Friday, August 5, 2011

Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trails Coordinator Named

~Action is key recommendation of Mayor's Commission~

The City of Richmond has named Jakob C. Helmboldt as its first Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trails Coordinator, effective Monday, August 15, 2011. The new position was a key recommendation that grew out of the Mayor's Pedestrian, Bicycling and Trails Planning Commission report. Mayor Jones established the Commission in May of 2010 to give advice on ways to incorporate bicycling and walking as viable methods of transportation in the city.

Helmboldt most recently served as Program Manager for Vanasse Hangen Brustlin of Richmond, Virginia, where he was responsible for managing bicycle and pedestrian projects ranging from development of safety materials for federal agencies, to design of facilities. He also served as the technical expert on a project for the Federal Highway Administration regarding non-motorized transportation safety. Helmboldt previously served as statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Coordinator for the Virginia Department of Transportation.

"I'm pleased that we've been able to act on this priority recommendation of the Commission," said Mayor Jones. "We are about to launch a Healthy Richmond Campaign and Jakob's role is going to be central to much of what we do as the benefits of physical activity to reducing obesity and to increasing the health of our city are clear. Also, a well-publicized and effective system of pedestrian and bicycle trails and shared space can be a great selling point for economic and community development and tourism."

The City's new Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Trails Program has the goal of making Richmond one of the most bicycle and pedestrian-friendly cities in the country. Helmboldt's duties will include coordinating with various City departments to implement the recommendations of the Pedestrian, Bicycling and Trails Planning Commission, in complement to the City's Downtown Master Plan regarding bicycling and pedestrian improvements and programs, and with future Strategic Multimodal Transportation Plans. Helmboldt will lead a cross-functional team of individuals from the Department of Public Works, the Department of Planning and Development Review and other City departments to track the scope, design and budget for bicycle and pedestrian projects and build City staff capacity for developing the non-motorized transportation infrastructure citywide. He will also assist in securing grant funding and leveraging additional resources to accomplish City bicycle/pedestrian initiatives.

Mr. Helmboldt possesses a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning. The position reports directly to the Chief Administrative Officer and the Deputy Chief Administrative Office for Human Services.