Allison Hyde Blazosky '08, B.A. English
With her first taste of international travel—a Trinity semester in France—Allison "Allie" Blazosky developed an insatiable appetite for international travel. That craving has taken her to 28 countries so far, inspired a new career direction, and satisfied her desire to make a difference in her community.
"As a traveler, I have been attuned to the vibe, structure, and priorities of different places I visit," she explains. "I just hadn't realized that there was a professional field that actually studied and worked on these things for cities and towns."
In 2011, Allie left her marketing/PR job with the company that manages the Majestic and Empire Theatres and delved into the Master of Urban Planning program at Texas A&M in College Station. Stubbornly refusing to sign up for the expensive and wait-listed parking pass, she found a nearby apartment and began biking to campus. It was her first time on a bike since middle school and even the short 1.5-mile commute left her a little shaky, but "riding a bike out of necessity forced me to reckon with the way a community was designed, and it elevated transportation planning as my focus within urban planning." She became part of a major group project conducting feasibility and analysis for bike share on the A&M campus, did a summer internship with San Antonio's Office of Sustainability, and wrote her master's thesis on the relationship between Denver's bike share and light rail systems.
A native of New Mexico who grew up all over Texas—nine elementary, middle, and high schools—as the family followed her father's job, Allie knew she wanted to return to San Antonio. "I love that San Antonio's welcoming attitude foments homegrown and incoming talent across the arts, food, and civic engagement realms," she explains.
An opening with the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (AAMPO) for a bicycle and pedestrian transportation planner offered the perfect opportunity. In July of this year, she was promoted to regional transportation planner at AAMPO. Working with communities within Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe, and Kendall Counties, an area expecting an increase of 1.5 million new residents over the next 25 years, Allie is forging a regional vision for managing transportation that includes setting policies and funding projects to realize that vision. Currently, one of her biggest responsibilities is helping AAMPO meet changing requirements that will be put in place if the region falls below national air quality standards.
An active board member of San Antonio's Women's Transportation Seminar, Allie encourages young women to pursue careers in transportation. Last year she received her American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) accreditation, which verifies her professional qualifications, and she has presented at conferences in Fort Worth and Dallas on the roles of regional transportation planning organizations in increasing biking and walking. "I'm inspired," she says, "by the attitudes of a growing number of people that I meet who are curious about other modes of transportation, like riding bikes, and by the changing conversations from community leaders [who are acknowledging] that streets aren't just to move cars but to move people too."
Recalling her Trinity experience, Allie speaks glowingly of the influential mentorship of Katharine Martin, the coordinator of student-edited publications, and her years on the Trinitonian staff as reporter and ultimately managing editor. She vividly remembers visiting Crawford, Texas, in 2005 to cover dual protests at Camp Casey inspired by the Iraq war and documenting the open arms with which San Antonio welcomed refugees escaping Hurricane Katrina. "From my experience learning about the purpose and process of journalism on the Trinitonian, I find journalists to be some of the world's real heroes for answering the call to shed light on the world around them," she says.
As a career planner, it is not surprising that Allie loves planning other things as well, "like my next trip." Husband Nick '08, whom she met at Trinity and married at the Majestic Theatre in the box seats under the white peacock, shares her passion for travel. They make it a priority to use their passports every year. Despite their wanderlust, Allie and Nick still live "in the Trinity bubble" just west of the campus, where they enjoy working in their vegetable garden, landscaping with native Texas plants, and preparing a nursery for the daughter they are expecting in January.
"For someone who grew up without a hometown, San Antonio has become that for me," Allie says. "I have grown both roots and wings here, and I thank Trinity for equipping me with the resources to do so."