The Dream Team Behind America's Transportation Revolution

In the first of a five-part series, Angie Schmitt pays tribute to three "visionary bureaucrats" who are changing the face of transportation in the United States.
April 20, 2012, 11am PDT | Ryan Lue
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It's an exciting time for progressive transportation policy, with transit, bike, and pedestrian programs gaining traction in every corner of the country. These programs depend on the hard work of transportation officials at every level of government, "people who are transforming transportation and planning agencies from public sector backwaters into centers of bold innovation and change." Schmitt starts us off with three bureaucratic champions who have set the stage for the coming renaissance.

Of Janette Sadik-Khan, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, Schmitt writes, "This list had to start with her." Under Sadik-Khan's tenure, New York City has seen 250 miles of new bikeways, the introduction of bus rapid transit (BRT), and the lowest rates of traffic fatalities in a century.

Next, there's Chicago DOT Commissioner Gabe Klein, who cut his teeth on a popular bike sharing program in Washington, D.C. Now, excitement over his protected bike lane program in the Windy City is "attracting enough bike traffic to outnumber cars during the morning rush," Schmitt writes – not to mention a new BRT system on the way.

And with his work guiding growth and development in Maryland, State Secretary of Planning Richard Hall "doesn't shy away from facing the critics head on." By establishing "priority growth areas," Hall has helped Maryland "[lay] the groundwork to be a national leader in smart growth."

With eight more acknowledgements to come, Schmitt notes, "Everyone here is deserving, but not everyone who's deserving is on the list."

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Published on Monday, April 16, 2012 in Streetsblog
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