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lelelelte10 karma

Hey Chuck. I’m a recently credentialed Professional Engineer in the civil field. I discovered Strong Towns just before graduating from engineering school and wanted to go down a path that would allow me to apply some Strong Towns principals, so I found a small town (~22k population) with an opening in the engineering department, got the job and moved there. However, I ran headlong into some roadblocks: senior staff seemed unsettled that I was living in the community I was working in (I enjoyed walking and biking to work, a commute was not appealing to me) Senior staff was also diametrically opposed to anything from the ST playbook that I tried to bring to the table. It was very much a cycle of slamming through the standard 5-year CIP for utilities and pavement on wide streets with little to no improvements for bicycles or pedestrians in neighborhoods that deserved better. Every neighborhood we went into, I listened to residents concerns about drivers speeding down their street, and no one was interested in doing much about it. There was also no part of the process to bring in a non-engineering viewpoint to the street design as you discuss in the Confessions book. Engineering based the CIP on the budget, a 3-council member committee would do a brief review and rubber stamp the projects if they fit the budget and we’d build, rinse and repeat.

I got my PE license and it became apparent that the PW director and City Engineer had no interest in advancing me or my ideas so I left to do bike/ped projects for the county government. I am now a citizen Planning Commissioner for the same city I used to work at. Do you have any thoughts or ideas for how I can effectively leverage my past staff experience and engineering background to help out this community I have come to appreciate as a citizen? I feel like others are briefly interested when I start talking, but most people get quickly overwhelmed or the info doesn’t stick.