Hennepin County has hired a Minnesota native working for the New York City Department of Transportation as its first bicycle and pedestrian coordinator.
Kelley Yemen, a White Bear Lake High School graduate, starts in her new position Feb. 10. Yemen will be tasked with coordinating the work of putting Hennepin County’s bicycle and pedestrian plans into action.
Alene Tchourumoff, director of strategic planning and resources for Hennepin County Public Works, said the new position was “born out of a need.”
“We’ve realized that we’ve got so many different projects where we need somebody to help us focus and help us think about some of the bike-ped issues,” Tchourumoff said.
She said Yemen would also represent the county on the Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee, a body that represents bicycle interests to the mayor, City Council and Park Board.
“I think the goal is to have somebody serve as a liaison between both the cities and the county to understand what the public interests with respect to bicycle and pedestrian issues,” Tchourumoff said.
Hennepin County and Three Rivers Park District are currently at work on a new bicycle plan, and the Hennepin County Board recently adopted an updated pedestrian plan last summer. There are over 550 miles of bike lanes on county roads, a network that’s expanding at a pace of 5–10 miles per year, the county reports.
Yemen was a pedestrian coordinator for New York City’s transportation department. Before that, she was a project manager and senior planner at Rutgers’ Voorhees Transportation Center.
Hennepin County also has a planner dedicated to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, but that position is currently empty.
The City of Minneapolis created a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator position in 2011. That position is currently filled by Shaun Murphy.