Wednesday, December 8, 2010

DDOT's Gabe Klein Exits

Image Credit: Mark Gail/The Washington Post
NBC Washington is reporting that D.C. Transportation Director Gabe Klein has told his staff this morning that he will be departing when new Mayor Vincent Gray takes office this January.

I can't begin to describe how disappointing this news is and what a loss this is for Washington area "smart growth" transit advocates. Klein was nominated by Mayor Adrien Fenty to lead DDOT in 2009 and he ran with it. He has been instrumental in making our Nation's Capital a safer and healthier place to live by expanding non-driving options such as the two-way bicycle lanes on 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, the popular Circulator bus system, and the Capital Bikeshare program. Capital Bikeshare is the largest in North America (until NYC implements its own bike sharing program) and was recently featured on CNN.

There is concern from Klein about a recent decision that could have negative results for the work DDOT has been doing to promote alternative forms of transportation. From the Washington Post:

"He also expressed concern about a little-noticed move in yesterday's budget gap-closing session to eliminate a special fund that allowed the transportation department the ability to easily transfer funds to and from projects. Klein said the move would change DDOT "from an enterprise agency to a more standard type of agency." He called the change "demoralizing."

"It's probably not a good fit for me going forward," he said. "It makes it a more administrative type of job."

Without the fund, he said, popular initiatives such as the 15th Street cycle lanes, Capital Bikeshare and the Circulator bus system "would require a longer conversation" with the council and others."

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