We Had a Mid-Year Meeting…….Down By the River

2016 NCSITE Mid-Year Meeting in Review…

Bike Tour2The 2016 Mid-Year Meeting was held this past July 27-29 in Downtown Wilmington at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside Hotel. Early arrivers got the festivities started and braved the heat at the Scholarship Golf Tournament, held at Wilmington Municipal Golf Course with proceeds benefiting the NCSITE Scholarship Fund. Big thanks to National Data & Surveying Services (NDS) for sponsoring the golf tournament this year!

Over 80 attendees gathered to enjoy mobile tours, informative sessions and speakers, making it funner, networking and fellowship.

The first day of the meeting proper was kicked off with two interesting and informative tours of  transportation projects in Downtown Wilmington. Participants in the walking tour were treated to an exploration of the 3rd Street Streetscape Improvements recently completed by the City of Wilmington, which included underground utility replacement and renovating the streetscape with street paving and sidewalks, curbs, crosswalks, street furnishings, lighting, traffic/pedestrian signals, and plantings. Bike Tour attendants visited the Ann Street Bike Boulevard, North Carolina’s first Bike Boulevard and the downtown portion of the River to Sea Bikeway. Much appreciation to Kimley-Horn, our mobile tour sponsor.

mayorThe Welcome and Lunch Program featured kickoff welcome message from our President Todd Delk and the Mayor of Wilmington, the Honorable Bill Saffo. Then, ladies and gentlemen, the stage was ceded to our keynote speaker, historian Bob Jenkins. In a spectacle that you needed to see to believe, Bob lead us on a rollicking oral history that spanned the story of Wilmington from the first settlers, through a salty wartime history, and up to today. Sometimes frightening, always funny and ever so slightly NSFW, Bob’s tales kept us enraptured, entertained and a lot more well informed about the real history of Wilmington.

This year’s Mid Year technical sessions were themed around contributions and ideas from our Bicycle/Pedestrian and NEPA User Groups, local projects from our host City, and Emerging Issues in planning and transportation. The first technical session focused on Pedestrian and Bicycle Projects and included presentations on visualization, bicycle boulevards, and Safe Routes to School.

NEPA PanelThe NEPA/LAPP Session focused on a unique GIS tool for Airport archaeological studies, and a round-table discussion featuring a diverse group of public officials on Locally Managed transportation projects and processes.

Our local members and guest speakers from the Wilmington MPO put on a great session highlighting the recent passage of a major transportation bond, local projects and the Cape Fear Transportation 2040 Plan.

Our Emerging Issues slate of speakers rounded out the technical session with thoughts on developing the leaders in transportation for tomorrow, Smart Cities Initiatives, and a look at the recent reorganization at NCDOT. Thanks to all of our session and break sponsors: VHB, WSP/PB, DRMP, RS&H and AMT.

Local PanelA Thursday night rooftop reception at Reel Café provided attendees with spectacular river and street views, drinks, food, fun and fellowship under the evening sky. Big props to our Reception sponsor Stantec. The reception also provided a great jumping off place for impromptu Make-It Funner sessions up and down Front Street.

All in all, a great time was had by all! Thanks again to all our sponsors, as well as our full house of vendors: WFC, NDS, RAI Products, Davenport, Trafficware, and Quality Counts. Your support year in and out helps make this a fantastic meeting.

moscow muleLastly, a hearty thanks to all those individuals and groups that helped pull this meeting together and make it great and funner: Mike Kozlosky and his entire City of Wilmington MPO crew, the Transportation Planning Council of NCSITE as a body and Eric Lamb – Chair in particular for his guidance and game day administration, Lauren Triebert – Mid-Year Co-Chair for all the legwork and effort (she did all the work leading up to the meeting), Kara Peach for majorly stepping up to drag us to the finish line, to all of our speakers and moderators for your time and expertise, and to all those who attended this year!