sent to Mayor Lyda Krewson and Todd Waelterman, Director of Operations for the City of St. Louis. With the support of several Alderman and local organizations, the group hopes to provide the evidence and support to ensure that the permanent hire is both technically qualified and possesses the needed comprehensive experience.
The City of St. Louis has made great strides in recent years creating a safer environment for walking and biking. As an early adopter of Complete Streets and the continued support of slowing traffic, the City has demonstrated its commitment to promoting a safer transportation system for users of all abilities. Recent efforts include the Calm Streets project, several East-West Gateway Great Streets projects, coordination on Great Rivers Greenway projects, and the addition of bike lanes on Gravois. These initiatives have helped the City make significant progress in investing in infrastructure that supports walking and biking. The recent recognition as a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists highlights the city’s advances in designing safer streets for all users, but there is still work to be done.
The Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator position has been instrumental in improving our city’s walk- and bikeability since its creation in 2015. Over 20% of city households do not own a vehicle and rely on numerous methods of transportation to access employment, education, and basic services. Additionally, the City of St. Louis is a designated ‘Focus City’ by the Federal Highway Administration due to a pedestrian fatality rate three times the national average. Pedestrian deaths continue to rise, making St. Louis one of the most dangerous places to walk in the country. Beyond necessity, the health and environmental benefits of alternative transportation methods are well documented. Leaving the Bike/Pedestrian Coordinator position unfilled means St. Louis is being overlooked for vital grants and slows the critical progress we’ve made.
We have no doubt the position of Bike/Pedestrian Coordinator requires sufficient experience but are concerned that the current job description may be preventing strong candidates from consideration. Out of at least 27 cities in the U.S. with a Bike/Pedestrian Coordinator position in existence, not one has a requirement to be registered as an engineer. Of the people who fill those positions, only two out of 25 are engineers, while many are professionals with Masters in Urban Planning or Public Health. Below are recommended amendments to the qualifications for the position. The recommendations are based on job descriptions obtained from coordinator positions across the nation and the people who hold them.
Title: Bike/Pedestrian Coordinator
A Bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning, Transportation Planning, Traffic or Civil Engineering, Sustainability, Public Health, or a directly related field from a nationally accredited college or university; plus two years of relevant traffic engineering, urban planning, or community engagement experience.
Registration: Registration as a Professional Engineer or Architect in the State of Missouri or registration in another state with eligibility for reciprocity in Missouri. Alternatively, applicant may have a Master’s in Public Health, Urban Planning, or related field and have demonstrated mastery or professional advancement.
License: Must possess and maintain a valid Missouri driver’s license while employed by the City of St. Louis. Please note type of license, number, class, and expiration date on the Employment Application. Applicants who do not possess a Missouri driver’s license must present a “Driving Record Check” from their State’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
Our goal is for St. Louis to receive a diverse pool of qualified applicants so the city can find the ideal candidate to fill this role. Pedestrian and bike friendly street designs are not only utilitarian but also boost tourism and local economies, a benefit that can be seen in cases like Indianapolis’ Cultural Trail or the private/public partnerships that fueled the trail systems in Bentonville, Arkansas. Planning for all citizens is both practical and potentially profitable for the city. Please consider opening this position to qualified individuals with more diverse backgrounds who walk and bike as part of their daily lives and can help creatively plan for our city’s transportation future.
The Monthly Cycle
Greater Gravois Initiative
Black Girls Do Bike: St. Louis
Shane Cohn, Alderman, City of St. Louis
Megan Green, Alderwoman, City of St. Louis
Dan Guenther, Alderman, City of St. Louis
Scott Ogilvie, Alderman, City of St. Louis
Cara Spencer, Alderman, City of St. Louis
Mike Weiss, Owner, Big Shark Bicycle Company
Matt Hartman, Owner, Spoked Bikes
If you are an elected official, business owner, neighborhood representative, or otherwise have an interest in this matter and would like to show support, please email The Monthly Cycle at [email protected]