Q: What do you do and why do you find it rewarding?
There are many focus areas at Crater Planning District Commission; however, the department I work for focuses on transportation planning for the Tri-Cities Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). Tri-Cities MPO includes the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Petersburg and portions of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, and Prince George. As a transportation planning department, some of the community partners that I collaborate with are multi-modal transportation projects that include transit, rail, pedestrian and bicycle.
The passion I have for changing the world of transportation is an endless one and with my diverse skills and background. I bring fresh ideas to solve unique transportation issues within the Tri-Cities area. I truly enjoy working with local government officials and community leaders as we come together as one.
Q: What lessons have you learned in this role?
I have learned in this position that cooperation and patience are key elements to success in transportation planning. You can work on projects for weeks, even months, without seeing any positive progress on them. The key is to stay patient and continue working until you see the results you are looking for — sometimes it’s really the small accomplishments that are the greatest accomplishments.
Q: What are you especially proud of and what’s next?
I am proud to be a young minority in a field that doesn’t have a strong African American male presence. I truly appreciate the opportunity to influence and introduce other young minority men to the field of planning. To play such a paramount role in helping shape the future transportation field is a humbling and fulfilling experience.
I have been focusing on the Tri-Cities Bicycle Pedestrian & Transit Connection Plan, an ongoing project that will help boost the infrastructure and facilities around the Tri-Cities area. I’m actively seeking out community engagement opportunities with local organizations to get more individuals involved in the transportation planning process. I am looking forward to continuing all the great transportation projects and make the Tri-Cities a great place.
Christopher Nicholas graduated from North Carolina A&T State University with a degree in Graphic Communications in 2010 and in 2012 received a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University. During his studies he has interned with the City of Greensboro Planning Department, working on geographic information systems analysis, and the Prince George County Planning Department.