P.J. Smith, AICP

PJ Smith, AICP is the founder of xGeographic, a software and urban planning firm focused on improving urban mobility, livability and land use planning through integrated product platforms. Smith graduated from the University of Florida in 2009, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and Urban and Regional Planning, and also received a Master’s Degree in Civic Urbanism from Rollins College in 2012.

Smith focuses on the link between land use and transportation mobility in much of his work, providing insight into areas of practice including bicycle and pedestrian mobility, transportation network safety, and destination accessibility algorithms. 

Why are you devoting your time to this cause?
I am devoting my time to Bike/Walk Central Florida to assist in the development of a healthy dialogue among community planners, elected officials, transportation engineers and local residents about improving bicycle and pedestrian safety and mobility in the Orlando metro area. I will use this opportunity to advocate alongside fellow board members for infrastructure projects that prioritize bicycle and pedestrian safety enhancements while strategizing methods of communication and outreach to increase walking and biking rates in Central Florida. Over the intermediate to longer term, I hope to assist the group in the development of online mapping products that visualize current or future bicycle and pedestrian projects, bicycle lanes, trails, the Best Foot Forward yielding program, and other map resources that allow Central Floridians to engage with their city and the Bike/Walk Central Florida mission digitally.

What city do you look to as a model for safe streets and courteous road users?
I’m going to have to go old school and pick Rome, Italy. An important element about Rome is that it was laid out centuries before cars existed. Because of this, the vast majority of roadways in Rome are generally narrow, open up into public squares, have supportive ground level land uses and – most importantly – favor the scale of the pedestrian over the automobile. These design elements place motorists in a ‘discretionary’ position relative to pedestrians, improving driver awareness and overall network safety.

If you could change one road in Orlando to better accommodate walkers and bikers, which would it be?
Mills Avenue between Colonial Drive and Virginia Drive could be an excellent retrofit option for the City of Orlando. The corridor is flanked by some of Orlando’s most well-known food, retail and nightlife options and is supported by an east-west grid network featuring some of Orlando’s most historic bungalows. The only ingredient missing from the corridor is a livable street design. The roadway could potentially be narrowed down, allowing more room for bicycle lanes, wide sidewalks, and much-needed tree coverage that would enhance bike/pedestrian connectivity, comfort and utility north of downtown.