Jared Buchanan, Assistant Traffic Engineer, City of Charlottesville
Where were you born (and raised, if different)?
I was born and raised in Anderson, South Carolina.
When and why did you move to the Charlottesville/Albemarle area?
I moved in with some friends in Woolen Mills in May of 2009. I moved here to be a part of All Souls Church, which was started by my college pastor and his wife along with several others from our church in South Carolina. At least that was my excuse. After college I was ready to find adventure in the outside world. Charlottesville offered a rich cultural experience and a vibrant arts community with an already-established, if small, network of friends from back home.
What neighborhood do you live in now?
I live in Locust Grove.
Family (spouse, kids, etc.)?
I have a beautiful wife from New Orleans who I met here in Charlottesville in November of 2010 (see: “finding adventure” two questions earlier); we have an amazing little boy we call Gus (short for August) who’s about to turn one.
What is your alma mater and when did you graduate?
I graduated from Clemson University in December 2008.
What were you doing before you came to work for the city?
I worked for Albemarle County Public Schools for a little over two years, most of which I spent routing school buses.
Your job title is Assistant City Traffic Engineer – what, in your own words, would you say you do?
I administer street closure permits, making sure that temporary traffic control measures put in place in the City right-of-way are safe for the walking, biking, and motoring public. I also respond to public concerns about a number of things from on-street parking to perceived speeding and traffic volume issues on neighborhood streets. I review site plans to make sure that new developments are designed with traffic in mind, both the traffic within the site and traffic generated by and moving around the site.
What is the best part of your job? The most difficult part?
I love that this job is about equal parts desk work and field work. It’s great to see a project come across my desk in the design and review phase, go out and make field adjustments to traffic control during its construction, and then get to enjoy the completed project. The most difficult thing is keeping up with the volume of permits, site plans, and public comments that come across my desk and making sure they each get a very careful look.
How does your job most directly impact the average person?
Anybody who uses public streets or sidewalks is directly impacted by my work.
What is the most interesting project or work experience that you’ve had while with the city?
Interesting may not exactly be the word for it, but one of my involved projects has been executing the maintenance contract for our wayfinding program in the City. All those pretty green signs with decorative dogwood blooms that guide people to various destinations around the City as well as the maps on the Downtown Mall are updated every two years. My first major project with the City was making those updates and getting refreshed artwork to our vendor.
What is a little-known fact about you?
I can still quote every line from the first two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies.
What do you do outside of work hours – hobbies, etc.?
I haven’t been quite as active since our son was born, but I play guitar, keys, and an assortment of folk instruments in bands around the area.