Matt Rodrigues, a frequent bicycle commuter who recently visited Denmark and Sweden to learn more about safe multimodal transportation, has been officially hired as Eugene’s new traffic engineer.
Rodrigues had been serving as the “Acting in Capacity” Traffic Engineer for about a year, after the previous engineer, Tom Larsen, resigned when it was revealed he failed to update his professional license for six years.
The city carried out a hiring process this winter for the permanent position and last week hired Rodrigues.
Rodrigues has worked in the City of Eugene Public Works department since 2004, but he brings a fresh perspective to this important upper-management role, as he is a daily bike commuter and an occasional transit user, as well as a walker and driver.
He said using all modes helps give him perspective for the projects he works on for the city.
This past fall Rodrigues traveled to Sweden and Denmark to learn how cities in those regions have implemented their Vision Zero goals to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries on their streets.
The trip, an international fellowship sponsored by the American Public Works Association, helped improve his appreciation and understanding of multi-modal transportation. You can hear him discuss the trip on this City Club recording from KLCC. He also presented to the Eugene Active Transportation Committee (ATC), formerly the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC). And you can see some of his pictures and thoughts on his Instragram as well.
Beyond riding his bike daily to work, Rodrigues says that he also enjoys mountain biking and was an avid rider when he was younger, though today, he gets most of his enjoyment from biking on his daily commutes.
He has also participated, with his wife and son, in the local Kidical Mass rides, including the annual family bike camping trip.
It’s refreshing to have the leading decision-maker in the traffic operations department be someone who not only understands active transportation, but is a daily user of the system and even rides it with his family.
Rodrigues started working for the city of Eugene as a Civil Engineer on the Capital Projects Team in 2004. He managed the pavement preservation program as well as performing project management for a range of projects including the West Bank Path Extension and the 18th Avenue pavement preservation and streetscape project (Hilyard Street to Agate Street).
In 2010 he became a Principal Civil Engineer managing one of the Capital Project Teams. While in this role he worked with his team to design and construct the Alder Street two-way bike facility, Fifth Avenue repaving with buffered bike lanes, South Bank Path Reconstruction project, South Willamette Improvement Project and two Safe Routes to School projects.
As the city moves to adopt a new Transportation System Plan there still remains a lot of work to do to help us reach the goal of tripling our current active transportation mode share. There will need to be a lot of leadership to help us get there and having someone like Rodrigues as city Traffic Engineer is a promising sign that we are on the right path.