Trib: Pittsburgh hires bicycle director with wealth of metro experience

Pittsburgh has a new bicycle and pedestrian coordinator! Kristin Saunders, city planning’s newest hire is currently living in San Francisco and will move to Pittsburgh in October. Stay tuned for a BikePGH Q&A with Kristin, but in the meantime check out this great write-up from the Trib.

By Megan Harris // Tribune Review

Kristin Saunders

Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media

Mayor Bill Peduto made his intentions clear in June after his biking trek to Denmark: “Pittsburgh will become a cycling mecca.”

He laid those expectations at the feet of an accomplished California architect who he said on Tuesday can help steer Pittsburgh into its next wave of thoughtful urban design.

Carrying a backpack and wearing boots, Kristin Saunders, 30, mingled with cycling enthusiasts and city leaders from around the nation at the 2014 Pro Walk Pro Bike Pro Place Conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.

She sported a dual name tag — half city of Pittsburgh, half San Francisco, where for the past three years she helped construct shared public ways and developed pilot bike lanes with local coalitions.

Saunders tucked a strand of blond hair back as she talked about finding an apartment in the North Side or South Side. A row house, she hopes, with an arching bridge between her and City Hall.

The St. Louis native accepted a job with the city last week. Her $51,055 salary as bicycle and pedestrian coordinator comes from the city’s operating budget, spokesman Tim McNulty said. She’s scheduled to begin Oct. 1.

“If we had our way, she’d be here now,” said city planning director Ray Gastil, who joined Peduto’s team in April.

The pair joined revelers at this week’s conference where Peduto held court among visiting mayors in a roundtable on Tuesday.

“I have a lot to learn, but this conference is definitely a jump-start,” Saunders said afterward. “You don’t usually get this kind of introduction to a new job.”

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