Amanda Poncy, City of Charlottesville
Amanda Poncy, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator
Where were you born (and raised, if different)?
I was born in California, but only lived there for a year or so. I grew up in a small town in south Florida (that’s not so small anymore!).
When and why did you move to the Charlottesville/Albemarle area?
I came to Charlottesville for graduate school in 2004. I really wanted to go to UVA as an undergrad, but didn’t get in. I was determined to go to UVA one way or another.
What neighborhood do you live in now?
Belmont. I Love being able to walk and bike to work!
Family (spouse, kids, etc.)?
I have a husband (my high school sweetheart and local musician… – shameless plug, I know, but he’s worth it and so is his music), a 4-year-old son and 18-month-old daughter, and a dog.
What is your alma mater and when did you graduate?
I graduated with a BA in American Studies from the University of Miami in 2000, and I got my Master’s degree in Urban and Environmental Planning from UVA in 2006.
What were you doing before you came to work for the City?
I was a consultant with a local urban planning firm specializing in land use, transportation, and urban design.
Your job title is Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator – what, in your own words, would you say you do?
I promote walking and biking as a viable means of getting around town. Part of that is making our roads safer . So I work with community members to plan optimal bike/pedestrian routes, engineers to design sidewalks and bike lanes and intersections, and local police to educate and enforce rules of the road.
What is the best part of your job? The most difficult part?
Part of Charlottesville’s charm is its rich history. But as an older city, it’s transportation infrastructure can pose some logistical and spatial challenges, especially when it comes to making space for pedestrians and people who ride bikes. We’ll get there, but it will take time.
I feel lucky to work an community with strong support for “complete streets.” I have to say that my work with the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Committees and all of the citizens that are passionate about biking and walking in the community has been the most fun part of the job.
How does your job most directly impact the average person?
No matter how you get around town, everyone is a pedestrian at some point or another during their day. Even if it’s just a short walk from the car parking lot to your place of work, for those few steps, you’re a pedestrian.
What is the most interesting project or work experience that you’ve had while with the City?
I’ve found this position to be incredibly diverse and a lot of fun. One day I’m helping write the Comprehensive Plan, the next I’m helping to redesign an intersection or implement a public awareness campaign. There isn’t one thing that stands out as “the most interesting.” It’s all great.
What is a little-known fact about you?
I was a bit of a “tom-boy” growing up. I played a lot of sports and even played tackle football as a 6th grader.
What do you do outside of work hours – hobbies, etc.?
I’ve got two small kids, so much of my time is spent with family taking advantage of all of the great activities that this area has to offer. Outside of that, I try to squeeze in photography, various craft/sewing projects, yoga, and hiking.