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John Paul (JP) Weesner, PLA

JP Weesner, PLA, is a practicing landscape architect who provides urban-design and placemaking solutions through implementable projects that are walkable and livable, as well as environmentally, financially, and socially sustainable. He is employed as the Director of Landscape Architecture at Kittelson & Associates, Inc. Prior to his current profession, he was an adjunct professor at the University of Florida, and a senior associate at Glatting Jackson Kercher Anglin, Inc. He has spent over twenty years being involved in various multi-modal transportation projects, such as bicycle and pedestrian master plans, streetscapes, implementation of policies and green infrastructure, and lane repurposing for the benefit of cyclists and pedestrians.  

Weesner earned his  Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Florida in 1998, then completed his Master of Landscape Architecture at Harvard University in 2000.

JP loves to engage communities through innovative, robust public engagement that focuses on growing “informed consensus” leading to solutions that incorporate the access and mobility needs of all users to create great places. 

Why are you devoting your time to this cause? 

My passion has always been to connect with communities and generate feasible projects that benefit them directly. So many walking and bicycling projects can do just that: expand connectivity, improve an individual’s health, help balance community equity, all while positively contributing to the economy and the environment. As a nation-wide practitioner, I have seen many innovative and creative examples of great walking and bicycling infrastructure and I want to help build a better Central Florida. 

Are you a biker or a walker? 

Walker, but only because it lets me see and hear everything at a slower pace. 

What is your earliest memory of biking or walking? 

I grew up in Winter Park and remember being able to ride my bicycle anywhere I wanted to go. It represented a certain amount of freedom and in my neighborhood, at least, it was acceptable to ride in the streets and on the sidewalks and motorists, generally, behaved well enough to make it feel like a safe environment. 

If you could change one road in Orlando to better accommodate walkers and bikers, which would it be? 

Fairbanks/Aloma (SR-426) from Interstate-4 all the way to Tuskawilla Road. This street touches so many interesting places, but also is a major connector of several neighborhoods to centers and places that serve daily needs. I see people walking and biking this corridor very frequently despite the hostile environment and, in some areas, very narrow constraints. As it connects the suburbs to Downtown Winter Park (and the SunRail Station) it is a natural corridor to see some great bicycle and pedestrian improvements.  

What city do you look to as a model for safe streets and courteous road users? 

Good behavior tends to happen when there is a good balance of space for all users of the street. Cities like Washington DC, Boston, and Denver have really done a lot to balance their streets… I think Tampa and Gainesville are on their way to becoming a beacon of safe street hope and smaller towns like Casselberry and Jacksonville Beach have embedded safe streets into their code and are already beginning to transform.