Janette Sadik-Khan: A Reason to Love NYC in 2007

New York Magazine’s third annual "Reasons to Love New York City" issue hits newsstands this week. Reason #35? "Because the Head of the Department of Transportation is a Cycling Radical." While I’m not so sure that’s a completely accurate description of the Commish, Anthony Weiss nicely sums up the change underway at DOT:

Nobody in New York City controls as much public space as the Department of Transportation, and for the first five and a half years of the Bloomberg administration, the DOT was what it has always been—a large, dull bureaucracy dedicated to moving cars and trucks around town. Run mostly by engineers, the DOT treated streets as an engineering problem: How do you move as many motor vehicles as possible, as quickly as possible? The streets themselves have mostly remained grim, unattractive, and (ironically) jammed.

But recently, the DOT has been championing some very un-DOT ideas. It has replaced parking lots and traffic lanes with chairs and umbrellas in Dumbo and the meatpacking district and installed a new, physically separated bike lane on Ninth Avenue; it is pushing the mayor’s controversial congestion-pricing plan; and, in a symbolic act, it has given over three parking spots by the Bedford Avenue L stop to bike racks. Taken together, it’s as if the department has awakened to the idea that streets belong to people, not their vehicles.

The difference can be summed up in one name: Janette Sadik-Khan…

Photo: Randy Harris

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

A Transit Miracle on 34th Street

|
NYC DOT is proposing to turn Manhattan’s 34th Street into a river-to-river "transitway." In what she half-jokingly called "probably the first-ever co-presentation" between their two agencies, Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan stood with New York City Transit President Howard Roberts earlier this week to unveil the city’s current Bus Rapid Transit program in its […]

DOT Deploys “Street Safety Managers” to High-Volume Bike Routes

|
Wondering what’s up with the people holding stop signs in the bike lane today? NYC DOT’s press office just sent out this explanation: New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced that DOT Street Safety Managers (SSM) are assigned to key bike and pedestrian corridors and bridge paths in Manhattan to […]

Thompson, Avella Pledge to Dump Sadik-Khan If Elected

|
Tony Avella and Bill Thompson. Photo: Daily News. I didn’t get to watch last night’s Democratic mayoral debate between Bill Thompson and Tony Avella, so I missed the high drama that ensued when the candidates were asked if they’ll retain Janette Sadik-Khan as transportation commissioner. Good thing Brian Lehrer played excerpts on his show this […]

NYC’s Next Transportation Commissioner Is Polly Trottenberg

|
Bill de Blasio has appointed US DOT Under Secretary for Policy Polly Trottenberg to lead the New York City Department of Transportation. Trottenberg is a veteran federal policy maker, whose resume includes stints working for New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan on the 1998 federal transportation bill and for Senator Chuck Schumer. At the Obama […]

Sadik-Khan Introduces the New York City Model

|
DOT revealed its "Sustainable Streets" strategic plan last night, in the very same room where the New York City Streets Renaissance Campaign held its kick-off event a little more than two years ago. Once again, Streetfilms’ Clarence Eckerson was there. Here are excerpts from the presentation by Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, who says that, rather than […]