Key West hires bicycle and pedestrian coorindator

For the first time since 2008, the city of Key West has a formal bicycle/pedestrian coordinator.

Chris Hamilton, who spent more than 20 years as a bureau chief of commuter services in Virginia's Arlington County, started Monday. City Sustainability Coordinator Alison Higgins said Hamilton will look at everything from bike routes to increasing bike parking in the Southernmost City. The goal is to get more people out of their cars.

"He's seen everything from the ground up," Higgins said. "We've got really good pieces."

The city made the position available when the City Commission approved the general fund budget of $59 million in September for the fiscal year that started Oct. 1.

Jim Malcolm held the job from January 1999 until his death in November 2008. He died from brain cancer. This position simply puts a title onto a job Malcolm had been doing for years.

Since then, the position has been passed around among several city officials, including Higgins and Parking Director John Wilkins.

"It went from being an official title standalone job to an extra hat," Higgins said.

Hamilton was one of seven applicants. His annual salary is $45,635.20. On his resume, Hamilton highlights online fare purchases and car sharing.

"Given the problem to solve of getting more people to use transit, bike, walk and share the ride rather than drive alone I believe the programs created to get that done are a good illustration of problem solving ability," Hamilton wrote.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 19.8 percent of Key West's estimated 25,704 residents bike to work.

Hamilton is expected to be introduced at the city Sustainability Advisory Board's Thursday meeting, which starts at 5:30 p.m. at Old City Hall on Greene Street.