New Transportation Planner in our Winnipeg Office is Passionate about Bikes and Community
Erik Dickson recently joined Urban System’s growing Winnipeg office in the role of Transportation Planner. We chatted with Erik about his background and the impact he wants to have on the community through his work.
Cindy Hughes: We’d love to hear a bit about your career before joining Urban. How did you make your way here?
Erik: I did an Honours Bachelor of Sciences at the University of Winnipeg with a focus in water and forest ecology (at the time I was sure I was going to save Lake Winnipeg!) After my degree, I went into consulting with an environmental focus. I went on to work for a landscape architecture and planning firm in Winnipeg for 12 years. I quickly got involved in numerous active transportation (AT) projects in Winnipeg and realized a new career focus. I have been involved in dozens of bicycle facility planning and design projects including developing the first raised (or Dutch) style cycle track in Winnipeg. I also authored the University of Manitoba Pedestrian and Cycling Plan. Over the years I obtained my MCIP and RPP and have also been involved in more traditional planning work such as strategic plans and secondary plans. I have taken several public engagement courses and enjoy speaking with the public about my work and getting their input to make the best project possible.
CH: What kind of work do you focus on at Urban Systems?
Erik: I’m a Transportation Planner. I focus on walking and cycling facility planning and design. I have also branched out to public engagement, strategic planning and climate change planning, basically whatever I can do to help build happier and healthier communities.
CH: For you, what are some of the best parts of the job?
Erik: I love seeing a project all the way through from concept to infrastructure on the ground. I really like to see my projects making a positive impact on the communities they are built in. I like hearing from people who benefit from a new protected bike lane or an AT bridge and knowing that I played a role in that.
CH: Can you describe the Winnipeg office and culture?
Erik: I can’t say enough good things about the people I’ve met at Urban so far. We have a great team in the Winnipeg office. The culture is very supportive and there is a great team dynamic. Everyone here really cares about the work that they do. Also, the disco ball, light show, dance parties are pretty awesome.
CH: What are your goals for the future?
Erik: I’d love to help build the Urban transportation practice in Manitoba. I see a lot of potential for new trails throughout our province. Walking and cycling can and should be a viable mode of transportation in any community, big or small. I’d like to help make that happen. Personally, one of my long-time goals is to finish my winter bike project and start riding all year round. If I am going to be promoting cycling as a viable, year-round transportation mode, I should probably practice it too!
Erik: You’ll often find me taking one or both of my kids to some sort of activity. I coach my son’s soccer team and cheer on my daughter at softball and tennis. My wife, kids, and I like to escape to Victoria Beach whenever we can. Victoria Beach is a cottage community on Lake Winnipeg that has a restricted motor vehicle area all summer, so it becomes a bicycle paradise.
I am also the current President of Trails Manitoba, so a lot of my spare time goes to my volunteer job. We build, maintain, and promote The Great Trail in Manitoba. Now that the kids are getting older, I’d like to start getting them out on all the different trails that Manitoba has to offer.