The city of Durango has hired a multimodal coordinator, a position that will help bicyclists and pedestrians have a voice in city transportation issues.
Amber Blake will begin the job April 8. Blake currently manages the bicycle and pedestrian planning program for the Baltimore Metropolitan Council in Maryland, where she is a transportation planner. Her annual salary will be $51,000.
"Given that it's a new position, the first order of business is to review the current programs and see what we can do to bring them together in the most efficient manner to increase the quality of life," Blake said Wednesday in a telephone interview from Baltimore.
"The biggest difference is, in my current position I do regional planning for Baltimore and six surrounding counties. This is more exciting because I'll be working in my own jurisdiction and get to see these projects go onto the ground."
Blake's new job is part of a realignment in the city's General Services Department. It includes replacing the former transit manager position with a transit operations manager and the multimodal coordinator.
Former Transit Manager Ann Capela retired last year. She was making $65,936. Kent Harris was promoted from within the department to head transit operations at a salary of $55,900.
General Services Director Roy Petersen said Blake will be responsible for marketing and grant writing for the transit system in addition to the newly developed bicycle and pedestrian duties. Harris will handle all transit operations and scheduling matters.
"We're really lucky to find someone with the exact skill set we were looking for," Petersen said of Blake's hiring.
Blake grew up in Telluride and graduated from Telluride High School. She received her bachelor of arts in political science from Villanova University and her master of arts from the University of Montana. She and her family will move to Durango about two days before starting her new job. Her husband, David, will teach microbiology and immunology at Fort Lewis College beginning next fall.